Friday, August 29, 2014

PARENTS ...........

I am so distressed this week about the news that a 9 year old girl accidently killed
a gun safety instructor.
Imagine being on vacation with the family  near Las Vegas.
Vegas used to be the adult town but that has changed, a lot of attraction now available for kids too.
Vegas wants to be the family town too.
So here you drive with the gang having fun and you see a "shooting range"
This is becoming a gun society so I am assuming that Mom or Dad said:
"that may be fun to learn and try"
I do not know that for a fact, of course, but something like that
might have been said and then the 9 year old probably begged and said me too.

What followed then was instructions with an Uzi.
Child's gun? I do not think so.
I know nothing about guns but I do read about the Uzi's.
Any gun makes me shiver, people came in my house during ww2 with guns
I surely did not like them then and not now.
But what made a parent try a stunt like that?
I do not get it.
Not her fault that she could not handle it.
Now a family is ruined with a man dying before his time.
Now a little girl has to live with the knowledge and the memory of that Vegas day.
Her parents, what are they thinking?

What are we all about now? The IRA is king over our politicians.
It is no longer about hunting wild life.
It is so much more.

A man in Florida hears a person outside his door late at night.
It is a girl who had an accident down the street.
She came to ask for help.
The man panicked and shot through his door and killed that
innocent girl.
Panic and guns mean trouble.
But it is so much more.

We do not see an end to it as the gun shows gets swamped with buyers.
It is big business.



PAINT ON A BUDGET...............

For sure I have not painted the outside of my house in probably 20 years.
The white paint held up fine but slowly some of it started to peel so
repainting is being done before winter.
I thought it would cost me about 225.-
Then visited Lowes with Brie and got the best for the white and the green trim.\
Kaching at the register 546.00
No use to buy cheap paint if you are not going to repaint in a hurry.
Especially for outside, so I get the best.
I also had a shock to my budget.
BUT Valspar also has a program till next week and I get a rebate of 100.00
on the lot so this makes it easier to swallow.

I am out of the main stream buying loop.
But when I hear what people have to pay today for a pram, a simple child bed
etc..I wonder why anyone even thinks of having children.
Let alone the clothing , the shoes , the education.
18 years they said on the news costs an American over 250,000 dollars then you have not started on
the college!

My mother in law said at the end of her life that she was glad to be 86
she could not keep up with much anymore,lucky for her she was devout
Christian Scientist and never ever saw a doctor. Imagine if she had done that too.

I do sleep better knowing I have Medicare. Not ideal for a lot of people but OK for what I needed .
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Leaving a past with words.....

It was December 2007. My husband had been ill for 10 years.
Alzheimer/dementia is a dead sentence. There is no known cure at this time.
So in the meantime, his life changes every second.
My life became more chaos and depression.

I decided to start writing a daily journal.
Not knowing much about blogging at that time I thought it was
my own private thoughts looking less difficult if I reread it.

Soon emails came of people, both genders with the same issues.
I was surprised.
Somehow one does isolate themselves and then you find out there are others just like you.

When I started this I was contemplating Christmas.
Bob was an absolute "Christmas nut". He would decorate our store, the mall in which we rented, the house in and outside. He was in his element and he was very good at it. Well, maybe not so good with lights....but that is another story.

I just concentrated on our Christmas meal. I loved to cook and we always celebrated in our house for the whole K clan if they lived near enough to come. The oldest daughter and kids were mostly in Washington DC and Nashville before they returned home.

This 1997 Christmas was not my idea of joy. The house had been neglected as my chores had changed and I still worked part time. Rhonda now lived closer and started with bringing a Christmas tree.....

there starts my blog.

Today I reread some of it for the first time since Bob passed.
I did not think I could do it but in reflection I am glad that I made the notes.
The good, the bad, the cute, the ugly. My heart and soul belonged on the words I ticked on my Qwerty
keyboard. I am glad I did. If you are in some situation , your head bursting with concerns, question marks and or fantasy, just write it down. You will be glad you did .

Blog December 2007

Daily journal, coping with Alzheimer

I am a mother, grandmother and now a caregiver which is my biggest job yet.
I was ill prepared for this. I am not the "nursing type". So guess what?
You learn pretty quickly.
Posting this blog mostly for anyone interested in the disease or could perhaps get
some help from my experience and visa versa.

We are ten years since the diagnosis.
Husband, Bob, has been and still is the love of my life. He is a rare peach of a man.
Has a great soul and love in his heart.

At this point he walks our Maltese dog, Toto , around the block.
Dries the dishes and sits in his chair falling asleep most of the day.
Refuses to lie down and be comfortable.
There are days that he knows us , the children and myself but he does forget
our names.
Sometimes making a sentence is impossible for him.

I work part time and I can still leave him alone for 3 or 4 hours but this too
will come to an end soon. I think in a few months I will have to give up my job.
I am an auditor and keeping busy with the figures for these hours is a blessing.
All other reality leaves as I count the money in the store.

I am 75 ! going on to 76 in a few months.
That is it for a beginning on my blog

Sunday, August 24, 2014

CAN THE RAIN CLEAN IT ALL?

Last week was a hard week.
You know they come like that, suddenly a dark cloud just hangs above your head and you wondr why.
Then the phone starts ringing...and the voices on the other side speak in low tones and are over anxious.
A member in my family had a throat problem and the ENT man just happened to mention the "C" word. Well, that is not a word we like to hear. 3 days later he said there was absolutely no sign of the dreadful
disease. A young doctor who did not attend class, I am sure, when they were teaching how to talk to your patients.

That cloud left and then I hear that Bobby's place of mental health and his care is being terminated
due to lack of funds. It is a lament I have heard before, it is nation wide.
So the search now for a new crew. This puts Bob in a rather anxious mood.
He does not watch the news. He told me that on the internet in one week he read about an American being decapitated, A black kid being shot by police, an earthquake yesterday in Ca.
But most of all he is affected, like many with mental health issues, about Robin Williams.
The logic goes like this : "If he can't find help with all his money and resources, if he the funny man gave up, what chances do I have?"

Then the next cloud was discord over stupidity in my family. Life is too damn short ..........

So to cheer me up I picked a movie at the Red Box , I picked anything with Colin Firth, because I just adore him. So out came :"the train man". Holly Moses, that was all about the mistreatment of English soldiers by the Japanese in WW2. A very well done movie, British production and sadly a "real Life story".
I did not breath I think for the 160 minutes.

After that I took Bijou for his night walk, the air had cooled and te wind was breezy, it felt good on my face as I tried to think now of fun things to do tomorrow.
That was a bit of a challenge.
We were not but 15 feet from the house when suddenly it started to rain. First a little misty and soon a heavy rain. I loved it. I was getting wet and Bijou kept shaking his coat, he was not excited about the ordeal.
I thought that the rain would clean everything, the cobwebs in my head, wash away all the problems behind my door and maybe some parts of our lovely mountains.
My peace was quickly abrupted with a voice in the dark, it was Bobby who had run across someones lawn to bring me an umbrella. He was on his socks, and now he was wet.

I had to laugh. It was a lovely scenario because he cared but actually I love the rain.
Tomorrow there will be sun and a new week.
No more dark clouds, I am putting a white bubble around me which will protect me ..and all mine...
.I hope.

BROTHERS AND SISTERS

I was born and after me they threw away the mold......not so....my father wanted a boy....my mother had a hysterectomy soon after. So I became an only child. Forget being a spoiled only child. Did not happen.
Year after year I wanted a sister. Someone to play with to grow up with to confide with.
You know what Erma said: " the grass is always greener the other side of the septic tank".

As I grew up I saw my mother and her sister having enormous fight.
Fights over their children. Fights over a recipe. Fights over what kind of shoes to buy for their daughters. I heard it all. T hen my cousin and I wondered if we should have a fight too, often we just picked one so we could justify being in our own mother's corner.

So it was just natural for me to plan on having 2 or 3 children.
My first two, both girls barely 2 years apart. Then came the boy more than a decade later.
Now I figured I had done my dream.
They would all be so close and happy together and I could leave this earth just smiling
knowing they were all 3 little jewels.

STOP. Stop this nonsense, Jeannot.

The girls had dozens of fights, hair pulling name calling on both sides.
Brother came and he was their baby.
Even arguments on who would bathe him.

I looked at my husband and he came from a family of 8.
He was number 7. Most of the first 4 did not get along at all.
I was surprised. There went my idea of a Hollywood family , all getting along singing
and dancing in the sunset.
 Mother of 8 was a doll and she had learned early on to let them just fight and argue.
She had no ups and no downs, she was always just one quiet line in the middle.

My children are getting older, that surprises me, I do not feel old until I look in the mirror but then I think I need a better mirror.
Over the years there have been splits when all communication was finished between me and them and also between each other. Each one had these periods. Near the end of my journey I would have hoped for closer relationships. One can't force that and maybe it is better that way.

I am thinking now that being an only child was not so bad.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A new razor needed.....

I was in Walgreens today to get some gadget Brie needed to fix my roof.
It was a good thing that  young Bob remembered what it was and what th4e name was.
I was in the store and drew a blank.
Passed by all the isles and noticed everything I did not need.
I suddenly stopped and saw an add for a new Norelco shaver for men.
I quickly decided that old Bob needed a new one. He had such sensitive skin
and always was bleeding when he shaved.
I stood for awhile, was it an eternity or just seconds? I do not know but
standing there with a shaver in hand I came out of the clouds and started to giggle.
I spoke to the air : I just forgot that you no longer need this, honey.
I just forgot.
I put back the shaver and wondered when I will ever KNOW that he is gone.

RIP ROBIN WILLIAMS

Never had a chance to see him in person , probably saw all his movies, knew about his struggles.
Yesterday when they announced his passing, I felt a lump in my chest.
Could not be.
He lost his battle with depression. How many today will do the same ?Soldiers who came home from the battle field. Men and women in all different backgrounds, different colors, different financial situation but still affected by demons ........what are the answers?
Mon son said : we lost another solider in the big battle..............
I felt ill all day. Something was not right.
A very hard time to overcome this, I do not even know why?
Then son said : It makes us think of our own depression.
We worry, can we overcome our demons?
Will we give up?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

BABIES ARE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE................

When I was younger I had to have my hands on every baby I saw. I just loved babies.
Took care of 2 of my grand babies when small and loved it.
Now that the grandkids are BIG and none thinking about having babies
which is OK, but my longing for screaming, spitting up , diaper changing little
creature has changed.

I just do not have the energy anymore to baby sit.
When daughter told me yesterday that she was going to have "Young-uns" over for
overnight, I just cringed. Then she told me that she is less and less in the baby sitting moods.
I am thinking...wait it will get worse as you get older.

Of course should a grand-grand baby arrive I may change my mind.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

ARE YOU KEEPING UP WITH ALL THE NEW GADGETS?

I have a vivid memory of an old toothless man sitting in a red chair balancing the back legs against the white washed wall of his casa. That was in Spain when we lived there. He always wanted to chat. Someone had given him a NY Yankees hat and his large ears stuck out on the sides.
He was so cute yet comical.
"Senora!" Darn I wanted to get away to the market in a hurry and it was not going to happen this time. So I went over to him and greeted him shaking his wrinkled hand.

"News!". He said. " man on the moon!" 
"No, es verdad", it is not true!
He was so upset about all the hoopla about something he could not possible imagine.

I walked away and decided then and there that I would keep up with everything in my
old age. I was going to be "modern" and stay with whatever changes come into our daily lives.

Well as they say in the South"It ain't a for sure thang".

Enter the computer.
My son had one but I did not see much need for me to try that too.
It all looked so boring..until it hit a nerve..."retail"
Retail blood moves in my veins and makes my heart pump harder.

Bob had found out that there was a place where we could sell on line.
Toys mint in box is his passion and he found an outlet for his collections.
He showed me that with a WEBTV  I could go into a place called "Ebay".
It was still in it's infancy! It was 1997!

Within days I had a WEBTV, a gadget which you connected to your TV and 
it worked like a computer. I was in heaven. Next looking for the market
was easy. News was everywhere that Beany Babies, a stuffed bear or other animals where the hot items on eBay. 

Bob and I were the ones you read about who stood in line at 4 AM by a toy store or novelty shop who expected a shipment in the morning. Stores sold the little critters for around $3.00 but they sold out in minutes and then on eBay you could get 12.00 and more for the same item.
We became regulars at all the shops within 40 miles from our home.

Sabrina had charge of the antique shop back home which was in a recession so we had
to keep doing what we could to get us in the black.
I was so proud of myself as I finally had learned to be on a WEBTV.
I marched into a store full of real computers and got me everything I needed
a computer, printer, camera, screen and scanner.
I was in business and eBay was growing.
I am still on there and just sold some of my old shop stock from the shed.
I have 6755 feedbacks at this moment and 100 Percent on my 17 years with this company.
100 percent means I have done everything correctly , no negatives in all this time.
I consider this my badge of honor AND I did keep up with the technology world around me
and I know we made it to the moon. I am doing OK, after all I am 82 now.

Not so fast..........there girl.
How did you get a cel phone???Daughter thought I needed one when I walk the dogs and should I be in trouble. I can always text her.......what did she say???Text her?
My fingers seem to be too big for that keyboard ...where is a space? ...where is a "@"...
so if I get it my text looks like this :okiamfinenoproblemloveyoumom"
I did not get beyond that YET.
Then worse yet I can't hear on the cel even with hearing aids.
My landline was put in my house in 1976 and it still works very well, thank you!
 So much for that advancement.

Daughter has a lead foot when she drives. She is my chauffeur. That means that I do not try to be a backseat driver. I NEED her. BUT she seems to have a need to hear voices.
Voices on her phone, that is. She constantly has this thing hanging between a shoulder and an ear.
I have deep, deep sighs. She finally figured it out that I am a wreck.
One day she tells me: "No worries, Mom, I now have a blue tooth!"
"A what?" Now I know about colored teeth but blue? IN Spain all the begging gypsies on the beach smiled with a mouth full of gold teeth. Is this what she has a blue/gold tooth?
It is a gadget that looks like a gross earring. She now speaks to that and we are supposed to be safe now. I don't think so , she is yelling at the IRS people. This is not going to go smoothly blue tooth or not.

Needless to say I will forget about getting that gadget.

Son tells me that Kindle is the new book reading gadget. He gets one.
I am not impressed. I can hold my book, truth is I read and snack in bed and invariably
I mess up the book with crumbs and coffee. 
Son gets an upgrade Kindle so I get his OLD one and I start to like that pretty
much I can even get a movie on it and plugs for my ears. Life is good I will get used to that gadget, I look in the mirror and smile. You still have it, kid, you are still with it.

A visitor comes by to say hello to my son, she plunks herself on the couch, hardly said "hello" and shows a gadget the size of my kitchen TV screen. Holds it up and starts to taking pictures and shows them off, I can see too much detail, under that chair is some of the Corgy's hair....
not good this much detail on a flat screen? Where is the camera? That little peep hole is a camera?

I feel like my grandfather when we went to a movie during the war, obviously he had not been to many and when we walked out he was angry. He yelled out loud:"does not make sense, how did they get from the kitchen to the bedroom? I did not see a hallway". 

I feel the same when I look at a thing I think she said was a Pod????
I can't remember. She announced it cost 456.00 and Mom had given it to her because she needed it in college which she attended for a law degree. 2 months later she left college.


I was not going to rush to get one of them things.
I do hope that Bob will upgrade his Kindle Fire and I will inherit it.

So much for me and all the Apple and other gadgets, I have to give up on the next NEW cel etc...
Then yesterday we walk into Staples, Sabrina and I.
This is the danger shop for my blonde child.
She is in the market for one of these pods, she researched it all, she talks to the mgr like she works there. They talk about bites and all sorts of stuff, at this point I know JPG and Mega...
and I no longer have to store my photos in Geocities and can go directly from my file to eBay's or Facebook, so I am doing pretty well (she thinks).
3 hours in Staples and Brie's bank account is lighter. She now too has a camera peep hole and starts taking my picture. Every single pimple, hair, and wrinkle shows...good camera..where is the gauze they used to film through? We come home and to make matters worse she talks to the "thing" she names it "siri?" and IT answers. Where is this dame? did she come in from the gadget in the car who gives us directions? Is she a relative of her? Where is this person?
"Question Siri, how do I get home? asks Brie?"
 Hell, she knows her way home ,she comes here at least once a week for decades. Siri like magic shows her  a map and tells her that she will be home in 34 minutes (the voice obviously does not know lead foot).
My obnoxious son asks a question with a bad word in it. Siri is so smart: "no need for profanity" she tells him.
She got his number, I am impressed but still how did she get in there?How did she know where I live? Is she stalking me?

I have failed, I no longer can keep up with this fast technology. At least now I know for sure we did go to the moon. I know how they get from the kitchen to the bedroom in the movies. I am still looking for the woman who talks to us in the car and tells us where to go and "siri" in that very thin screen.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Can we be immune from criticism?

The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible

NEGLECTED FLOWERS BRING JOY IN MY YARD

So ,much rain and I ignored my hanging baskets because some were beginning to rot.
Then I saw that the geraniums had no flowers. Scissors in hand I went to cut the dead ones when a bird flew in my face. Shocked I wonder what his/her problems was.
Getting on my toes I notice a nest with 5 nice little eggs.

Today it rained so my son wanted to protect the next and put an umbrella over the mother as she is warming her little eggs.

I love it.


Monday, July 28, 2014

100 years ago, part two

A hundred years ago WW1 started.
Another anniversary for the history books.
I will always remember a visit to Ypres in Belgium while my friends and I sat in a sidewalk cafe indulging in pancakes. We noticed the police clearing the huge parking lot in half. I asked the waiter what was going on. He said:"Daily routine, the busses come from England,people with poppies pile out and go to the monument of the fallen British troops in WW1. They come every day and at a certain time they play taps every day". They have done this every day since the war except during WW2.
Honoring their soldiers after all these decades.....British souls not forgetting ...........what a novel idea, NOT!
We followed the people, a sea of poppies, some single ones some in heart form, some wreaths. They all made it to the huge monument.
I saw the very young, the very old and everything in between.
I just watched and cried.
We got to give it to the Brits!
So many who gave their lives for us little Belgium and our liberty.
It did not end there 1940 came and it started all over again.
That is another story.

100 years ago today.............

How often in my early childhood did I hear about WW1
Too much. My aunts, my mother, father, grandparents always had an a war story. Hard to imagine that today it is 100 years since that happened and I am hear to remember their stories. Such a different war. The King stayed with his troops, did not run to a safe place. Trenches , they all lived in trenches and had face to face battle fields. Ypres, Belgium has one of the best museums about this war. It was the time that reminded us always on where the poppies grow......row by row....To all my long gone relatives :"than you for the memories" .To my mother and father, long gone, I would say that i am sorry they had to live with that war and to every child I see on the news every evening my heart bleeds for you. If you will be lucky to survive today's horrors you will become stronger and able to survive pretty much anything.

Am I a Southerner?

Like Oprah tells us "one thing I know for sure"
and I will copy something my son said on FB :

I'm not much but I am all I have
quote from P K Dick!

Son loved P K!

However that is about the best I can describe who I am.
At my very core I have Flemish blood running in my veins.
I am a Belgian.
To adopt another country is like changing your name when you get married, or not changing it.
I came here with nothing but hopes to have American children.
Not every child is in a happy state about that.
Now I have American grandchildren !!!!!


I am an American on paper. I can't go back , that is not an option for me nor do I want to.
Truth is :I am not a Southerner.
I think you have to be born here to be a real Southerner.

I do not like grits, hush puppies and pecan pie.
I live for more french fries, eclairs, and fresh bread with butter.
Salads are for rabbits.


I had been listed as an independent for many years but then changed it to democrat so I could vote on all issues.
I am a liberal, I was born one.
I left the church behind me after many unanswered questions.
I am responsible for my actions and I have to deal with that if I ever would do something illegal, and not follow my code to treat people the way I would like to be treated. If I do wrong I have to take a look in the mirror. A person and persons with a piece of paper to give them the liberty to listen to your sins and
then forgive them , does not seem right to me.

I was never going to have an abortion, I always knew that, but I do feel that a woman has to have a choice.
No one should be able to tell us how to handle our own body. No law, no church, not your mother.

I have friends who are gay , in my line of work I did meet tons of them.
A couple of them were crooks but that had nothing to do with their sexual orientation, they just
liked to undermine the business ethics. Some had partners forever. Some just liked the change
partners quite often and go for younger ones, duh! is that not so with guys who like younger and younger women?Not to mention a cougar looking for young men?
They are born gay! They do not recruit "gayness". No one ever tried to make my son gay. He always knew he liked girls.

Making a lot of noise over nudity is something I never understood. When I was little in Belgium all the newspaper stands had girly magazines on display with or without clothing. If my mother saw that I was
stretching her arm a little to check out the display, she would real me in and say :"Little girls just not look at all the naked ladies". If I dared to say :"Why?" she had the usual answer "Because I said so!"
She was the boss and I was not going to challenge her. The point is that nudity mags were in the open and the more it was out there the less we started to stare and wonder. Heavens there were statues in the park
made of stone with much more showing. Mother admired the statues freely.

I have little patience with people who try to interfere in someone's liberty to be themselves.
 but I really have a hard time to forgive an abuser, say in domestic violence.
I  would emasculate all pedaphiles. Period! So there I go and truly would interfere with that.
Yikes.

My husband was from California. He was a liberal, he had enormous faith in his church which
in the South was often called an occult.  He was the nicest person I ever met, no question about it.
He disliked the South. He made few friends here because he could not agree with a lot of the
conversations. We could not afford to return West and came to the Carolinas after living in Spain for 5 years.We did have friends here and that made the transition a lot nicer.
The mountains are absolutely breathtaking. They do look blue at certain times under different celestial lights.

My husband's ashes are in a flowing river who knows where they will finally settle to the bottom I hope he went far away on that last voyage and my wishes are for the same burial and maybe I will end up in the Atlantic Ocean......

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A very tired wheel

My mother always said that I was the wheel that kept the k's clan together.
I was always busy at her house , sitting in the tiny kitchen by the window with figures.
Always figures.
How much did I buy for the shop?
How much did I spent for myself ?
Figures, accounts, counting money....
My mother could not get her head on all of this , she had always worked and got a paycheck at the end of the month and that was that!
i had always been in retail, for most of my life I had shops and different businesses.

Bob had 2 , his art work and his art restoration.
I had my antique shop and then later the production of the Father Christmas dolls.
Everything had to be kept separate.
Bills paid receipts, bills due ....it never ended and then came January it was going to the books for the IRS.

In between all else we did art show, Christmas show, antique shows.
We would go as far as Richmond Va. and as far South as Jacksonville Fla.
Every week end another place to eat and sleep on a budget until you make the big sale and then
you splurge with a great meal to be served at your table ....luxury.
If the big sale did not come it was to the quiet zone. We just did not have that much to say then.
I did shows with Bob and Sabrina. We alternated and often had two different cities on the same
week end. Bobby came with us from the time he was little till he was in High School.
We'd pick him up at school and get on our way so we could reach our destination and set up in time
for the next morning opening.

One time we did a huge field market. That was in Mass. It was bitter cold and we slept in our mini
camper , trying to stay warm while setting up in the dark. We did not understand why every one was working till 2 am to have it ready. Then we found out that we had clients at 3 am.
Our first ones were from Holland and they bought all our sterling. We had a good start.
The fields yielded some 300 to 500 dealers and there where many fields the farmers arranged them for one event during their quiet season. We only did this one once. Exhausted from driving and the cold it
was not something we liked that much.

Atlanta we did once a month and Bobby had found a movie lot near us and would find some other kids to go and check out the props, he just loved going there and the movie people always invited the kids to check them out.  Then there was the weird lady who only sold skeletons of animals. She had a zoo in her booth, I shuddered but she thought Bobby was very smart and showed him ever one of her bone collection and what to look for in them. He was talking "weird stuff" for days after Atlanta.
Fortunately it was still safe then but as time went on, a dealer got raped in the ladies room, a dealer in his wheelchair had everything stolen in his van (all silver) while he went to the restroom.
In our motel a lady jeweler had everything stolen out of her van, even with security guards or maybe because of security guards. She had nothing left and near Christmas. We all chipped in and gave her money
and our own stocks so she would have something to begin with.

Another dealer was making pins with old watch faces, very original, she was well known and people loved her stuff. Her son had cancer and then the hospital bill was 180.000. She made a deal with the hospital and promised to do shows every week end till she paid this off, she did it and we all rejoiced when she said she had burned the bills all paid now. Her son was back in good health too.
These are the people you learn to look up to in the weekly markets.

Bob insisted on buying ORIGINAL art at every show depending on what we could afford or often could not afford. He insisted that in order for us to make a living we needed to help others too. He was a rare jewel and I loved him for that, his son is the same.

Sabrina and I worked Savannah GA. Christmas show. A huge show and we always did well with our dolls. This time the police came to see us and warn us. The Christmas shop in town had a visitor who offered our dolls at a very low price and was taking "orders". Lucky for us the lady had talked with us and right away she knew the dolls were ours. The police helped us load the van that evening because they thought it would be someone working the night crew who would apprehend the dolls.
I could not believe it, jewelry? yes. Sterling? yes but Father Christmas dollls? We never worried about them.
Police escorted us out of the parking lot to the gate and then 2 nervous women drove to our motel looking back and writing down the licenses in case the same ones were following us.
We did not return to Savannah.

One day I was not well and was in the motel with little Zack and could not go to sell with Brie.
We were in Augusta and had never done the show. We were not happy with the space given which was quite dark and just at the entrance when people come in always in a hurry.
Sabrina called me about mid afternoon.
"Mom?"
"I sold out!"
"You did what? "I have one doll left and the promotor is angry because we did not bring enough."
Our dolls were one of a kind and high end and sold for 175.00 and 225.00 some of the large one for 750.00
Our inventory had been like 24 or so plus big one.
Bob was doing another show and he had the rest with him but too far to go get some.
We did eat well that evening with a screaming Zack which we ignored.

Zack started doing shows with us at 6 weeks old.
He was the best baby and I walked miles with him in the show while every body was just so interested in the dimpled baby. One town he hates was Augusta. As soon as we hit the town he would scream. He was a tiny baby, what was it that he just did not want to be in Augusta. We could not even eat out, he'd scream to high heavens. One time he screamed all the way home which was about a 4 hour ride. Never did he do that
in other locations. Every year the same ritual, hated Augusta.

Every November like clock work during our Christmas shows I would get sick, ersatz lungs. I was so overworked as we never had enough stock and yet we started in June or July to make the dolls but they took a long time, each being une piece unique.
One time I ended with pneumonia during Christmas.

So here I am now alone, 82, and I just can't do a lot of things anymore.
I am baffled.
I could multi task like a robot.
Now trying to do 2 things at the same time? Are you kidding me?
So when I see Bob and Brie working on something I should do , well, it just drives me nuts.
No mistake I am very happy with any help, I do not have the money to hire people and an old house is a money pit, it's an old house and I just love it. Age and all.
Yesterday Sabrina and a young lad came to take down 2 trees.
I was a wreck, did she ever take down trees? No.
she did do it and I calmed down a little in the evening.
Took a pill and went to sleep.





Friday, July 18, 2014

Gentse Feesten ...............

  
The city of Ghent is a lovely city, a large city so you have to know where to find all the corners of ancient times.
Brugge tops us as you can walk everywhere and see it all without needing guides, you can even walk from the station to downtown in minutes.

Not much business for cabs in Brugge.

I returned almost every year after we moved back to the USA from Spain.
When we lived at the Costa DEL sOL my relatives came to see us.
I did not blame them.

I have so many memories of the festivities.
One that stick out was when Nick and Jimmy plus their mom came
and we stood in the Donkersteeg late in the evening and watched the fireworks around Belfort,
it was magical, looked almost like it was on fire but different colors everywhere.
We did not dare move our heads in fear not to see it all.

Thousands upon thousands come to these festivals, a lot today is about music and for the young.
Ghent is a city of young people with a great University to attract Foreign students as well.

After my Mom passed, Bob and I rented a flat for one month in the center of town and then
the kids and friends had a place to stay. One year we had a place within a few steps of the Belfry,
a main street, it was during the Festival. Across from us a lovely restaurant with the piano outside and
serving food until 4 a .m. Little sleep did we get but we sat by the window and people watched
while the music never stopped. We would turn around now and then and danced ,some people saw us and started to clap in the street , we had an audience not anticipated. Bob could not believe it, a dancer he was not. Well they did not see his feet moving so what the heck.

I think Jimmy was about 8 and his brother 6 when we could not get a flat in town and we had a nice place by the station. We were worn out with these two dynamo's . Earlier in the day we sat at a cafe by the Belfry
chatted and yelled at the kids when a group in odd clothing came by and yelled at us: "Yanks! Yanks!'
We are Bellringers from the UK. We had no idea what a bellringer was.
They all took a chair and something to wet their whistle and started to explain that they had been invited by the city Mayor to perform and open the traditional ball at the Kouter.
One chap had his eyes on Rhonda, easy, she is a bit of a flirt anyway and not difficult to look at.
Most of the men had their wives with them and they all were of a mature age. This fellow was alone.
He quickly started to talk to our daughter and asked if she would open the dance with him but she would have to find a period dress.
All shops besides food shops pretty much close during the festivities.
Rhonda was sure she would find what we needed.
We parked grandpa and kids with some friends and started to walk the streets to see if one of the theatrical shops was open. Lucky I know my way there like the back of my hand and many business I knew as a child have been taken over by relatives or just sold to someone else.
The largest shop I knew was still there and CLOSED. I knocked and knocked and knocked
finally a face at the window: "I am closed ".
"I know but we are Americans and my daughter needs a costume to open the ball at  the Kouter"
The door opens. The lady lives upstairs as most shop keepers do.
We tell her the incredible story and Rhonda already has her nose in the clothing.
It's not a quick decision. If you know my daughter you know it has to be exactly as she envisions it.
The hat took another 1/2 hour and out the door we went.
Pinching each other at our luck and then Rhonda reminded me that she had little time to join the group and see a reception with the mayor. So we ran to our friends and had her dressed then found our way to the
Bellringers, most had already a little bloom on their cheeks.
Exit Rhonda and come the wee ones. Grandpa and Grandma stuck with them.
The town is packed and we zig zag our way to a tram hoping to go home for a few hours of rest.
Bob holds Nick hands and I am in charge of Mister Curious and Serieus.
Body to body on the back of the tram it stops at the end of every street and we have a long way to go to our flat. People get on and suddenly Jimmy's hand is out of mine and I see him going for the exit and next on the sidewalk in between a mob. I scream, the tram door closes, I scream and others ring the bell, stop, please stop my grandson is out there. The whole group on that back platform are in chorus till the door opens and I can run out and get the kid.
I want to kill him, nothing less. Imagine if I had lost her child while Madame de Pompadour was bar hopping with the Brits.
That evening our friends watched the kids and we went to the ball , I cried my eyes out.
This daughter of mine was opening the ball with the Brits and TV cameras were everywhere.
On this square I had been sitting front row and center when my Paternal grandfather had directed the army band and had done his oboe solos. His moustache turned up. When was that I thought? It had been 1936.
I sat between my two Aunts in my new dress they had made for the occasion.  I had to sit still and not talk about Grandpapa.
Now so many decades later my daughter is on the same square...an American.
For a short while I felt remorse.
My family had so much history here on both sides of my Mom and my Dad , why did I leave.
I am the only one to leave Ghent. Now as I write I have one cousin left there.

I would not be able to work the crowds of today , I would have a panic attack. I always like the noise in the streets, the singing and joy in the air. The morning running to the bakery in a street in great need of the
cleaning crew. Then getting ready and have another day of it.

The monday after the festivity there is a market called "The empty purse" , merchants come and set up and have bargains for people who still have some pennies left.

I want to be there , I want, I want, I will be there in the spirit................

http://www.gentsefeesten.be/en

When Rhonda finds her photos I will post them.
As it turned out we had a video of her from the TV station with more coverage than the other ladies, of course, she was the young one.
A few weeks ago a lady on FB wrote to me and said:" I dressed your daughter for the ball "
I started to cry, she remembered. Bless her!




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Concussions................

I was reading that the concussions the soccer players had during the Cup were not addressed as should have been.
The players game right back onto the field, the specialist on this claim that the player after a blow is not in a position to make the right decision.
On May 24th I fell and had a concussion from an iron scale falling on the front of my head so I fell and then hit the back of my head.
The ambulance staff said I should not be here anymore for this was a hard blow.
Not sure but the scale weighs between 35 and 45 lbs.

They took me to the ER with a collar on.
The MRI concluded that I had a concussion and need a follow up and should not make any decisions
for several day etc...etc...

Before my fall I had started to work with Luminosity , it's a site with workouts for the brain.
I was doing quite well and happy about my results. Especially in the memories series.
I could not do the workout during about 2 weeks after my fall. Head seemed like scrambled eggs.
Finally I started again and I can see the difference. I went down hill.
My responses are good but the speed is lacking by which I answer.
I need time to think out the problems which I did not have before the concussion.
That is no fun but then I am still here and it could have been worse.

Hear ye part 2

So Brie and I went to Sams.
Brie is loaded for bear.
She tells me if we have the same reception with the audiologist we are splitting and going to Asheville store
and try there.
Same lady.
She has a master in audiology.
She starts out on the wrong foot.
Tells Brie that we should have been there before.
Brie tells her that we can't get a hold of her.
Then she tells us the phone nr has changed and gives us a card
Then she shows me under microphone that a tiny speck is inside the stem of the hearing aid.
I assure her that I have psoriasis in the ear and I am forced the clean these at least once a day
so no problem with that.
The poor lady has one problem, she just does not listen to what we have to say and
instead starts telling us what we do wrong.
Brie sees red , tells me that we are going and starts packing my stuff.
Lady does not catch on , wonders what we are doing.
I tell her: Please listen to me!
She shakes her head.
Comes to mind someone I knew with severe ADHD. Not saying this is the problem here.
It does remind me.
Finally we get on the same page.
We have been rewarded a new set according to the mgr.
It turns out that I bought 4 year insurance on these and what they are doing is
charging the new ones to the insurance.
I get a upgrade set.
Finally figuring out that the left ear does not work with the "cups"
they have to get a built in mold and work with that.
Molds available in 2 weeks.
Meanwhile back to the same suction cups.
Upgrade the hearing part too, now there is a part for the phone too.
So far they work I would say depending who I talk too.
Man next door very soft spoken, I see his mouth move but get nothing.
The cel phone: Nothing.
The house phone is somewhat tolerable but so far just talked to Brie, she is loud anyway.
It was 2 1/2 hours of pure annoying conversation.
Mostly I had a monologue and she had one.
For sure a problem with communications.
Her boss called her eccentric,
We shall see in 2 weeks with the molds.

Monday, July 14, 2014

HEAR YE? HEAR YE? HEAR YE?

10 months ago I spent 4000 buckeroos on a pair of hearing aids.
My 4th pair. The others before did not work for very long and wee cheaper.
My first set was a Siemens set for 6000 but my darling husband (with dementia)
took care of them. Never to be found, I did like them. C'est la vie.

So when we went into Sams, Brie and I found a new brand supposed to be the best.
The person in charge os testing makes the aid right there and then.
No returns 21 days from now. Right there and then they are in your ears and you think
that Sams is the loudest place you have ever been in.
Lord, once these babies were in the ear I wanted to shut them up, I never heard Sams
to be a LOUD place.

Went on for a few weeks smiling like a Cheshire cat.
I had it made. I could hear on the cel phone, good, not regular phones.
I had been promised that.
Slowly the aids diminished in capacity (?) had them checked twice and was
told this was the best she could do, deal with it.
Did my hearing go down hill so fast ?I asked.
"No, they are the same as before" said the lady who did not listen much to what I had to say.
She was very rude and ignored most of my conversation.
Numerous times she called me wrong.
Well, said I, I should know they are my ears!
The computer tells me different she answered.
Several visits, and things got worse.
The little suction cups which fit on the inner  ear computer just came off every day.
I needed someone home to go digging in my ear to find the cup.
When I had to go to the ER they had a problem getting them out.
One day I had to go clear to Sams and have her do it, she asked my grandson to assist her to hold my head, she had so much trouble finding the plastic cups which had annoyed me all night.
Finally, I just gave up, I hardly wear them at all.
If I did not have my son living with me, I would throw them in the trash.
He has become my "ear nurse" night after night.
What does this mean?
It means that the computer gadget breaks away from the cup which should keep it in place as close
possible into your inner ear.

Sabrina, had enough of it called headquarters and talked to a man in charge.
She asked for a refund and told him my story.
I can't talk at all anymore on the phone.
He told Brie that this should not happen.
About his employee all he had to say was that she was excentric! New word for rude?
So tomorrow I am to go back to the same office and get a new pair of hearing aids.
We start all over again.
10 months of misery.
I do not have that much time left to sit and wait to hear someone.
I do not like to have sellers insult me.
I have been in retail all my life and I probably lost my cool about 2 times.
Above all I always felt the customer is right even when I knew I was.
Sabrina can attest to that.

Hate to go in tomorrow.
I will follow up.
Refund? are you kidding, not an industry who likes to give refunds
but I know one lawyer in NY who did get it for his client.