Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas eve 2011 and the future

It's that time of the year but I am already looking forwards in 9 weeks,
to be exact, when I will turn 80!

There is something magical to me about becoming 80.
I just never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever see that number.

When Bob and I first dated we both had this idea that most of our lives were
already lived. I was 36 and he was 42.
I do not know why we both felt this doom hanging over our heads for a short life.
We decided that no matter what the remaining years would be heavenly...
they were until he became ill. But, we had 42 years together, so much for the negativity of our youth.

Bob read palms in his spare time away from astrology charts.
He kept showing me that he was going to live till about 50.
He made it till 84, he did not want to read mine afraid to see
when I would leave, he was serious about it.
Made my chart before he took the notion seriously about dating me.
"dating" was just going and have some coffee in a coffeehouse full of hippies. It was the late sixties after all and neither of us had money to pay for a dinner.

My mother read palms, she was serious about it too and told many in our office about what would happen, she was on target too. I begged her time and time
again to read my hand and she would just take a slight peak and refuse.
She would have tears in her eyes. I thought "Its that bad!".
So my hands may have told a story but no one would tell it to me
and surely I thought I would be gone by age 50.

Now I am telling every living body that moves and speaks to me that I am going to be 80 soon. It is like a trophy!!!Well, I did have a brush with cancer, suffered years in my twenties and thirties from rhumatoid arthritis. Some times I could hardly walk with the swollen feet.

So this past year I started again to make jewelry, I had done some in the sixties with the hippy craze. I opened a booth in a small mini mall and to my surprise people liked what I did. So come Feb 2012 I am opening my second shop.
It keeps me extremely busy but that is what I want.

I often try to just sit and relax and read a book, love to read, so the problem with that is that I fall asleep. Fault of the writer? Maybe. Fault of the thyroid? Possible. Fault of 79 3/4 age? Perhaps. Having to be busy and counting beads and trying to find a 1mm hole is a challenge which needs me to be very awake.

I love the result because I only make what I would love to wear.
That the whole female population will agree with my taste is impossible but at least a percentage of them will. Besides that I do not overprice.
If I counted my hours I would say that I work in the red BUT most crafters work in the red. It goes with the territory.

My only problem with being 80 and semi retired is that I love to travel, love it, no matter how close or how far I like a suitcase in hand. Now I have the time and a tiny budget but no HEARING. I am very deaf. Yet to find hearing aids which are even 80 percent giving back my hearing. I cant take long trips. I can hear the blaring announcements in airports nor the waitress who wants to know if I like a, b, or c on my salad. I often say the first one and have no idea what I will get.
I am tired of telling people that I can't hear.
I am tired of my kids telling me that I am yelling at the table in the restaurant and people around us just found out what was left in my account.

I am grateful that my eyes are good , thanks to the cataract surgery I can see without my ugly thick glasses. Just need reading glasses...when I read.

The skin is shriveling (is that a word?) and the wrinkles multiply overnight.
For some reason that does not bother me. So I look 80, so what ? I am 80.
I am no longer looking for a mate or to win beauty contests, I am looking to see how long I can stretch that 80. Do I think I will become 90? Absolutely not but
83 would be nice or maybe 85. With the condition that I have all my marbles and can walk on my own and continue to make necklaces.
The world needs more necklaces!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23 2011

My oldest grandson is 26 today...where does the time go???
I can still see him, gorgeous eyes, gorgeous lips and blond hair with a POUT. Oh! Could he pout!!!!He also told you as soon as he could talk if he liked you or not.
He had an opinion, now he is very quiet, graduated from VT, yes that one, and works in the Triangle in computer science. He can cook and is now learning about wines.
What he tackles has to be to the minutest detail.
A brain in working order to be sure.
Looking for the perfect wife!!!!Yep! Could luck with that one cause she has to deal with the perfect mate.

He will cook our dinner tomorrow night at his mothers house.
I am told it will be a feast!!!!

Here in the Valley it is a quiet day.
Shannon could not visit as Bob is not doing well at all.
The dr. is playing guessing games to what medicine will help him.
I guess that is the only way to find out. There is very little concrete knowledge on how to cure agoraphobia and severe panic disorder.
My heart breaks when I look at him.

I am glad it is quiet. I am not in a party mood this year and looking forward to a mini vacation next week.
Christmas for sure is not the same without my partner. He was the nut for all that stuff.

Found myself walking Bijou and just crying and crying....what is up with that?
I asked myself and then I laughed for when I was little and crying my mother
would say :"Go ahead and cry then you will not have to pee so much".
That then turned my crying in anger but I did stop crying.
Now it is different Dr. tells me I must pee a lot to work the lonely kidney...orders..orders...always orders...if not mother talking to me from wherever then there is the expensive surgeon giving orders.

One thing I know for sure (Oprah!) is that no matter how old you get to be you still hear your mothers orders. No matter how old your children get to be
you are still a mother and try to let them live their lives but would love to give more orders.

Peace on Earth is my wish this season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

RED and my family

Christmas 2011

OK so I am not in the mood for Christmas, New Years, Ground Hog Day, Easter, Valentine's Day, St Patricks day and all the rest of it including mothers day.
That is just me.
My husband made sure that every nook and cranny was filled with red berries (his favorites) red bows, ornaments and anything red and green he could find.
Now I am thinking about decorating since Sabrina's house was so inviting (it was the candles!!!) and I keep thinking if I should dig up some old ornaments somewhere...then I think : "Gosh I have to take it all down again in a few weeks"
Nah! Fogettaboutit!

I wrote in several publications and here in this blog about the childhood Christmas which was the very best for me in 1944, unfortunately it also co-incides with the Battle of the Bulge about a 4 hour ride from the Flanders. BUT still occupied.
I will not repeat my story as I know most of you know it by heart.

My second best Christmas was about 14 or more years ago.
The story starts in my youth, in fact in January 1945 when a ship by the name of "Seapower" parked on the Canal of Terneuzen right in front of my house.
The corps of Engineers aboard where there to fix the electrical plant a 100 yards or so away (in my back yard so to speak, or was I in their backyard?)
The plant had been bombed many times and was not operating yet.

My father had decided to leave my mother and join his mistress a few miles away leaving us with a broken down house, roof and windows broken from the bombing and no food, garden empty except for some Brussels sprout and rutabagan. The cats were now all wild and the rabbits we had let go when we fled before the battle started in our neck of the woods.

My mother was very Victorian and in awesome pain that the only man she had ever known had deserted her for an ugly bar lady who owned her own bar and several houses too. So mother decides to keep the green shutters closed and sit around with candles as to pretend that no one was there. She was sure we would be raped,
2 women alone she would say.....then she summoned my grandfather to come and stay with us to show a male presence. Albeit by now not so young male.

One day a knock on the front door, no one ever used that door, a shiver up our back..remembering that the SS had done that too when they came to search our house, in front of us a Master Sergeant not that we knew about his stripes but we found all this out later. He asked my mother if she knew anyone who could iron his shirts to his satisfaction, evidently the laundry man on board were not doing a good job.
My mother was suddenly coming to life and invited the man in and told him that she would iron anything while she showed her coal stove and old fashion irons which always sat on the back of the stove. He was a bit puzzled by these antique instruments and brought his shirts. Before the week was over mother had a traffic of some very picky soldiers who liked her ironing even with an antique iron.

The Sergeant was Walter E. S. he had a wife and two girls in DC working at the Pentagon and a son in State of North Carolina playing football and studying engineering. He was from Boston, told us his wife had been a beauty queen and was from the same region.
The second soldier who became part of our household was a bright red haired young kid of 20 who had married Lois the day before he left for the army. He was from coal country in PA. his father and a bunch of relatives all coal miners.
He told my mother that he had never seen so much poverty as there was in our house (imagine he came from coal country, not exactly chateau country). He decided to bring us food. It was "ferbotten" by the Captain a Republican to the core man who decided that there would be no fraternizing with the locals.
"Red" decided to chance it, I still see him coming down the path to our backdoor with his Eisenhower jacket on , he opened it up and dropped an enormous large piece of meat on my mothers table and said: "My hands are clean, Mrs Droesbeke"
Mrs. Droesbeke was in awe, what difference did it make if his hands were clean?
This much meat she had not seen in ages and surely could not afford it if we found it. Red continued to be our supplier, he "procured" a grey all wool blanket from a British soldier and mother made a coat out of it for me. I remember it being itchy as hell but warm and with sleeves that were long enough to cover my growing long arms. Red brought us "Camay" soap, we had made our soap for years now, this was LUXURY and mother made me smell it , I waited anxiously for her to open the paper and lets just try it...not my Mother...I do not know if she was waiting for WW3 but she quickly put it in the drawer of the armoire her father had made.
This armoire is in my dressing room and guess what is in the drawer????

During the war it was "de la mode" for young girls to have a "Poesie" book.
It would be a small book with empty pages so your friend could fill it with poetry.
I dragged that with me (and will write about it soon) wherever I went, not having many friends and thinking the grown ups were my equals I would not leave one soul untouched. I approached the engineers when we sat in the bunker waiting for the bombs to fall, I approached anyone to write anything in my book.
It is my most precious book of my 80 years and I will try and take it with me when I leave this earth, do not have a plan yet but I am thinking.....
No , it can not be burned with my ashes, back to the drawing board...

So, naturally I presented my book to the soldiers and they wrote poems or just wrote words like :"Paddy from Liverpool"
How I explained all this must have been via my mother who was fluent in English, I had just learned a four letter word which I had no idea about and it started with F... SOldiers would often yell it out as their trucks drove by.
Good thing Mom told me it was not "good morning".

My "Red" friend one day picked me up at my school downtown , he sat in front of the school building as we came ready to run for the street car and I stopped in my tracks, saw the red hair ,grew 3 inches taller and felt like he was my boy friend who came to rescue me....he drove me home and mother yelled at him that I could have fallen out of the Jeep.....but Red wrote his name under someone elses drawing, a very unusual name.

By june 1945 the factory was working , we had electricity and mother had a job in the office of the paper plant near us. Grandpa stayed for quite awhile.
My heart was broken. No one had told me the ship was leaving, they knew how attached I had become to the new fathers in my life, men who cared if I had something to eat, men who gave me chewing gum by the dozens of packages so I
started to sell it at school and introduce my friends to the wonder of chewing all
day long on a piece of rubber (while I hated it) I became the "dealer" of gum.
These men taught me Canasta and I soon was an expert at the game, the sergeant left us his decks and container so we could continue to play with grandpa.
It was great being liberated and knowing this new security of men in uniform.

The Sergeant I had named Uncle Pam and his wife Aunt Julie, the family in DC had started to send clothing for me and I became the American model, I could not fill the tops of the dresses but Mother would readjust and sew and sew.
I was 13 that year , very tall for my age but flat as an ironing board, I did play catch up later...So the family promised me that if I ever wanted to come to America they would be there waiting for me and sponsor me.
My dream had started. I wanted American children.

So in 1955 I walked the streets of NY with my Belgian husband, I was 23 and had married at 19 and waited in Montreal for the last 2 years for a permanent visa.
It took 4 years in all to get to come here to the USA and get the coveted green card.

Over the years we got to know the whole Uncle Pam clan and visited all their relatives and became part of them.
Both of the elders are now buried in Arlington. They were extremely giving people.
Gave me my life here.

in 1957 I had my first American daughter.

The story does not end there as I was totally indebted to "Red" he had been such
a fun guy and had given us hours of his company and goodies from the ship.
Being underfed he had taken me to see the ships doctor and with vitamins I had become whole again. I had suffered 6 months from pleurisy and that had knocked me on my knees.

I lived in New Jersey, Campbell CA, Brookdale Ca, Nerja, Spain for 5 years, NC for the last decades but in every town I went on all the travels we did in different towns and states I would check the phone book for Red's name. Never found it UNTIL my son introduced me to a WebTV and I began searches on there in 1997 , found nothing until I emailed with a man who ran the site for Marauders (my brother in law was a Marauder) the man gave me 4 names which could have been Red and I was on a mission. I wrote to a man in Harrisburg PA remembering that he had come from coal mining country in PA. Did not get an answer for awhile and was ready to start all the other names. But the holidays were coming and I was very busy making Father Christmas dolls and doing shows every week end. So Christmas eve came along and all the kids and grandkids piled into the house full of joy and noise admiring the
"red berries cottage" and all the packages under the tree. I had been cooking for 3 days, I always cook for an army. The phone rang and I looked around and wondered who it could be as my gang was underfoot, all of them, picked up the phone and a voice said : "Janet (they called me that) I am back in your life after 52 the way this is Red!". I ran to the quiet bedroom and started to cry,
he said "Merry Christmas girl, I often thought about you and your mother".
I was in a total shock, I found out he was indeed still in PA and was now retired from the telephone company where he had worked all his life.
I was so afraid to ask about his wife "Lois" I had a photo of her on a stamp which he had given me in 1944. So...I stuttered and said a lot of hm hm hm "I have to ask about Lois, Red, what happened?" He said:"She is sitting in a chair right here knitting for the grandchildren". We promised to visit each other which we did but Lois had Alzheimer and he did not want to know it, he just took care of her and hid what he truly knew in his heart. Both passed on within a year from each other. My children and grandchildren all got to hear his war stories and stories about me.
A lot I had not remembered, the ship's crew had shot down a German plane and it fell within yards of my house totally in flames and he said: "remember that day?"
I have not. I have many other incidents burned into my brain but that one I choose to forget.

I honor every soldier , the last wars were not so great for returning Vets, we have ignored a lot of them, even today as I write this ,many are in hospitals without limbs, memory and on and on. At their homes without work and with a mental memory that no one should have to endure. I think about the kids in Iraq and all what they saw and one day when they turn 80 will they write down about the pains and about the joys of seeing Americans ?????I Wonder.

My second best Christmas in my lifetime was the night Red called. My hero!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

debt forgiven????

The N C state has a program to help deaf people.
It works well, I think, they came to me within a day after I called them.
They gave me 1 hearing aid.
It did not help all that much but in the quiet of the house I can hear the water running if I used them.
My hearing loss is at 80 percent right now= severe in their lingo.
So when Bijou went on the destruction path I sent an email to the State
BECAUSE these are "loaners" (who would want my old hearing aid?)
and I signed my life away when I got this pair.
I am supposed to pay back and can't get a new one until 4 years from now.
Looks like they may forgive me my debt, at least that is what was written to me.
I am never sure when it comes to government agencies but I hope this is so.

I resurrected my last cheap one which I bought on line, it only has one setting: LOUD which does not work in restaurants or public loud places.
I will go and see what other options I have since I started this journey into "faux ears".

Problem with this is that I can't travel alone. Go to dr.s with Brie as they all tend to whisper no matter how often I say "I can't hear you". Can't enjoy a table of 4 because the echoes ring loud and clear but the words are mumbled.
I often order a glass of wine and listen to my own thoughts.
A deaf person becomes a lonely person. If I had been smart I would have learned to sign and I can still do that but then I will have to find others who sign.
It all is not worth it anymore. Stay with the computer and "talk" to my friends over the invisible wires.
So sorry to bitch!!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

chewers and barkers

I went grocery shopping and was in such a blah mood, could not get out of it.
Wanted to sit in a corner alone and just cry.
Picked myself up a little bit to finish the day with dessert...that did not help either...if chocolate does not help..then what to do?

Once home I felt totally spent, sat in my recliner and dropped my hearing aid on the table next to me....a voice said :"NO do not put it there the dog will get it"
I did not listen. I answered: "Just for a minute I will soon get up and go to bed"
too lazy to get up and put it away, that I was.

10 minutes later ...Bijou quietly sits on his bed in his cage.
He has a zillion chewable toys in there, none interest him for chewing, he just keeps them there as this is his shrine and the Corgy does not go in there to steal.
This time he has a tiny item that is in shreds.....
You guessed it.

For a few minutes I went balastic, knew I would throw up and not handle this very well......
The hearing aid is from the NC hearing center and they have paid for this my 4th one,a single, did not get a pair, I signed my life away with them as these are loaners and if something happens to them I PAY. Charity for the deaf ends when a Maltese takes charge.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Neil Diamond

OK OK I am acting like a teenager who wants to see lady Gaga.
My guy is Neil Diamond, I think I have loved him forever, his America song brings me to a fountain of tears. It always reminds me how I sat dreaming in Belgium for the day I would go to America. Years I did this. His song hits me smack into my soul.

Well, I sat trembling by the computer, debit card in hand and waited for 10 00 am
when Ticketmaster would start selling the June Concert in Atlanta with none other than Neil Diamond.
I got it and I could hardly remember my name.
A little clock in the corner tells you that you have x number of minutes to make up your mind. Did it. Then another page with address and other info....another clock started...where do I live???Oh Hendersonville is such a long name especially with a
keyboard that has all these worn letters all blank.
Then another page and on it went , all pages flying in on some mysterious magic carpet of air and bringing into my view. What a world it is now I am thinking, no lines in front of a glass booth and a tired lady telling you that the last one just sold.
Finally the magic shows the last page with a number of proof that you just got tickets to the master balladeer. (Spelling?}
I jump up with joy and start dancing in a round and feel kind of nauseous...Bob tells me to stop it...then I remember I have vertigo and I am going to fall flat on my ass if I do not stop. Ass by the way is English for what I call my derriere.

Friday, December 2, 2011

OK I promise I have not been drinking hard liquor....I should.....

Just a week ago I was the old lady on the balcony enjoying the sun and sea now I am the old lady who can't bend or turn around in bed...vertigo is was gone for a few months but back again.
I almost started to laugh at Bob as his head was bobbling left and right and I thought :"this is not the reality of it, this is my brain " somehow it is hard to comprehend when the room is dancing and lamps are moving yet you KNOW that is not so.

I do not do nausea very well so then I have to take a pill and sleep for the rest of the day..........

enough bitching........tomorrow is another day and maybe, just maybe the little crystals in the ear stop running about and go in the water for a swim....well that is what the ear dr told me....

wish you all a good night and missed seeing Rhonda yesterday and not being able to go to Lunch tomorrow with L and C. Hate that part.