Monday, April 23, 2012


When you know someone who has agoraphobia what are your thoughts about this person and that behavior?Do you think it is a question of mind over matter? Do you think the person is too lazy to work or be involved in the outside real world? Do you think that he/she is something of a drama queen and does this to get attention? What is agoraphobia? No it is not about spiders. (I was told that more than once) Panic disorder with agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which there are repeated attacks of intense fear and anxiety, and a fear of being in places where escape might be difficult, or where help might not be available.... My son has agoraphobia. He has been home bound for 4 years. Some people have it for longer periods or shorter ones. No set rules. My son tried for years to get mental health help but we all know how that works. Reagan started this cutting down on mental health when he did not truly believe that the psychiatric profession was so needed. (Instead he and Nancy consulted psychics) Since then many mental health clinics have opened and closed due to lack of funding etc... It was 6 months ago that he found a place with a psychiatric and counselors who would come to the house and work with him. Before that we both contacted psychiatrist who absolutely refused to come to the home. "We will meet you at the library" was one answer. What part of agoraphobia do you not understand? If he could go to the library he would nOT need your help. This team has worked with him non stop with 2 or 3 visits a week. First you need to calm down so you do not have panic attacks on and off during the day even in your house. You need to get over the fear that some stranger will walk into that door and you will need to talk to them. You need to be able to talk to a plumber, electrician who NEEDS to come in. It is a very long period to get over the fear. Fear and dozens of phobias. For instance a fear that if you go into that 7/11 there will be a robbery and you will get shot by the robber. Sure we read about this every day but what is the chance that it will happen to you? Reality is out the window when you are giving in to that kind of fear. The good news now is that he has first of all been able to talk to the people next door, he saw me talking to the girls and he came over and joined in and started to laugh. I could not believe it. He seemed extra calm. Slowly more visits back and forth and now he can't wait to see them and go for a talk. After that event he fixed his cars, one inherited from his wife and one I gave him when my husband stopped driving. So now every day he gets into the car and drives a few blocks, next day a few more and last night he drove at night for a mile or so, came into the house shaking but he had finished another goal. Agoraphobia does take time to be conquered. Does take a team who can help and cares for you. Does take understanding. Do not ever think that this is something one would invite to happen to them. Try and understand that this is a serious mental issue. Help the person in every way you can. Do become enlightened and do not say like the TV man did: "Oh, man, you are so lucky, you can just stay home and not have to go to work" The man actually said the word "lucky!" If you know someone with agoraphobia read a few articles on it and for heavens sake know that they are not so lazy they do not want to work. My son is taking classes at home and has a 3.97 average out of 4.00 He will have his associates degree next May and hopes to continue after that. He picked psychology as he does know how it feels to need mental health care. I know he will be terrific at it. He is caring and smart. Oh well, I am his mother, I think he is terrific!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The flowers so far in April 2012 lots more planted and not yet in bloom:

Friday, April 20, 2012


The state of Washington just legalized same-sex marriage. One state at a time, we’ll get there! Yes, one state at a time BUT I can bet you that it will not be N.C. Voting is on May 5th. Several TV ads are on and they usually start with :"I am a good Christian...BUT...." I live in the Bible Belt. I am fine with letting every one believe what they want and like. I was born in a Catholic country, 97% then were Catholics, I do not know the latest figures, I do know that all my peers (still alive) and their families have left the church. After an argument with a priest who refused to baptize my daughter by the name of "Rhonda" and used "Elizabeth" without our permission....well, he sort of lost me. His argument was that we needed to contribute to the school fund and he would make an exception. My daughter still had her baby eyes crossed let alone be ready for school. We were very strapped for money and I refused to be blackmailed. I left the church. Good choice because after my divorce they would have thrown me out anyway. I had been brainwashed by nuns so I wanted to see what else I could live with the Episcopal Church was the next step, and I will not bore anyone with all the other searches of mine, most of them my NC acquaintances would say they were occult. My spiritual journey is absolutely my own business and if people can't understand that I am very sorry. My best friend is Jewish, we have known each other for 55 years. She has listened to my "new age" speeches, I have gone to some of the Jewish services, my friend was there when I lost my faith altogether. Neither one of us have tried to change our minds on anything this personal. I value her opinion a lot but she will not get into our views on angels, saints, Jesus, the Trinity and I will not question the rituals she abides with. We are friends with lots of love, we are sisters, misplaced at birth. So this business of marriage has me baffled. When I grew up my father was a policeman in Belgium. He arrested men for being gay and threw them in jail. He visited the red light district and checked the paperwork of the working girls, they were legal. These "chores" were part of his duties. I was too little to understand any of this. I heard grown ups talking about someone being "verkeerde" read "wrong". My childhood was filled with abuse verbal and physical from a mother who had many mental issues, unconditional love was not in her dictionary. I had that at the house of my Aunts. Two women who were "spinsters" (said my Mom) and lived their whole life together while they did wonders with needles and thread. They had a very rich life, knew the right people, dressed in silks and their original designs. They had so much love for me that I could not wait to get to their house when my Mom was ill. I was not spoiled, I was full of respect for them, I knew if I did something wrong I would not be beaten but get a verbal reprimand and I avoided that at all costs. I did not to want to disappoint them. I knew them as "Tantes" . One was my father's sister and the other a very good friend. I never saw anything that I should not see, never heard talk about their relationship, not even in my adulthood. My mother would never accept there was anything else between them. This I had asked her very late in her life. She quickly replied :NO NO NO nothing like that with these two. I saw the love and respect they had for each other, how they managed their accounts, their work schedule, the chores. I saw some bickering but not like the fights I saw at home. This place was heaven to me. These women were the glue that kept it together for me, there was always the hope that I could go to their house. In my high school years I would often walk to their house and surprise them and always the smiles were there. "Look who is, Germaine, our girl is here." They made my first ball gown and I can still see all the stitches (by hand) to hold it all together. It would be en vogue today with the one "greek" shoulder as they called it. When I married my second husband, the joy of my life, I was introduced to a different world. Away from the cooking, baking and cleaning and square dancing I was thrown into a San Francisco world. The ballet (my husband sketched many scenes, wrote their reviews for the Ballet magazine) antique dealers by the dozen, interior decorators, painters and writers. It was the age of Acquarius and hippies. Burning bra's and beads not to mention drugs. I was being treated for panic attacks (unknown then) so dr. gave me Valium. I was lucky not to get too attached to them but I did not want to try other drugs. Many were still legal then even LSD. At a tea gathering of dancers we were offered tea but we were late for our bus so we ran home, only later did we find out that they had LSD in the tea and were taking notes on reactions to the drugs. That was a close call. We had to be home before the girls came home from school. The new life introduced me to a great many gay people. They had not crossed my path with the first marriage. I soon found out that no one was trying to change my mind about my sexual preference neither did anyone ever touch me inappropriately (I can't say that about straight men). Every one knew their place. I became friends, very good friends with many. Unfortunately some left us in the early stages of Aids in the city. Please do not tell me that this was God's plan. I cringe when I hear that. Is God not supposed to be a loving God? This long blog comes down to May 5th. I do not care if it thunders and the sky throws ice balls at us, I will be at the polls and I will vote against this amendment. Everyone , everyone, should have a right to live their life the way they want to. What anyone does behind the bedroom door is none of my business. What rights they should have as a married couple is my business they should have what I had during my life. They should be able to visit at the hospital to make life or death decisions for their loved one. To be able to have insurances for both and make out wills that are valid. Just to name a few. They should be able to be employed and to not have bullies or name calling. I would have missed a lot in life had I not been able to be loved by gay people. See you May 5th and please vote against this amendment. Thank you.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The Toyota sold to the first person who looked at it. Going to a young girl and her first car. That was cause for celebration. That was yesterday. Then Bobby took Sabrina for a ride around the block. Not far about a mile or less. But he was out. He did not freak out. Did not have an attack. Today he asked me what I was cooking, I said eggs for my lunch, he asked "do you need to eat them warm?" "Well, I'd like to" "Shucks (cleaned up version) "Why?" "I want to try and take you around the block" "Who needs warm eggs? Lets go" He drove one street further than yesterday. He did it twice each time taking a different street. He had not been in these streets in 4 years. Had not been able to go in anyone's car, not being able to leave the house. Period. My cold eggs tasted divinely great!!!! When I can stop crying for joy I may even make a cup of coffee. Life is good. Bobby is very good.

Friday, April 13, 2012


This week is full of surprises. The world is smaller and smaller. An email came from Spain. I guess I left a lot of "MOI" in Spain, I loved it there and the laissez faire attitude of the Costa del Sol. I am just so delighted that old friends found my blog and wrote this morning. They owned our favorite restaurant and "hotel", Pepe Rico. I have told numerous stories of what had happened to us at that place. Bob, Bobby and I had gone back there so many moons ago and just enjoyed the quiet ambiance of the place not to mention Pollo Africana, our favorite dish. We celebrated my mothers 60th birthday there and I was pregnant with Bobby. When we were dirt poor and tried to sell watercolors by the church a bus of American ladies came by looked at Bob's watercolors, said how great he was and followed with where is that Balcon d'Europa I need a drink.....the two of us were almost in tears. They said his work was fabulous, it was too cheap, and ran to the first bar. When my courage had finally sunk into my shoes and I wondered how much rice I had left and if I could still get some merluzza at the market along came our life savers :The Ankers. Mrs. A. came from the same region as my Bob, Salinas CA, she had inherited her fathers fortune and she was a shopper and the Perle Mesta in Nerja. She knew how to throw a party. She saw us sitting there and quietly said: We do not want to be alone at lunch, we fight too much, could you join us at Pepe Rico's? She had so much tact. Hungry souls loved that place and we rejoiced at the invite. It was that day that Mr A decided he wanted a bar built. He wanted Bob to paint the front of the bar with trompe l'oeil style items. Her cameo jewelry, dollar bills, (he liked these) an assortment of objects. Bob and I delighted at the work and they gave us a down payment right then and there. One night when Bob had submitted some paintings in Brussels for an international contest, he and I went to Pepe's sat outside had a romantic dinner when I noticed the moon and the clouds almost exactly like he had painted this scene. I think I cried, we said it was an omen, it was going to be a prize. He did get a very good prize but for the other painting submitted. I have tried to copy the pollo but never did get it. Must be different spices. Bob and I returned after his diagnosis, we had been in Torremolinos 3 years in a row and would take a tourbus to Nerja. The guide knew we did not want the caves so he dropped us of in Nerja and we would meet later. Guide said: Now do not get lost!!!I just laughed out loud! Me? getting lost in Nerja??They left and we stood in a new modern park. I turned around and just did not have a clue where I was. I asked someone where the Balcon d'Europa was and slowly found our bearings. Trying to find our apartment was a total shock. It had been the first piso building when we purchased it in 1970, farmland around I could not imagine where they had found all this land to built a shopping center, a little park, more high rises etc....where was all that land? Was it behind the wall at Suju's ? We walked with ease to the beach, not all this cement work in such a small place? I was shocked. Bob remembered some of it but I had written down where the new park was so we could get back on the bus. You can't go just can't set the clock back. We had a friend who had been here in the 1950's and she moaned how quaint a village it had been and how we were changing it. She should see it now. A tour bus to Frigiliani was another shock but they had cleaned up the village and all the houses looked like they had just been whitewashed, while there was a parking place for busses and cars below the village, all very well organized. Every thing was changed. Our friend Louis Miles lives near me and he and his wife have been my main support in the last decades it is there that we met and with him we had many, many visits at Pepe Rico. He and I are 80 now and when we have lunch out he starts on Nerja and his wife goes into a sleep mode, after the word Nerja comes the word Pepe Rico and then the famous chicken. Patient Celia (his wife) tries to keep her eyes open as these two oldies talk about a place we loved so many moons ago. Thank you for writing Kathy!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

great news in the Valley St.

Yesterday a visit from B's doctor. She said the change in him is absolutely great. Not the same man as a month ago she told him. Medicine finally doing the job to stop a lot of the anxiety and panic. She is expecting him to go out more and more and once we get the tags for the car he should be driving more, a block at a time. He is very excited with her prognosis. School is also exciting as they are now delving into psychology and weeding out the other courses. He will need algebra and is terrified but he can get a tutor on line for a week to prepare him. The news is fantastic when I see him visiting the girls next door, I then remember how upset he used to be when a workman had to enter the house. Often he would stay in my bedroom and have panic attacks. Now I see him bouncing over to the next driveway and laugh and chat with people his age. Makes my heart sing. I am feeling better too, the extra Lexapro is beginning to kick in so the sadness is much better today. Great April month, now I have to plant 5 more tomatoes which came in the mail.

Monday, April 9, 2012

so the Mitsubishi

wins, mechanic promised Bob this will be the most reliable, it is also 7 years younger than the Toyota. Bob wants something he can rely on and not have to stop mid highway to have something fixed and have an attack. He is very serious about driving more and more if possible. He bought insurance and we are heading for the DMV tomorrow for tags. The phoenix is coming out of the ashes..... We are excited. It will be slow but it will be a step forward to be sure. Renewal comes with spring.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday 2012

Calm day in our household, I planted and planted, split plants who needed more room for their tender roots and had a great time in the garden. What I do not know and have not learned yet is when to stop. I work and feel great, hours later when I relax the back tells me that I overdid it again. Pain pills are needed to sleep and rest again. This is so damn boring. Bob is doing so well now that he has kindred spirits next door to talk to. Women his age and in relationships so no problem there. He smiles, laughs, comes in the door with a step so light that he could be a ballerina. What a difference some ever so slight companionship does. He has Xmas presents sitting in the living room for people he wants to give gifts too but they do not come here. It has been so lonely for him the past years, so damn lonely. How much can you talk to your mother? Actually we talk about everything, his studies, his views on religion, the whales, the sharks, the planets, trilobites, meteorites, Smurfs, the L A Kings, and the list goes on and on but to laugh and giggle on young people jokes, music , books TV that is another story. I do not watch murder or action films, I am very boring with TV just watch Bravo and fall asleep very quickly or read in bed and fall asleep. Bob is up till 2 or 3 or 4. The change is a healing change, he does not need negativity, he has enough of his own , he does not need mine too, the conversations next door are light and pleasant. We exchange plants, flowers, advice. They call me to identify plants in their garden and so far I have been lucky I did remember them. We all need someone to hug us sometime and someone to listen to us and be listening to others, we all need some human touches.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


OK, everyone who knows me also knows I love antiques but lately something else is stirring in my brain. Guess I want to redo a lot in a new way, something I did not often do. I doubt I changed the couch position in 36 years. Sabrina changes her furniture almost every week. That would drive me nuts. Is it that I am watching Jeff Lewis too much , the man with no more than 3 articles on your coffee table... the man for simple, simple, simple. My house is hardly simple some people say it is museum like, some would say "old folks" style and some like me are tired of dusting and cleaning. Then I have weekly visits to thrift shops and there was this piece so unusual that I felt I had to have. Wondered if it was a bad day to shop and give in to things I decided to wait a few days and if it was still there then maybe I might consider it. The price was not the problem, it was very inexpensive and then there was that discount I purchased it on the second visit. Old Bob would not have liked it, I know that, I doubt it would have made it in this house. If it had been 18th century hand carved and guilded he would have picked it up tout de suite. But since he is not here and I am , I decided to get it and ask permission to no one. Voila:
Voila, my modern art console!!!! I like it!!! Reminds me of Santa Fe N.M.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dallas Texas Tornedos

Two monster tornados aimed for Dallas yesterday, Turned on ABC and that is the first I heard of it. Bob and Brie called to find out if Oscar and his family were OK. Oscar took it all in strive in his usual calm, said Bob. The monster hit around them. They only had a big tree down and in the middle of driveway. They do have a shelter too which I did not know. Oscar due for a trip to China with his school. Bob said that he now has a "man" voice. It surprised him. The mess these tornados create lately are formidable. If you see one coming you better hide and fast. Even an airplane caught above the area TODAY was in such a turbulence that several people including staff were sent to hospital.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What will summer bring?

This summer will be the big one for Zack. He has a truck, an antique made out of steel not the bending plastic junk. He will have his license soon. He has his learning permit and drove us to Old Fort last week without a hitch. He drives the speed limit ( parents in the car and grandma, that helps) He asked his mom for his own dog and she wisely answered : "You will not be home anymore once you have the license, the dog will never see you and guess who will walk it?" Been there , done that like most parents. Zack will also get into his last year of High School come this fall. He is not into dances , right now the truck is first priority and girls second. He even wears camouflage. What can I say ?We live in the boonies. So what else will we have for excitement? Perhaps young Bob will drive again. That would be huge. Even if he can drive two blocks to the 7/11 and go inside. That would be major!!!! Perhaps we will have a few week end trips if one of the kids lets me tag along. Perhaps I will see so much this summer that I need to double up on production. I no longer think way ahead for much of anything. I do most of my planning day by day that way I do not get sad about changed plans. Well, shoot, I thought I had so much lined up for summer and now that I am writing I can't think of anything. Enjoy the yard , old lady, enjoy the yard and Bijou.

Loving spring

I am reborn with spring. How can we just ignore all what is popping up from a pile of dirt. The flowers, leaves, everything just coming out to join the summer party. Here are a few of the plants from Lowes "Instant gratification".
and then there is this wild one all over my yard , do not know what to call it and where it came from, comes back every spring, I call it "the white flower" very unusual title, I know, I am artistic!!!
My friends the Lilly of the Valley , every May 1st in Belgium, there are vendors on the street corners with mini bouquets of Muguets and they are given as "good Luck" , I used to make huge bouquets for my Mom in my friends garden who had a BIG plot under a tree with thousands of them. This year I doubt they will last till May 1, we are aPRIL 2 and most are in full bloom already.
here they are mixed with the wild violets which also multiply every year. So I was going to paint this door red. Opposition from son. He wanted it to stay white. Yesterday while ne napped in late afternoon I decided to get out my red paint. I had some mixed at just the right red I wanted. Then I hid the paint so Bob could not hide it from me. So guess what? I forgot where I hid the paint. I searched for 1 hour. No paint. I gave in to go back to my white, at least it is the first coat and not finished yet and if I find the red I can cover it again.
The Boston fern on the porch is also a quick fix purchased that size and will not last in the winter AND will shed and shed on the porch, do I care????NO!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You had to be there....or maybe not.................

Something hilarious happened yesterday.
It is not a ladylike joke, so ladies do not read further....anybody else go ahead and risk it:
Sabrina was here with a truck to do some yard work and clean up, I was standing by the truck and looking at the new flowers I had just purchased when she dropped a big wooden shelf into the truck with a huge bang. Even with 82 percent hearing loss I heard that one so loud that I literally jumped up, Brie said my eyes looked like saucers. I did not have a clue what just happened...she started to laugh when she saw my face and I started to laugh with her and suddenly the flood doors opened and I stood there not able to stop the "moisture" running down my legs and into my we stood there laughing non stop I said "Brie, I pee'd myself"...more laughter...finally I walked into the house to change completely and Brie kept making swoosh swoosh swoosh sound.
You had to be there, but I do not think I laughed this much in years

what was and what will be?

Ari's car is finally ready and legally in Bob's name, it only took Texas 4 years to get the paper work and numerous trips here and there to DMV's , Texas has worse rules then NC.
Brie came with high power equipment to detail the car and Bob was at it for 2 days.
By now all sorts of spiders had made silk curtains inside the vehicle.
It was not a place where Bob would go into until it was ready to be sold.
Then he had to face it.

The Toyota which was ours went to Bobby some time ago when Bob could no longer drive.
Due to the disease it too has been sitting for years. The tires are bad but otherwise it is in nice condition. 60000 miles on a Toyota is nothing.
So I sat in it today as it was all nice and polished and I talked with old Bob in the driver seat ....I thanked him for all the trips we took, for his safe driving record and for taking me wherever and whenever I wanted to go.
Miss Daisy was spoiled.
Do not know if he heard me or if he came to visit while I sat there in tears.
That was all yesterday , I tell myself, there may be a brighter future...Bobby may very well start to drive again and perhaps take me to the Lowes and the flowers....
That may be my tomorrows on a different scale but it is something to look forward to.