Wednesday, December 24, 2014

RERUN OF PUBLISHED ARTICLE, MY BEST CHRISTMAS EVER

Monday, December 13, 2010

Repeat: My Best Christmas EVER, has been published several times

Christmas Eve 1944
Gent, Belgium

I am 12, mother is 34. She is recovering from a major surgery and a husband who has left her for another woman just a few months ago.

We are finally liberated , we in the north welcomed the allies in September.
In the Southern part, in the gorgeous mountains, hills and forest another battle is in full swing. It becomes to be known as the Battle of the Bulge.
Our gorgeous Ardennes are being mutilated. Worse hundreds of lives if not thousands on all sides of this horrific war are falling in the fresh wet snow.

Mom and I are not aware of this battle, we hear very little of what is going on outside our newly freed Provinces.
We are alone in our very cold house, windows broken covered with lumber,
water rats moved in what used to be our bedrooms.
The roof is shattered in many places from the bombing and air raids.
The wood/coal stove only produces so much heat as we huddle around it
covered in blankets.

Mother is lonely; she is sad, alone for this Christmas for the first time since
her marriages of 16 years. She is still feeling ill. War had not made her
skinny, she is a full fleshed Flemish woman like you see in Rubens renditions.
She lived on potatoes and onion gravy; we are yet to see some meat coming
in our tables but for the grace of the few Americans who are helping us.

So this brave lady who was together with her little family in grave danger all
through the war is now struggling with a new reality. She had been the radio
communicator with the Brits in her bedroom. She was fluent in the language,
thanks to a good education and was my father’s right hand in the underground fight
of what we called “the white brigade”.
She had welcomed the soldiers who parachuted in the night and gave them
clothing and food for the next stop. She had sent her only child to school when
she was wondering if a new air raid would come today, eliminating the factory
and the village. She never knew what the day would bring.

That first Christmas eve when all around us was changed and yet nothing
had changed at all. We were still seeing planes come and go over our heads and
we still saw the air battles, we did not know for sure how far the Germans were and would
they return? In our hearts however we felt that all was going to be fine.
We had hope for the first time in what seemed eternity.
With this in mind Mother decided we should spent Christmas Eve at her sister’s house in town. That was 9 km away (almost 6 miles).
The excitement got a hold of both of us and with enormous energy and good cheer we left the old stove to warm up the rats and started our journey along the
cold waters of the Canal of Terneuzen.

We had walked this foot path for years, I think we knew where there would be a dip in the dirt and mud under the fresh snow, we knew where a large stone would stick out and how to avoid falling in that narrow strip next to the canal.
Next to it was the bicycle path but that worse in need of filling the larger holes.
Even in the dark night we knew our way.
I can still see the cold fog over the water, piercing cold in our bones.
My shoes too tight. I was always growing too fast and my feet were the
first to show the signs.

We started to sing , she could sing , I could barely keep a tune.
But we sang with our vocal chords in full orchestra mode and in the silence
we go from “the Yankees are coming” to “Belle nuit de Noel” and “Petit Papa Noel “.

Along the canal there was only industry, we lived in a lonely little house about 100 yards from an electrical plant. Most plants at this point where not working, almost all had been bombed. The silence along the water was eerie, as the little bit of snow would fall intermittently. Now and then an army truck would drive by on the road and soldiers would yell “Merry Christmas”, some had other messages too.
First time we both heard F word, mother honestly had never heard that one at the
convent where she had studied. She was very puzzled, what did it all mean?
Very few Belgians had cars at that point, perhaps a few doctors.
Only army was on the road, day in and day out.
We were used to that but these camouflaged tanks were a much loved sight.

By the time we reached the blown up bridge of Meulestede we crossed the canal on a makeshift bridge and started to walk between the streets lined with houses.
Here and there one could see lights and the cozy interior of people celebrating.
Mother stopped and told me to look and listen with my heart at the sights and sounds.
“You know Jeannot , she whispered, this is what is called “freedom”.
You see we are finally allowed on the street at night, we are finally allowed to have lights coming out from the houses, that means this is our first Christmas
in many years of total freedom. “
“Freedom means we can now just walk to Tante while watching the stars and
singing, we can peak in the windows and see people with bright lights shining on their faces. Jeannot, never forget this moment”.

I did n’t, I can still see it, I can still smell it, I can feel it in my heart.


Mother was disappointed that we could not get to a midnight mass on our way
but all the churches were still closed. Perhaps no one had wanted to come out
or perhaps the new army had told them to cool it for awhile, I do not know but we passed several churches and no service.

I started to slow down and she found a way of making me go a little faster.
Where she saw light in the houses she rang the doorbell and started to run away.
I had no choice but to run after her and hide around the next corner.
That way we got to my Tante in a jiffy.



I can see the gate at my Tantes house and lights turning on for the
night visitors. No phone to tell them we were coming but the welcome
was heartwarming.

My cousins came out of bed to hug us and I could crawl in bed next to them
tell them about my adventure of the night. No rats here, no damage to their house, they were blessed. I was in heaven close to giggling bodies and it is Christmas.

I do not remember one present given that Christmas, I doubt that we had any
at all but I am still feeling the joy of that night.
The songs come back to me. Belle Nuit.....Petit enfant Jesus.....
Au clair de la lune mon ami Pierot. ................................

Merry Christmas Mom, Tante, wherever you are.
Goeden nacht, zalige nacht.

Christmas eve 2014

All is quiet in our house and that is the way we like it this year.
Young Bob and I had some emotional days behind us.
I am in some sort of daze.
I know everything will be fine once I can get my head cleared up.
Living in the past is so much baloney.
I have to think about what tomorrows I have left and what I can do with them.

Had bad news from Belgium today my cousin has been diagnosed with liver cancer.
Nothing can be done to help her but medicating for the pain.
I did not want to hear this today but then is there a "good" day to hear such bad news?

Today is after all just a day for me.
I am thinking about you girl.
Love you.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A VERY FINE HUMAN BEING

He went to pre Kinder garten in a small NC town. I will love that teacher forever, she had a preschool built with pint size grocery store, post office, dr o0ffice and stuff like that, she taught those little people the alphabet, and they knew it and recognized words before they graduated. No underwater painting class but everything they did was to be used later in life . I was amazed at the discipline in that mini school. They knew were to put their boots and coats , everything was in perfect order even the terrific healthy lunches she put together for these kids. This was an army of one. One great lady.
So at graduation she tells me that this kid of mine was her best student and then with tears in her eyes she added:"Public school will destroy his intelligence". I was shocked and  hurt and petrified.

The kid went to Public school , I talked to the Principal and said that he knew his alphabet and could write some words and spell them , like cat and bee....the Principal just laughed in my face , said he:"This is Kindergarten Ma'm not college, we don't do that here in that class".
I was stunned. The man actually belittled what my son knew. I was not the fighter then which I am today.
I crawled into my shell and left. My son wanted more so he did upset the class with questions and attention needed for what he did not understand. They made him the "Star" in all the plays. He was Santa twice and then told them he did not do that role ever again.

In the first grade he was not very happy and by Christmas when they made him Santa he really balked and he managed to get a fever within 10 minutes of his school departure. I mean this kid was truly sick just before school time. By noon he was healed. I ran out of patience. I did listen to him and he said he just plain hated school. We had homeschooled the girls when we lived in Spain but I was not ready for that.
A friend opened a private school with 2 fantastic teachers. I have no idea how I got the money together each month, I know I was late quite often. A few students started, a dozen at most, all came from affluent famillies. They could pay on time and I was sometimes not happy with the type of clothing we could afford as the others came straight out of Macy's top shelves. We checked the thrift stores not that many back then as now.

School went well , he did a play in French with his French teacher and he seemed never bored.
The kids had to make up a short poem to read before the parents at a meeting. Waiting with great anticipation I sat waiting to hear what my genius had put together. He started with great aplomb
stood up straight and read:"Title Bills, Bills Bills Bills that is all we have is Bills. Thank you"
You can imagine how red my face was and I think my husband (being an artist) thought this was pretty clever. The room laughed out loud. Some of the rich ladies said that he was right , that is all we have they echoed. Their kids had made flowery poems with things like "Mother is so sweet she fixes me icecream!"

By the 7th grade we could no longer continue the education at this level of tuition fee. The school had grown and still was the best in town but we were up a tree. He also lacked some social skills. He did not make friends with the kids on our street. He did well in 7th and 8th grade. Mixed fairly well and did fit in.
He became a skateboarder and just loved that activity with the other kids being chased from Main street and church parking lots. No place back then to have a pipe somewhere to play in. Later they started this when he was in High School.

High school was a nightmare from day one. He only liked two classes English and psychology. Both teachers raved about him. Math teacher was also a football coach so he had little interest in this skinny guy who did not like football. My husband walked into the school halls as much as the kids, he knew the right route to the Principal office. He managed to make a lot of noise and none of it helped, I think it even hurt son.
One day the Principal was sitting in the hall selling football buttons and my husband saw him and said you should be in your office to check records on how your students are doing and why ......
Principal not amused kept offering my husband buttons for a price. I am surprised that the man did not kick over the card table with the silly buttons.

He graduated, I think they did so because they wanted us out of the way.
He went on to different classes in a tech school unfortunately he got married way to young and had to start supporting a household and then later also a son.

So much for school.
After awhile he was diagnosed with border line genius and a learning disability.
However while in the last 10 years he struggled a very hard battle with agoraphobia he managed to get
top grades at Phoenix and a diploma (highest honors) Associates (I think they call it)

So where is he now? He is my favorite son (I only have one) he lives with me and watches the old lady 24/7. If I cough more than once he comes running to see if I am chocking. If I cry too often he gives me short to the point psychological pointers. When my ankle was broken he pushed me around in the chair and arranged everything so I could do a normal life style. When I fall he cleans my wounds as he did not too long ago.
He walks my dog when I can't. He fixes a great pizza when the cook has given up that day.
There is no way that I could pay for this kind of service and this one is done with great love not because he is paid for it but because he loves me.

He continues to study all the time and often gives me lectures on astronomy. One of his faves.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

hubba hubba

OK, I have been a mess the past few days with work being done for me around the house.
That makes me a bit itchy to help which I am not able to.
So I am forgetting to cook, or do anything else, just watch ......
So I know I have a list for the grocery store, do not remember where I put it.
Walk into the store and everything around me looks like something I do not need.
I leave with grapes. I figure that is really what I need

Come home and THEN it hits me, I am out of dog food and toilet paper......
How can you forget that?
Don't answer me.

I just do not like for people (read "kids") to do work for me which I could do
without as much as breaking a sweat.

The golden age is sometimes not 18 K but a "gold wash".
If you like jewelry you know how long a wash lasts!
Good night!

A NEW DAY

It is a wonder that I had been so upset about the artist cave upstairs and could do little about it myself, a broken back does not allow you many fantasies or realities.
For instance I will never be able to do pole dancing, nor skateboard, I have problems just putting my feet high enough on the sidewalk or I fall and have a shiner for weeks.
The last fall was day before Halloween and I am still nursing a wound on the head.
The dumpster is full and goes out ASAP.
I am not known for pouting or being in a bad mood for long but this cleanup just got me in tears
for every note, every photo and the floods never stopped for long.
My Mom said if I cried a lot I would pee less.
That is not my object of this crying jag, after all I need to keep my solo kidney working all the time.

I used to worry that dozens upon dozens of magazines would just crush the ceiling and end up on top
of my head but this house is so solid, nothing happened to the boxes, not even moths in one of my wool rugs.
The only critters we ever had inside the house was a baby owl who fell in the chimney.
An angry looking possum in the washroom , did not know who was more scared but he/she scampered
quickly out the cat door which we do not use anymore.

The work upstairs was so quiet I did not even hear them move about.
Many moons ago we had an Australian friend living up there for a month or so, when she did tours she did one around the world. She had friends all over the world. I often forgot she was up there.
She told me that her dead husband was visiting every night. I just did not want to stop that romance.
She loved my cooking, I think she said that every where she went. We met her in Spain when she came
there for a month. On old TV personality she was a hoot until she had shingles and the only Spanish Doctor in the village kept giving her pain pills. We often wondered when she was going to overdose.
She said those pills were the best in the world.

So now that I don't worry about weight upstairs what new worry can I make up?
I was born with an extra worry gene.
It's a bitch.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Artist cave

The sign on the door tells us what time slot we are.....it is a sign for the election "Clinton-Gore"96!"
He does not know it yet but this is the year the decline started.
He is an artist.
He knows nothing else but to translate his time here in this Universe  by putting  images he admires on plain papers, canvas, masonite, a wall, a piece of fabric.

He was one of four brothers, the young one. In his early childhood he would pick wild flowers and bring them home to mother. He would draw them after she had put them in a jar.
As he grew older this habit never left him and he continued to search and listen to teacher who could explain the fine lines and tricks of drawing. He was a sponge and took it all in.

When Disney came out with Snow white he ventured alone to the big city of San Francisco on the Greyhound bus. He only wanted to see the film as often as possible. He took note of every artist involved in
the film's making. He filled his very soul with the animation of that film.

The war picked him up right out his last days in high school. The young man left right after his June 8th birthday and
was quickly going on board to a land called Phillipines. He became a man with a uniform, a gun and all the trimmings for war.
They put him in the drafting dept. , he said he heard the shooting but he continued to do his work, he was under Mc Arthur, the General with the Pipe and a temper.

Returning from war he felt very fortunate as there was a GI Bill. This Bill gave him the possibility to go on with his studies and have some funds to work with. He studied under Amyx in Hartnell College and became a watercolorist. After 2 years he continued at Chouinard Institute which was then the very best art school on the West Coast. Edith Head and many of Disney people were teachers there. He had the best of the best. Later Chouinard was purchased by Disney.

He discovered in LA that Disney did not pay much to do the animation so he ventured on to San Francisco near his home town Santa Cruz. He took odd jobs, shipping in Macy's, made mattresses, then airplane tires, enough to keep him in Ice cream, brushes, paint and a small place to live.

Soon he had one man shows and started to make a name for himself. By 1968 the hippies took over the City by the Bay and he just could not handle all the changes. Returned home to mother and sister in Santa Cruz
he started all over again. In 1969 enters a new way of life, a wife and 2 children.
By 1970 he and the gang moved to Nerja, Spain. for almost 5 years. He was in heaven to be able to paint
around the small villages and continue his work on trompe l'oeil. By 1973 he won prestigious medals in Brussels together with medals from the City and a title :"Commandeur".
A new addition came into the family another Kensinger, a boy!

Upon returning to the USA we had the help of a special friend in WNC.Starting all over again, shows indoors and outdoors from Virginia to Florida, cut into his painting time so he hired an agent who did the
shows for him.

By the late 1990's he was diagnosed with Alzheimer. He never accepted that fact and as he grew older and sicker he did not understand it either. He still painted but it became quite hard, soon he would ask his wife how he should mix the background. His last painting about a gorgeous lily from the yard he made almost stick like figures for stems. Then he stopped.

He had made the upstairs of the house, a mansarde type of under the roof a set of rooms, his own, he had been shipping there when we did eBay with the stock from the antique shop we owned.
Now all he did was get boxes, behind stores he would look in dumpsters he would find treasured boxes.
The upstairs became :MINE! Do not enter! He became very suspicious of anybody coming into the house. Even to the point when he did not want his own son around. Followed by the wife who was kicked out of the bed.

Boxes upstairs collected treasures such as empty coke cans, pebbles from the driveway, bibelots objects from a shelf here and there. Things just left an empty mark on the shelf and life became hard for
every one. One can't imagine this very gentle soul , this old fashion gentleman, becoming this
type of grouchy, hurtful, violent person.

He passed on in 2010,
Enter the wife, the widow!
I went upstairs and had a hard time breathing. Boxes everywhere piled and piled into miniature towers.
No room to walk even, I could see the end of the rooms and they all seemed full.
I sat on the steps and cried my eyes out.
How could I, how could I ever see the rooms again.
I started slowly to pack the magazines in view, dozens of magazines from the Christian Science reading room which they put outside for FREE and he managed to always bring some home, under his arm and
go upstairs. I must have thrown out dozens and dozens. The job went slowly and the pain was harder and harder.
An abrupt stop came when I had a kidney removed followed by breaking my back just a week later.
Not recuperating very well from the fall I no longer went upstairs and tried to forget it.
Every spring my kids would say they would go and empty the second floor.
Kids have their own life and I was not demanding anything that I could not do.

So quite suddenly son and daughter jumped in "before winter" and started to empty the boxes and put them out to be cut and folded, grandson filled his truck, on his first ride to the dump he had 420 lbs on
cardboard all folded neatly in packages!!!!!Pebbles returned in the drive way. Photos being kept for later perusal, paintings discovered, treasures found again, notes on everything . He would write MINE on everything he could, that must have been years before his passing as he no longer could read not write on the last years. He must have felt his persona leaving him so he wanted to stake a claim on whatever:MINE was his new mantra.

Now and then the kids let me come upstairs during the clean up , it hurts, it hurts so much.
2 rooms done and one last one to be finished this week end.
Daughter hired a dumpster.
Real Estate people are becoming noisy! Many people want this house it is historic and in all original shape. I hope I can leave it feet first. I love this place been here since 1978or was it 77?



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving day 2014

I am wondering today if the Indians on the reservations today are celebrating.
Did the pilgrims truly get along with the people who's land they came to inhabit?
It is a day to say "thanks for..."
Should we not do that every day? You need a card for that? A reminder?
I lived 20 years in a country who does not know about Thanksgiving day.
I survived that very well because I had a very polite mother and she taught me
that I should be thankful for everything I had and not look over my shoulder
to what others had.
Even when we were left with turn ups from our garden that hard winter
during the war, she reminded me that we were lucky to have a garden.
My mother was not particularly very religious but she knew how to thank people
not to be just polite but because she truly believed that it was what you
needed to do in life.

Do we need a Mother's day and a Father's day, today even grandparents day?
Do we need the card companies to remind us how to behave that one day?
I get grumpy when I think what  we do out of habit in a very commercial world.
So never mind me today. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's a joke..or is it?

I could not help myself but had to post this which was send tome by my friend in the UK

In light of the latest problems facing the European currency, e.g. Ireland and Portugal having had a bailout; Greece facing collapse and needing another bailout, a Belgian bank collapsing and now Italy
teetering on the brink, possibly tipping Austria over the edge, should the UK adopt the Euro?

A cross-section survey of 10,000 people in a typical British City, made up of a representative sample of local citizens consisting of Afghans, Albanians, Pakistanis, Indians, Poles, Iraqis, Somalis, Bosnians, Turks, Moldovans, Latvians, Lithuanians, Bangladeshis, Ethiopians, Russians, Congolese and  Zimbabweans (phew!) were asked if they thought Britain should change its currency and adopt the Euro

99.9% said no, they were happy with the Giro.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Well October did not end well at all on the 30th I took Bijou out for his last outing. I was very tired and just wanted it over with. Still gloomy mood.I did not measure the step up to the side walk very well, kicked it instead and fell flat face first on the concrete.

Immediately blood was flooding from somewhere on my head and in no time it ran down my cheek into my neck. I first checked me legs, hell was going to be paid if I hurt my legs again but I noticed just scraped my knee , I rang my little emergency button. I thought Bob would hear the alarm inside. It does take them a few minutes to respond. I turned around and sa on the sidewalk legs stretched out hoping someone would come by. Street deserted. The long and the short of it Bob got a hold of me and called an ambulance. 

I had 3 kids I know about head wounds, they bleed forever. My mother used to call that a spring cleaning of the blood, wondered if it helped in fall.
Bob started to clean my face and 4 EMS walked in, 3 like football players, giants, one tiny gentle female nurse named Renee like in french.
I started to laugh and told the guys to get out of here, I just had a cut.
I did not look bad when I checked later , I should not have checked the next day, Halloween
day I had the best mask on. The eye looked like a big white egg and closed and everything
around it was purple and swollen.
Bob gave out the candy that night BUT no one came.....side street always gets fergotten.

More or less in some sort of daze I sat the next 3 days in my recliner and was being served by my handsome son. Bored the first hour and wanting to clean he put me back in the chair.
Then I remembered my Kindle.
I was reading a series by Vernon Coleman , about a young doctor in Bilbury , a small country village.
There are 7 books. 
Vernon has a knack of telling people and animal stories.
It is light reading and amusing. Just what I needed.
I wondered how he ever managed to keep all the people apart in his many chapters.
He would tell you that Mrs. Darbinshire had a knitted jacket with holes on the elbow and faded green and under that a nylon blouse.....(nylon? I wondered how Vernon knew nylon).
Her knitted socks were no longer holding up and curled around her legs.....
That sort of thing he wrote for every person.
I Imagined that he had a large board in his studio and had cut out dolls or ads with all sorts of people in full clothing and he had given them a name. Or a filing cabinet with cards:"E for Edith she is the one with......" 
Otherwise I can't see how he could remember his whole cast of characters in 7 books.
They were all characters in different mind sets.
Much was going on in the pub and I wondered how they could all drink that much.
Who carved W S into tables? Yes, that William Shakespeare! Do the cows really like Elvis?
What do you see when you look at an oak tree? It has a whole story of its own.
I was delighted when I read that sheep will know their offspring when they meet again in a herd of 200.....how cute is that?

I am on book 6 and I shall miss it when I am done with 7. But I read that Vernon has written a lot of books so perhaps I will get something else that will calm me.

This was better than Valium, only trouble was that the dr.'s wife kept baking, every other chapter she was making vegetable soup or sconces and rock biscuits (Rock?) so I often sat here salivating.

By the e4nd of book 3  I was asking Bob for a torch and wondered if he had enough petrol in his car. I was getting too British for my own good. Not enough that I translate Flemish jokes in American and they do not get it (my kids) now I will throw in a new wrench.

Today I feel a wee bit better but my face is ugly , the scraped side is still scraped.
Eye still swollen. I am beginning to drink tea. Nothing fancy but with honey! I snarled at the box with Spekulaas from Belgium. Must get to the British stuff. 

I doubt there is such a gorgeous untouched village like Bilbury. A lot have tatched roofs and still outdoor toilets....well I grew up in something like that but it was the 30's and 40's. We had an outdoor house and I hated to go in town and having to use the loo in a store, I was afraid of all that water when I pulled the chain. If I could I would hold it all in till I was home and the familiar outhouse.
We did not have a phone, only had a radio when my father was fixing one for someone else.
Our village had probably tops 200 people in it but was also part of the city of Ghent,
We knew every one, my mother hated gossip but she did not mind listening now and then to know who had blue powder at their door this morning.
Blue powder would show up in the dark of the night, it was someone telling the inhabitants that someone was cheating in that house hold. When one tried to wash it from the cobblestone sidewalk it would turn into a blue like paint, it would not go away that quickly and would run down to the next and the next door till you wondered where it had started .....
Lucky they did not do it to our door , they could have, my father was busy, but he was also a police man so maybe they did not want to do that to him.
We had one "bar" known as a "pub" over the pond. She did not serve food to my recollection.
Every bar to my mother was a house of prostitution. Even if it would have been a bar for kids only. She rarely would walk into one. My grandfather loved the bars and always found a collectio of people listening to his stories. He was a raconteur!(read story teller).
A rag man would come with his pushcart hoping someone had rags for him to buy by the kilo. We wore everything till they became rags. Gypsies came with entourages we feared but they could mend aluminum pots like no other and also sharpen our knives and scissors. Mothers came out for them and hid the kids inside. One would always tell your fortune for money but my mother was afraid to know her future and we did not have money for that.

Drifters would mark something on a tree or the hedge or your house. It was a "sign" language that would tell the next one that this house was friendly and you would get a meal.
My mother did not like them, she was afraid of them, if she had bread she would always share with them and then tell them who her husband was and please run now. They did.
Which just reminds me that we had an ex-cop living across the street for a few years(now jumping to 2014)  and one day
someone had painted a penis on the road, it did not wash away with the rain either. We had no idea what it was till some gossiper told us that this was a sign that a policeman lived there. 

My mother took on one job seriously in the village and that was as a nurse. Her sister was the RN but my mother had the heart of one. She just cleaned people up when sick and often was asked to sit by the dying. She may not have known much about them but they knew where to find Madame D. 

No one even at her work in the office for decades, no one ever called my mother by the first name. Only her intimate friends. She was always Madame. I doubt there was another Madame in the small village except for one who owned several houses. She was also a blue blood which means you have a small V on the "van" or a small "de" before the rest of your name that one richlady was Madame de La....

Stephanie down on the island had her beauty parlor in her kitchen.
Next door was the butcher, he would tell all his clients that his wife could not work with him when she had her period. I bet she was one female you was glad to get cramps.

The butcher had a habit of throwing your meat on the scale with the same gusto as a pizza maker, he had a reason, as he threw it up there it would show 500 grams and he quickly like a Houdini grabbed it before it went down to 300. Mother would have none of it, she'd say leave it on the scale Jean, I do not want to pay for more then what I owe. The answer would be :"Ja, Madame D."

My mother had to have her bra's and corsets made to order, she had a woman who made wonders to harness all this flesh, to top it off my mother lived decades with a hernia on both sides and refused surgery. Her corsets had suede covered circles to push in the hernia and make her more comfortable. I do not think that my mother ever went into a store for these items.

I knew a small village but ours had large flaws it was in the middle of a canal  and nothing but industry beyond my house. You could hang out the wash which was an enormous labor for my mother over a boiled kettle on the coal stove and then the electric factory would open up the garbage and the white sheets had black specks all over them , a Dalmatian would not have been able to compete. So she would start all over again. 
I hated the industry, hated the smoke, I had bad lungs already as I had pleurisy which almost killed me. I could not wait to get out of there.

So most of my life, well the last 40 years have been in North Carolina and guess what is but about 12 miles from here....a large electric factory with 2 large chimneys very busy throwing out something. I have problems looking at them.

I live in a small town, do not know the names of most people around me. We wave as we pass each other and I walk the dogs or just say "Hi"!
I could not care at all if they had blue paint at their door or the IRS man. Everyone lives their own life. Most of the time when I meet someone they are holding a cel phone anyway.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28th

58 years ago today I gave birth to two boys weighing 6 lbs plus ,they were full term twins but stil born.
I never forget that day , over all these years I suddenly notice we are the 28th and the memories come floating by.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

just anothr day ...........

October was not my best month but I think the worst is over, small little stuff which will not kill me but make me a bitch to be around.
Yesterday I did not even want to see Brie but my fridge was empty. Then I see her and she lights me up and wears me out. We walked all of Main street and saw many new shops all with nice new style clothing.
I like the mixes they do again with different fabrics and colors, Bohemian like. My style.
Brie looked great has lost a lot of weight but it was her skin which made me wonder what cream she was on this time, she told me cream had not touched her face in ages.
She stopped the sugar and milk and the gluten thing en vogue now in America.
If that is what did it, I do not know but she looked younger and smooth skin.

I am selling my stock of beads on eBay, I make up a tray of about 30 + worth and sell it for 5.00
that nets me about 3.,50 after eBay and Pay Pal is paid. and so much in the red. I am doing it so I can help some others who are in the midst of making jewelry for the holidays. Somebody needs a help somewhere.
I get rave reviews....and then.......I am starting to get some people with a lot of nerve.
They email me : "Can you look for some more glass beads"- "I need some labarodorite can you put some of them up in your lots ?" The one who hardly has experience on eBay...writes me tonight that I should put her beads in a smaller box.....I had already mailed her beads this afternoon at 4 PM. If I had put them in a smaller box they no doubt would have crushed some and then I would have that complaint....
I am so fed up I am ready to pack it all and give it to charity. Bob always tells me:" No good deed goes unpunished or something like that.."

Looking forward to November? No, not that much.
We are having frost nights now. It is not going to get better,
The turtle did not come out today at all. Good thing because Bob tells me it is getting harder and harder to get worms for the little fellow. He or she, is so smart as soon as we are in the room he stretches his head way out to see if he is going to be fed.

Got to take my Bijou for his night walk and it is so windy that his little ears flop up and down in the wind, so cute then he looks at me and wonders why we cant just run back inside. I agree. Pee and we go back!

     


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

more of the same

horrible allergies....it is that time of the year. Bob had it a couple of weeks ago, what are these yellow blooms in the fields/ I forget the name, they will do in most people but I only started to get them in the last years. My husband could not cut the lawn at any time or within hours his face turned into the guy in The beauty and the beast. Our doctor was going to give him a shot and said :Next time, Bob come in with a paper bag over your head, you are scaring people.

Tired of getting tissues all the time last night, like every 5 minutes, so I took a sheet and decided that should do me for the night.
It's all water, just plain water.
I am whining.....i do not like that but I am so uncomfortable it helps to whine.

Monday, October 6, 2014

changing of the season?

2 nights now with mils frost.
2 nights now with allergies which are a big pain in the ass.
Eyes crying, cough, cough, cough all night long , nose running
pharmacist gave me something which is not yet helping.
I am a miserable old lady/
Will sit up all night trying to sleep.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another judge...........

My 1.00 o'clcok Miss Judy is gone. I miss her but it was my rest time so I decided to check the new judge , I already forgot her name but the case was just baffling to me.

Two mothers, two teen age daughters.

The suit is about bullying the one girl and needing therapy for a year and still did not return to school, so they had to pay a tutor for her schooling.

Backing up a bit: the accused girl , is a cheer leader, and she found in her mind that her "friend" was too fat.So she started to call her names, then a small group started to sing about her fat hips. Then they went on facebook and made remarks about the girl. The last straw was when they pinned a sign on her jacket and
it read something like :"caution when you pass a wide load" something in that vein.
The girl in question left school and did not want to go back.
She became bulimic and is still home doing hr school work.
She is now very thin and the other girl made a point of saying that she looked very good NOW.

The mother of the bully said she did not think that warrented for her to pay any damages.
She said there was a divorce in that family and that is why she had an eating disorder.

Judge told her to pay half of the expenses incurred.

I just sat there with my mouth open thinking that this one instigating brat had started this nasty
rumour about someone who had been her friend.
As Judge said :If you have friends like that who needs enemies.

Bullies ..........

Halloween and this and that .......

Today I had to truly laugh at a question from a would be buyer (?) on eBay

I have listed a Victorian Crucifix and gave a lot of details on the piece but evidently I missed an important part.

The buyer wrote : Pray tell me what is Jesus made off? Wood ? brass? plastic?

I should have answered him that in 1850 they did not make Jesus in plastic, anyway I had to tell him it was just pot metal. But reading his question at first had me baffled.


Bob loves Halloween  most of all Holidays.
So on my free swinging window on the porch he started to decorate :

Next I posted on facebook for back when Thursday :
I
do not remember when the first photo was taken in Belgium.
Second one with the 2 Bob's was in 1990.
Bob was "cool" man but pouting because he had left a girl friend behind.
Yet the trip was not lost, he took lots of black and white photos and
had one of his on display at the museum.

I have been listing my hundreds beads left from my beading career.
At night I dream about beads.
I think maybe I am 1/4 finished. 
This is tedious, remembering what each stone is and taking photos 
then make it sounds like it is a diamond.
Just kidding.
I learned a long time ago that diamonds are NOT your best investments.

 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

I HAVE CABIN FEVER

These words written by my son who suffers from agoraphobia just make me cry.

"I have cabin fever, Mom, and I will scout out my friends tomorrow!"
 that is what he said , that is HUGE

He had worked all week on sorting his collection of mint in box toys and he needs to be out for awhile.
He knows it and he wants it.
HUGE

It's a great Saturday

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Saint Rita

In my Catholic years I think I was the only one to be a devout person in my family, of course, I went to school with nuns for teachers till the 7th grade.
However, when my mother was in a desperate state then we marched to the St.Margriet Straat in Gent
and found a very dark corner in the big church. No lights in there but always, always hundreds of candles glowing. It smelled funny in there , I thought, I did not like it, it was so dark you could not even see what the walls were made from or if they were painted.
Mother clinked her few francs in the round bin and took out a candle from the box, she would light it
and ask me where she should put it.
Then we sat in silence in the few chairs outside this tomblike candle inferno and pretended to pray to St Rita.
She was in all her glory on a small altar with a dozen or so lights around her. They would be shining bright and I imagined that she would come to life and help my mother.
In the corner of that small chapel was a door with amber stained glass windows , it was the door to the shop.
Hundreds of medals, statues, photos, roses, rosaries lined the walls. It was dead silent in there and in a very slow voice , like you were afraid to wake up the dead, you pointed and the lady would take out your favorite medal. Her little pieces of paper were on the counter, exactly cut and measured so not to over do the wrapping needed for a medal of a few cms.
Most of the time we did not buy, we had one little statue of St Rita. That was enough.

St Rita had been a married lady with 2 kids and I can't remember how she lost them all and then joined the convent. Somewhere along the line her prayers helped people and as she was dying outside her window in the snow a rose popped up and bloomed. So the little shop also sells dried roses.

I was not sure about it all when I was little ,my nun never mentioned St Rita it was all about La Vierge and l'enfant Jesus. I think soeur Denise thought that l'enfant never grew up, he just stayed with his mother
the most Sacred of all.

Came around me being a very stubborn teen ager ,I was 17 , I was in love with a 27 year old man.
He had a good career set up and wanted to marry me in the spring after Easter and I would be about 18 then.
Mother disliked him, said I was too young. (She was right). I became her prisoner I could no longer see him.
At my work as a telephone operator I could call him at his office and that went on for a little while.
Both of us deciding we would win out.
Mother dragged me to St Rita and a candle was put in flames to reduce my flame.
I walked out of the church just hating my strict mother who was ruining my life forever.
I cried and cried and she did not say a word.
A few days later I noticed that I was not in a hurry to call him and he did not call me.
Days went by, I stopped crying, I decided that maybe it was not a good idea to get married yet.
His mother was very fond of him, an only child, and did not like the blonde coming into her house to have pannekoeken. It dawned on me that St Rita had something to do with all that. Damn her why did we have to go there and light a candle and talk to her when I was so much in love and happy.

Decades later my mother saw him in the hospital as he was visiting his wife, they passed each other without saying a word. They knew each other still. Then my mother wrote that she was sorry that she broke it up,
she knew he had a very nice house and I would not have gone to America.
St Rita knew better......

So this litany was to come to the point of this evening.
Bob is cleaning his room and found more stuff from Ari. He just dumped things in a corner of his closet not wanting to deal with it just then.
5 years later he finds "stuff" from her and it is a hard time.
He comes into the room and said:"Mom you and I worked so hard to get this together, Ari, learned to love St Rita from you , would you like to keep this:




Where is my Kleenex?



15 1/2 more months

That is what President Obama must be whispering to himself in the quiet of the night.

What can he do about terrorism which is blooming in many lands.

What can he do in his own country to protect us?

What can he still do about the immigration laws?

Can he keep the economy rolling. Nay sayers say we are heading for more problems there.

Can he stop Putin from taking on new territory?

What will his legacy be for the last 15 months?

Does he care anymore is he not tired of fighting Congress?

The general say this the bureaucrats say that and Congress sits on their derrieres to see who can win the next election in their hometown.

None of them have money worries. All have a great pension coming so what is the rush?

Will a judge step down so Potus can put in a liberal minded before the Republicans fill the post.
Heavens did I say Republicans?
Can Hillary win? Who will fight her?

Obama can't be a lame duck now as the world is crumbling around us and when will it hit our shores?
War in the air, not on foot? War is war.

People are dying by the hundreds from this new virus ebola. We are sending 3000 troops but they will not be taking care of the sick. What will they do? Keep order in the lines of people who want into the hospitals and are being refused? A gesture but I wait to see if it will help at all.

I  just have too many questions for my President. I like the man, I voted for him I would do it again. He wanted peace with diplomacy , it does not always work, it was and is a terrific notion but when you deal with barbaric terrorist talking will not do any good.
Good luck, Mr President for the next months.

Merry Old?

Tomorrow there is a vote to be interesting.
History being changed? Maybe?
Scotland wants to be alone.
Not involved in UK and be by themselves.

Basque people in Spain want the same.
Have done this forever.
When we lived there they blew up cars in Madrid to show
what they wanted and that was 42 years ago.

Belgium, the size of Rhode Island wants to split.
Are they kidding?

Texas wants to be a country , go for it!!!!!!
Keep your oil, guns and attitude.
Are they kidding? Probably not.

After I learned everthing about the Belgian Congo in school, the regions, the rivers,
the mountains......now I look at Africa and can't remember anything anymore
no Leopoldville, Stanleyville, etc...History can make it very confusing by changing
every thing all the time.

We shall see in the tomorrow, the queen may loose some sleep tonight ...........

Monday, September 15, 2014

WAR????

Potus said this is war but no boots will see the ground?
I can't keep up with all this.

The word WAR gives me anxiety attacks. Always has.
So is it not again about religions?
My God, your God, his God ,their Gods all with different names and worth fighting about?

People are being beheaded, brutes a work, justifying their brutality.
Afraid to look at the news for the next one, to me it does not matter the nationality, they are human beings
who are in a far away country, we can't reach them, we can't save them?

Can money buy their freedom and should we pay?
How much do we NOT know about this new "war".

Dick Cheney, the old VP, smiled last week and said something like "back to the Bush era"
I'd like to say F U , you started it all.

I am lost in this new battle.

SEPTEMBER MORN

I need a jacket it is cold, thanks to a Canadian cold front cooling us in a hurry.
Walking Bijou I crushed hundreds of acorns and my mind wonders, in this early morning fog I see visions of Cherokee women gatherings the acorns I just crushed and telling me to help gather for winter is coming and this is precious food. The fog lifts and I smile, now the Cherokee ladies work hard in a casino not far from where I stand. We stole their land but the Casino gives them a yearly profit share.
Money always about money.

The black walnut tree is shedding and my yard is covered in yellow leaves.
Soon the maple will turn red and Sabrina will come with power blower and gather it all on the side so
we will not stand out as sloppy neighbors. A shame I like the leaves around all over the place
even when I bring them in the kitchen and make more work for me.

We have unwritten rules in this country, you MUST cut your lawn, you must eliminate the dead leaves
you must remind yourself which is the blue bin and the green one. Don't you dare mix up the garbage, it is now filed accordingly. That is a written rule.

September mourn...Etienne had a birthday, he was not here anymore to celebrate.
Where is my red headed friend from my youth?

 My grandson's birthday is coming...we celebrate...oh! we celebrate ! We celebrate his good health and
his stamina to catch up on a bad year. I hear he went to the Country Fair not once but many times
with his buddies and his shiny green truck.......the fair has closed last night.......it's a September morn
for the crew to pack up their highflying wonders and collect the sheep and rabbits. I hear it was a great one this year!

September morn...the yellow school goes by and the kids yell at Bijou....he barks...what else is there to do? Soon the teacher will be yelling at them. Poor kids, they have over crowded class rooms, good and bad teacher, bullies, and always a concern now if some sick person will come in with a barage of guns.
School is no longer innocent.

September morn, a new day , a very lovely day ...just do not turn on the news channel.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yesterday is gone, thank goodness

Got up with my throat closed , something which happens to me off and on.
I have been in ambulances with this as I turn blue and scare people.
I am a pro at it now.
If I hear the slightest sound, the smallest "peep" in my throat then I know
release is coming.
It takes time.
On my last day at work in Steinmart I had such an attack and turned blue, everyone staring at me.
I had an audience. EMT rushed in and by then I started to hear some release, I was either going to pass out any second or they could help. Usually by the time I am at the hospital I am breathing pretty well.
Drs can't make up their mind.
One says it is a spasm.
Another thinks it is stress related.
My ENT man thinks it has to do with the hernia.

I manage to frighten the people around me, not that I am feeling so good.
This time it took a good 1/2 hour before I could speak and breath a little at a time.
Bobby taken out of sleep staring at me and Bijou in Bob's lap staring too.
I get generally very agitated after it is all over with.
So that took care of my morning.
None of my plans worked out.

In the afternoon I go and give some water to the house painter ,Tony, he is a peach and it is hot.
The front of the house is full of huge trees and shade , nothing grows here but vines, ferns and lily of the valley. I walk on eggs here because I hear Brie's voice. "Mother, watch your step".
Chit chat with Tony, turn around and trip over a vine and fall flat into poison oak bed.
I thought there was humor in that : "I feel this is a soft fall" was my reaction.
Lucky I did not break anything. Hand hurts and knee but that is all.

So we go to the Red Box and get a film for me to relax in the eve.
I pick "Silver Linings", read it was good.
It is Hollywood garbage.
They just glimpse over what can be serious , mention some pills and giggle about the outcome of them.
The father has OCD, we now know that because he re-arranges the clickers a few times.
The son and main man has been in an institution for 8 months because he beat his wife's lover.
he has bipolar disorder, he wants to get better so he runs and runs and gets fit.
He runs into this gorgeous creature and she has issues and by now a very bad reputation, a widow who went wild when her husband died,
The movie 's main object is to bring these two together at the end in between there are a lot of football dialogue which has not much to do with the story.
You put 3 people in a script, all needing therapy, medicine and or more, even another inmate from the hospital and all you want in the end is some football match to be won and a love scene.
All is supposed to be peaches after that.......
They still have mental problems love does not solve them.
It is Hollywood fantasy.

On the other side of the coin.
I believe a British production filmed in Ireland.
CITADEL
My son has agoraphobia, had it for years and he saw the movie the other night.
He said it frightened him...a lot.
He loves horror movies...this was too real.
He told me that the script was perfect, time and time again the reaction of
the person who does have agoraphobia reminded him of how he would feel
in the same situation.
Someone who knows how one feels with this disease wrote the story, my son
felt. It was extremely accurate and made him feel the fear the actor had.
I do not watch horror movies but Bob felt this piece was very well done from beginning to end.

end of my soap box for today
 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Freedom of speech

I just do not buy the garbage some celebrities will tell the press and in turn the press thinks we are interested in that garbage,.

For instance :Gene Simmons on suicide:"“My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear f**k all about ‘the world is a harsh place.’ She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life,” he said. “And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say ‘I’m depressed, I live in Seattle,’ f**k you then kill yourself.”

Later he apologized..................Yes, I know he has  freedom of speech..............
I have the freedom to be disgusted with this kind of response to depression.

Joan Rivers will be missed and adored by millions.
She was very funny but the cut throat personal attacks were not what I liked about her comedy so I
stopped watching.
"She also got into her fair share of trouble. In the summer of 2012, the Anti-Defamation League rapped Rivers for comparing retailer giant Costco to Nazi Germany. What prompted her outburst? The decision by a Costco in suburban Los Angeles not to carry her book “I Hate Everything… Starting with Me.”

She and the ADL were at loggerheads again the following February, when Rivers said of Heidi Klum’s Oscars outfit: “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.”

I do not think this is funny. Not at all.
And it did not end there :
"

Joan Rivers: Palestinians deserve to die, they started this war

The controversial comedian gives her opinion on the conflict in Gaza, showing little sympathy for the civilian casualties.

Later she said it was taken out of context.
I know : Freedom of speech!

Then I read about a wonderful (?) Christian pastor who responded to an old couple, desperate people, they could not tithe and could not make it so they wrote to him, telling him they had asked the Lord for help and none came.....it was a sad letter.
His respond: something like "You could get a job answering phones, look around your house for junk and sell on eBay and more suggestions ....to a couple in their 80's !!!!
How very charitable.

I am just letting go of frustrations today , this is a very mixed up world ......
Freedom of speech.

Have we become so hard?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Joan Rivers passed away at 81


I used to be a fan of Joan, I remember her on an early appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.
She was funny, she had housewives jokes we related with and she could make fun of herself.
Her road was not always paved with huge TV contracts. She had to fight for spots before she became THE Diva.

Over the years she became more daring, well, that is not the right word, she insulted people.
Horrible insults about Liz Taylor about her weight, even about the President, in my feelings she overstepped the boundaries. I no longer watched her shows or interviews.

She was a tremendously smart business lady and had smarts to make for herself a fortune.
QVC put out a red carpet when she came to sell her jewelry.
There is even a second market for it on eBay.
She adored her daughter and grandson.
She lived in a grand style and deserved it.
Her many face lifts were legend.
I can't help but wonder if all the anesthesia over the years was the down fall with this
simple procedure she had done this past week.
When you are 81 and you look 40 you still have an 81 year old body.

I am so sorry for Melissa. She once begged her mother not to do another procedure
that time it was for her neck, she did not care, she then did it anyway.

Joan had written what dress she needs to be buried in and what pump she wanted for
her funeral. Show bizz good bye, is what she wanted.She said she wanted Meryl Streep to cry in 3 different languages.

The last suite in which she parted from us was decorated by a known person, full of ribbons,
flowers and plants. She was waiting for death in style. I bet she was giggling over this scenario.
After all there is only one Joan Rivers.
RIP, girl.

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.