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Posts Tagged ‘family’

So this one is sort of about letters. And it doesn’t involve me. It’s about my ex-husband and his sister. They tell a story, and I believe it because I know them both, about one year when his older sister was at UCLA and he was at MIT. They wrote letters all year long. He didn’t have money to fly home for any holidays so he stayed in Boston from August until May. Long distance phone calls in those days (the late 60’s) were very expensive so the only way to stay in touch was through letters. Mr. Google has led me to several sites that say first class letter postage in 1969 was six cents. It doesn’t seem like much, does it?

One year, they used the same stamp all year long, back and forth the stamp traveled. They figured out that you could use a pencil eraser to erase the postmark stamping from the stamp and they were very careful about taking the stamp off. I am not sure which glue they sued but I vaguely remember that it was rubber cement. So the stamp would travel from Los Angeles to Boston and back again, over and over. I don’t know how often they wrote but I am thinking it was about once a month so that stamp must have made the round trip at least ten times! And I don’t think they did it to save money. I think they did it more just to prove that it could be done.

That’s my letter-ish post for today!

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Sunday

It’s almost over but today was Sunday. It was a good day. It didn’t rain. We’ve had endless days of rain. I can’t remember when the last day was that it didn’t rain. Today was dry and a lot warmer than it has been. I think we might have reached sixty degrees. It was so nice out, with the sun shining for a part of the day that the boys got in their swim suits and played with the hose, soaking themselves and everything around them, almost as if it had rained! How ironic.

They even convinced me to take them to the park for a short time (it didn’t take a lot of convincing). The problem was that they take so long to get ready and find their dry shoes that by the time they were ready, they had wasted almost an hour and darkness was right around the corner. We went anyway. By the time we got there (only about a five minute drive) the sun had begun to set so it was starting to get a bit chilly and they had not taken jackets so they played anyway, but not for too long before they got both cold and thirsty! Off we went to run a couple of my errands which I had postponed so they would have a little bit of park time. They were very good helpers. We were picking up and dropping off items for Buy Nothing and they were able to help me by walking up to the houses and grabbing my items. It saved me from having to struggle to get out of the car and hobble along with my cane. The drop off we did together because the house is on a street where traffic goes by way faster than the speed limit so I went with them.

They earned a treat and even though it was cold by then, they chose to get a slushy drink to share! Pretty cute, huh?

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My nephew almost died last week. He’s still in the hospital but he’s much better and should be going home in another three or so days. He presented with what appeared to be an ear infection but turned out to be viral meningitis. Had they not drained the fluid around his brain when they did, he would have died within just a few hours, according to the doctors. Pretty scary.

I spoke to my sister-in-law earlier today and she was frustrated because they wouldn’t let her visit him because of the fear of the flu and her age. She’s in her seventies and not in the best of health so if she were to contract the flu, it could be fatal. We’re having such a bad strain of it this year that it’s not a good idea to tempt the fates. She said she felt like having him walk to one of the windows where she could see him from outside, just so she would have the satisfaction of seeing him for herself. That’s what mamas need.

It reminded me of when that same sister-in-law was in the hospital with the birth of my second niece (from that brother’s side). My first niece was staying with us. I was in high school. My sister-in-law wanted to see her but the hospital didn’t allow children, not even siblings, in to visit. So we did the next best thing. My brother and I drove my niece to the hospital. He went up to my sister-in-law’s room and wheeled her to the window where she could see the car we were in. Then I pulled her out and held her up so her mommy could see her and pointed out her mommy to her. There were tears on both ends but they got to see one another and luckily it was only a couple of days before they were all together in the same room, at home.

Those are the little things that we forget about until years later when they come flying back into our memories. Little things. Little things that mean so much at the time. Little memories, but so important.

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Lots

That’s what I have to share. In fact, too much for what must be a quick to write post but if I wait until I have time to write a longer post, that will probably never come.

I’m so busy these days that I am getting all lost in the busyness and not enjoying the holiday season. I want just a couple of days to myself to wrap gifts and make lists and maybe make some tamales to share with the family. Just a couple of days. It seems I can’t catch my breath these days and when I have time I am just so exhausted that I don’t have the energy to focus on relaxing and enjoying and doing for me.

I hope that changes. I am trying to change it. I am starting the new year with a planner/journal. I haven’t done that in a long, long time. This one is called bullet journaling and it is new to me. I got my Happy Planner (mini) and a few (very few) accessories but I won’t start until the new year. In the meantime I want to figure out what sections I will put in it. Well, I think with bullet journaling they call them “collections” not sections or topics. I know I want to have a collection for tarot, gratitude, kids’ stuff, blogging ideas, and a section for my diabetes related stuff. I need to sit and plan it out and get some more refills, although I am thinking it may be more cost effective to get myself the paper punch and put together my own refills. We’ll see.

Diabetes. Several things. First, I got my A1c results back on Thursday and I am at a 7.1 which is super! 7.0 is target range for diabetics so I am excited to have made it to that number. And my insulin is working better now that I have learned to concentrate on the carbs I consume in relation to the insulin I inject. AND a big bonus: I finally got my one on one with the dietitian this past week and she asked me if I would be willing to try something different. It seems she has read a lot of articles that show that taking 1000 to 1200 grams of alpha lupeic acid can lower blood glucose, help with weight loss, AND help the pain from nerve damage. I said I would try it. The pain from the nerve damage is getting worse and if there is a chance that this will help, I will take it. The neat thing is that I only started taking it on Friday night and already it is having an affect on my glucose levels which means less insulin that I need to take which also means less weight gain (yes, insulin makes you gain weight). I had been gaining ten pounds  a month and that has to stop! I think this really might work! Yay!

There’s cute kiddo stuff to tell you about but I have to run again. I think we’re going to a Christmas program in just a bit and I’m not ready!

I hope you are all having a great holiday season and stopping, or at least pausing long enough, to enjoy it!

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Lamar

This is not the post I was going to write today but I feel compelled to write it anyway.

Lamar was my brother-in-law. I first met him around 1980, which was about two years after I married. Lamar and Sylvia (she’s my sister-in-law) began dating long distance. She lived in Los Angeles and he lived in Berkeley. They were both in graduate programs, she at UCLA and he at UC Berkeley. Eventually, he finished his program and moved to Los Angeles where he became not only a part of Sylvia’s life but a part of all of our lives, including mine and eventually, my kids.

Lamar was from Maryland, if I remember correctly. He was raised with southern ideals and manners and thinking. Lamar, before any of us knew him, was in the Peace Corps and often spoke of the things he learned and the things he did in Africa as part of his stint with the Peace Corps. After that, he went back to school and studied architecture, finally becoming an architect which was a major feat as the road to becoming an architect is a long one, but he stuck with it and did it.

He had a lot of nicknames in the family, mostly because my ex-husband’s family is into giving people silly, and often mean nicknames. For example, when his arm was in a sling because of a shoulder injury, he became Lame Arm instead of Lamar. Ha ha. But the one that stuck the most was Space Case because he would often “zone out” during conversations. We would all be discussing something and one of us would turn to ask him a question or get input from him and he was “gone” to the point where we would have to call his name several times, usually ending with “Earth to Lamar. Come in Lamar.”

He was inventive, curious, handy, a problem solver, laid back, and supportive. As spouses of a brother and sister in that family, we often were the outsiders so Lamar and I stuck together. And, more than once, we also discreetly exchanged eye rolls when “they” were being “too Martinez.” He was my pal when we were all together. Later in life, we were both diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes) and so we had that in common and shared some tips and experiences that non-diabetics would not be able to understand.

Many years later came my divorce and their move across the county so we saw each other less often. I visited with them in D.C. twice and they were at my daughter’s college graduation in Baltimore so our contact was limited but when we saw each other we slipped into the same “us” and “them” routine.

Then came word that he had cancer and was starting chemo. That was in late July. Then three weeks ago came word that the chemo was not working and that the doctors had told them there was nothing else they could do. There were no other treatments for his type of cancer. A few days ago came word that his death was imminent, he had just a few days left. This morning, word came that he had passed. The only positive thing to hold on to is that he was medicated and was never in any pain. He was comfortable. He could understand everything but could not speak. And his death was peaceful.

I’m shaking. That part of the family is too far for me to get to. I wish I could be there with them to support each other and to share some favorite Lamar moments but it’s not possible. So here I am, sharing Lamar with you; sharing my pain. And it hits a bit harder because he was diagnosed the same week that my doctor told me I had cancer and had only three to five months. Of course, he was wrong as it turned out and I do not have cancer. But Lamar did. And I keep thinking that it could be me. I’m glad it isn’t but I also feel a little bit guilty.

I will miss Lamar greatly.

 

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That’s where it came from.

I was in bed a little while ago. The grandkids are spending the night and the two boys always want to sleep in my bed and I have to be in the bed with them or they get upset. So I am in the bed not sleeping. I’m in pain but I can’t take the pain pills because they make me zonk out and I can’t do that with the kids here. The little one is not quite nine months old and might wake up because she’s in a strange bed although she normally sleeps through the night. The four year old wakes up and wants to go outside. He actually gets the step ladder and unlocks the chain and goes outside. Even if it’s dark and rainy. And I don’t hear him even when I am not on pain pills so I’m sure I would not hear him on pain pills. So no pain pills. And I have to sleep on my right side to avoid some of the pain but I can’t because of the position of the boys.

So I am in bed, awake. And that’s when it happened.

A memory. It was 1990. An almost forgotten memory and one that I have surely put out of my head for self preservation. But it came back. And it made me cry. I had to get up and leave the room because I was afraid the boys would wake up with my crying. It all came back. I was on the freeway, the 101 southbound, in my car with the kids who were 10, 7, and 2. My kids. My husband had left home six weeks prior to that day because he needed a break and wasn’t sure he wanted to be married anymore. I had gone up north to see my sister and so that the kids could visit with their cousins and so that we wouldn’t be home alone thinking and missing him. We were on our way home. Then a car was passing us and out of the corner of my eye I realized it looked like his car. Then I looked and realized it was. He was driving it but he wasn’t alone. And I didn’t know who the woman with him was. When he saw that it was me and that I had seen him, he floored the gas pedal.

That’s how I found out that my “soul mate” was cheating on me.

And that’s what came flooding back a little while ago. And now for sure I won’t sleep. It will be a long night.

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… One to go.

It’s after 10 at night. I’ve been here with the kids since before  two this afternoon. The baby has  fallen asleep in my arms three times but this last time she really fought it then I put her down and she fussed for about five minutes. She’s out now. Spencer has been led than cooperative but he’s down now. Anderson is the model child, at least today,  and is just about to nod off.

Me? Exhausted is too mild a word. Of  course  when their dad comes   home in another couple of hours, it will be after midnight and I haven’t worked on my nanowrimo project. I have to go finish getting the spare room ready for Maya to visit tomorrow and do laundry and load the dishwasher. By then I’ll be on my second wind and won’t be able to sleep.  In the morning I have errands and then watching the three again for most of the day.  Yup. Fat chance I’ll get any writing done. I have a suspicion I’ll have to watch them again on  Sunday. Fun.

Actually, it is fun but not so much when I’m not feeling my best and when I have stuff I want to do. And I would really like to be able to sleep in just once this session. Or read. Or relax with a glass of wine. I don’t drink when I’m the only adult responsible for the kids.

Anyway, with luck Saturday will be a shorter babysitting day. I’ll let you know.

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