title explained

Onward and upward! something that you say in order to encourage someone to forget an unpleasant experience or failure and to think about the future instead and move forward.

My e-mail: jjmiller6213@comcast.net

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Nativity

My mother loved Christmas above all other holidays.  Living on a farm during World War II meant little money for non-essentials.  I was about five.  One pre-Christmas evening, I remember the following…..

Momma and Daddy were sitting in the living room listening to Christmas Carols on the radio. 

The Christmas tree, we had cut from our woods, was standing in the corner, brightly lit.   Momma had all the decorations on it and it was beautiful.  

I was laying on the rug; coloring a picture of Santa in my Christmas coloring book that Grandma had given me. 

I heard Momma say to Daddy, "You know what? We need a nativity scene for under the tree."  

"Well, it's been a hard year," said Daddy. "We just don't have the extra money to buy one."  

"I know," said Mommy quietly.  

Then she clapped her hands and jumped up from her chair.  "I can make one!" she exclaimed. 

Momma ran into the kitchen and I followed closely behind her, caught up in her excitement.  

Momma spread newspapers out on the kitchen table.  

She got her paint set out of the buffet drawer and a bag of pipe stem cleaners.   She dug around in the wastebasket, pulling out an empty cereal box.  

Momma went into her bedroom and opened up the closet door.   She reached up on the top shelf and pulled down a paper sack filled with scraps of material, from the dresses she had made for me.  
Momma laid everything out on the kitchen table and thought for a moment.  

She cut the top and bottom off a cereal box and painted it to look like wooden shingles.   The empty cereal box now looked just like a little barn, with the front open.  

Then Momma took the pipe stem cleaners and bent them into shapes like people.  She then took scraps of the material from the bag and made robes to put on the pipe stem cleaners.   They looked just like shepherds!  

Momma took some beautiful silky blue material and turned one of the pipe stem cleaner people into Jesus' mother, Mary.  
She put golden cloth on three pipe stem cleaner people and they looked just like the Three Wise Men.  

Momma turned to me and said, "Honey, run to your bedroom and get that little plastic baby doll from your doll house."  

When I scampered back with the tiny baby doll, Momma wrapped it in a piece of Kleenex and put it into a cradle she had made from match sticks.  She put on her coat and stepped outside--I watched as she walked to the barn.  She was soon back inside with a little bit of straw, that she put in the cradle, under the baby Jesus.  

Then Momma opened up the buffet drawer and found some gold foil she had saved off a candy bar.   She cut out a star-shape from the top of the empty cereal box and glued the gold foil onto it.  

Momma and I carried all the pipe stem cleaner people and the little barn into the living room.   Daddy looked up from his magazine and watched as Momma put the little barn under the Christmas tree.  
She put all the pipe stem cleaner people in their correct places.   Then she hung the gold star on a branch right over the little barn.   She pulled a white Christmas tree light down behind the star.  It looked like the star was shining!  

Daddy got up from his chair and hugged Momma. "That is the most beautiful nativity I've ever seen," he said, as he kissed Momma on the cheek.  

I got down on the floor and lay on my tummy so I could see everything close up.  

It was the most beautiful nativity I've ever seen.  

A nativity made from love and a desire to praise God's gift to all of us.  

(I can still remember the feeling I had, when mother pulled that little piece of gold foil out of the buffet drawer.  We used that nativity, under our tree, until I was about 10 years old.  I can still see that home made nativity as if it were right here--right now.)

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's Just For Me

Today's high temperature was: 38 degrees
A shiny day!!!

I hauled out the four plastic storage boxes of decorations and got started.  About 1/3 of what I used to put up when I lived in the farm house, but, have given a lot away and this is just enough for me.  I also gave away all my outside lights--thinking two years ago that I would never be able to walk around and put lights on the bushes.  Well--I could now, but it is just as well that I don't, because, usually in January when they need to come down, there is a ton of snow or ice or both on the bushes, and it is hard work!

Father Christmas's on the shelf and Santa's on top of bureau in kitchen

The middle nativity was made in Bethlehem.  The one on the right is from Sweden and on the left from Poland.  The little Holy Family and lamb (in blue) are from Bird-In-Hand, PA.  I watched the Amish lady make them out of clay.

A cross stitched Angel picture, I made when I had better eyesight, hangs above the wooden nativities.

I sold Avon for 25 years.  These are porcelain figures that I used as demos.

The snowmen and birdhouse are over by the west window, with a basket of cinnamon scented pine cones underneath.

Thomas Kincaid ceramic tree.  It has a "road" that leads from the bottom to the top with little houses and stores along the way and an ice skating pond.

...and street lights at night and light coming from the windows of the houses.

A wooden village my sister made for me.  It resembles the area we grew up in.  The barn has our great grandfather's name on it.  The yellow building says, "Burns Twp. Grange".

Over by the front door.

The Mistletoe Bell is just in case some hunky man walks in and stands under it.  LOL.

...and it is all, just for me.  I won't have any company to see it.  Pearl might see it, or Dar, but that's all.  Family always too busy to stop in.  But--I need it!  I need the lights and the decorations from all the past years around me.  

And on Christmas Day, when I sit here all alone, I will be sick of it and start taking it down and get my house clean and put back together for the New Year, but right now...it brings a smile.

Tomorrow, the tree goes up!!

Nice Day

High temperature today was:  25 degrees
With a bit of snow--perfect

I remember Thanksgiving, when I had it at my house.  I had a large home, with a large dining room and a large table, that stretched out to serve 14 people very comfortably.  I invited my Dad and step-mother, and my Mother and Father in-law and the three SIL's.  We had just 14 people.  

My SIL's and MIL had to work so I asked them to bring nothing!!  I started baking and cooking early Wednesday morning--five different kinds of pie.  Got up early Thursday morning, put the turkey in at 5:00, on 325 degrees to cook nice and slow.  Usually a 20# turkey and had to cook it in the basement in my grandma's old big oven because my new stove only had a 30" oven.  

We ate around 1:00--we all were too provincial to eat those middle of the afternoon dinners that so many do nowadays.  We turned the TV off during the Thanksgiving meal--a rule of mine, so we could all converse.I always had my grandma's damask table cloth, her china and crystal and my mother's sterling silverware.  Very elegant.  The kids got such a kick out of being able to drink water from the crystal goblets!

I remember the earlier Thanksgiving dinners when I was a kid--at grandma's--same house I lived in later.  One year she roasted a goose and it was delicious!!

Two years ago, I bought a turkey breast for just Fred and I.

How times change.

Today, I had a lovely day at the family homestead with sister Susan and her hubby Chuck.  Very low key, quiet and so, very, very pleasant.  

We watched the parade from Detroit, where Madeleine's band got invited to march in this year.  She's on the left.  It was so cold, but they look like they are having fun.  Kids!!

About, 3:00, I left and stopped at Pammie's on the way home.  She was enjoying her alone day--had roasted a small turkey and was watching football--her favorite thing to do.

I got home just before 5:00, just as it was getting dark.

I was cold all day.  Susan keeps their house at 68 degrees and Pammie keeps her at 60!  I was real glad to get home to my nice, warm 72 degree warmth!!  Those houses with the high ceilings just don't seem as warm as they ought to be.  

Now--Thanksgiving is over!!!  

Can we start decorating for Christmas?  

Can we please?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Today's high temperature was: 24 degrees
Feels like Temperature:  15 degrees
A Shiny day!!
Some Greek philosopher said, "The only thing constant in life is change."  I can see him sitting there, dressed in his fine white toga, lounging by the side of a pool, overlooking the blue Aegean Sea, eating grapes and chatting with this buddies.  That's all they did all day.  Sat around and came up with profound sayings.  Not much change in their lives actually.

For a person who likes permanence, the fact that life does not have that quality, can make that person's life a bit difficult.  Look up the term BPD (borderline personality disorder) in Psychology Today and one of the symptoms is; hates change--with my picture along side the definition.

My "mood" can be changed by the weather.  When I see a shiny day, like today, I am quite peaceful and content.  Everything seems to be okay.  Let the barometric pressure drop, and I get all wonky.  I am down.  I am depressed.  I don't feel like doing anything.

The time change upsets me for weeks--especially the change in the spring, when we jump ahead an hour.  My Circadian Clock gets off and I feel confused for days and days.

Most of all, it's personal changes that throw me.  Things that happen that I can do nothing about--drive me into deep depressions.    It takes me a long time to get used to the "new" situation.  I do not adapt well to changes in my life.  

I have always been a worry-wort, an anxious person, even as a child.  I have a real hard time living a positive life--because I am positive, anything good will change.  It messes with my mind.  

Here I am, a self proclaimed Christian who is suppose believes that God has a plan and that plan is good.  Who hopes knows to give it all to God and let Him handle it.  Who wakes up every morning and the first words are, "I trust you, Jesus" and hopes they aren't just words spoken in rote, but in true belief.

Death is by far the hardest change for anyone--and not just for the dead person.  They, no doubt, are quite content with the consistency of the after life.  The people left behind--harder for them.  The one permanence in our survivor life--because nothing is going to change that situation.  They aren't away on a business trip, a hunting trip, a weekend spent at a vintage car show and dirt track car race.  They aren't going to pop back into the house at any moment.  You can't go visit them in the hospital.



Of course, this time of year is probably the hardest for a survivor.  Their permanent "goneness" is so evident this time of year.  The "presence of absence" that we talked about earlier.  The proverbial "elephant in the room".  We keep nudging that elephant out of the way--wishing it would just go out into the garage or somewhere we didn't have to see it all the time.  

Sitting there, in the midst of others, laughing and so happy with their lives, and we feel like the fifth wheel, the sore thumb.  The smile on our face, until our cheeks hurt, because we miss Dad or Mother.  Child or husband.  They should be there!   Or at least, their name spoken sometime during the festivities.  

Fred and I were always alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  The year my sister moved back here, we four made a pact!  We would celebrate Christmas Day together, because they were alone too.  How happy we were that Christmas Day 2011.  We even planned what we would do the next Christmas Day.  How wonderful to have them living nearby so we could get together.  A new tradition.  YAY!

  ...and then, six days later...CHANGE!

Dammit--I really hate change!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Today's high temperature was: 32 degrees
Grey, but dry

We trudged forth into the cold, grey world.

We stopped at Staples, to get some greeting card envelopes and some padded envelopes for the book we want to sell and mail.

We stopped at the post office to see what it would cost to mail said book.

We stopped at Michael's to get a picture frame for the picture/collage for our sister and a bag of scented pine cones to put in a basket.

We stopped at the grocery store to get some food.

We got our hair cut--short again.  No color for three months--the grey is all around our face.

We stopped at Subway and, with Melissa's help, got us a Spicy Italian Foot Long, enough for two meals.

We came home in the dark--and we are tired.

BUT--we live to eat another day!!  

OR--we eat to live another day!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Day Is It?

Today's high temperature was:  23

The fourth full day I have not moved from this house.  I am almost sick of my own company.

My back and hip are feeling much better, so tomorrow, I will go out to get my hair cut, and to forage for food.

My cupboards are as bare as my refrigerator.  I have 4 cans of corn--I had one for supper and a protein drink.  My freezer is filled with bags of Christmas spaghetti sauce--perhaps I should open one so I have something to eat.  I have $3.20 left on the Subway Gift Card Melissa gave me, so that will probably be my supper tomorrow night.  Then Thanksgiving on Thursday, so I think I will make it through the rest of November.

This seems like it has been a difficult month, money wise.  I don't know why.    I have $30.00 left for food.  My car is filled up though, so that is good.  I have 40.00 in the checking account--half of that will go for the hair cut.

I get my Social Security check on the 3rd of every month--THANK GOODNESS!!!!!

Maybe I will win something through Publisher's Clearing House contest on the 27th?   LOL.  
I am worried about my friends on the East Coast--nasty weather headed your way and Judy F. in Pennsylvania--you are going to get too much snow.  Jean, over on the west side of the state, lake effect snow may pile up on you too.  I always watch the Weather Channel so I know what kind of weather you all are getting.  It gives me something REAL to worry about.

Please, all of you be careful!!!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nothing Sunday

Today's high temperature was: 24 degrees
Sunny, windy and cold

I woke up Thursday morning with severe in my hip--on the bottom where I sit.  I could barely walk.  i couldn't turn.  I thought the joint was loosening or I had displaced my hip.

I haven't done a thing heavy or strenuous, so I couldn't figure out why it hurt so bad--sharp pain.

I spent most of the day just sitting or laying down.

Friday, it was much worse.  I couldn't get into the orthopeadic surgeon's office.  Friday night, I took a Tylenol 3 to sleep.. I had to lay flat on my back, which is not easy for me to sleep that way.

Yesterday, I took an anti-inflammatory (Naproxan) in the morning, rubbed the area down with the horse liniment Fred swore by and spent all day in my recliner.  Took another Tylenol  3 last night and slept quite well.

This morning, I had bad back pain on the left side--it seemed to be going down into my hip.  I decided it was probably my back causing the pain in my hip, but didn't know for sure.  I took another Naproxan, more liniment and again, stayed in my recliner all day.

The weather has been very cold and miserable and there was no reason for me to go outside anyway.

Tonight, I put my T.E.N.S, device on my left back for 30 minutes and then moved it down to my hip bottom and the top back of my thigh.  

It seems a bit better tonight.  I don't think I have done anything to my hip--I think IT IS my back causing the problem.  I will see how it goes tomorrow and maybe go in for an x-ray just to make sure the hip is in place.
I woke up this morning practically paralyzed with fear that I had kidney or liver cancer.  I must have been having a dream or something, because it felt so real and I was scared.  

My blood pressure and heart rate are still low--have been more months.  I feel good, but they shouldn't be that low.  My primary care doc says everything is okay, but I have research and read and the heart rate should not be below 60 and mine is running in the low 50's.  I still think I need to change my HBP meds--and I am in the process of doing that right now.  I take three different ones!  I have cut out my water pill in the morning, because the other two meds have diuretic in them.

I have an appointment with my cardiologist the first week in January.  

In the olden days, our primary care/family doctor took care of everything.  He delivered our babies, stitched up our cuts, performed surgery, set our bones and cured our heart attacks.

Nowadays, we need an ENT, a pulmonologist, an allergist, a cardiologist, a hematologist, an enterologist, a neurologist, a rheumotalogist, an orthopedist, a podiatrist, a dermatologist and a psychologist, just to name a few!

The primary care doctor has turned into someone who sends up off for tests and writes prescriptions.  They know a lot about a lot of things, but not much about any particular thing.

I just want to feel better!

At least, I am almost done with my Chiropractor's receptionist baby afghan :-)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blizzardy Saturday--a good day to nap.

27 degrees high today

The view out my computer room windows at 11:00 this morning

Friday, November 22, 2013

Up and Out!

Here I come!

Pearl called this morning, wanting to know if I wanted to over on the other side of the park, to see her daughter's new home.  I wasn't dressed and I am not into spontaneity, but I knew I'd better day "yes" or Pearl would get mad.

Her youngest daughter recently purchased a big, three bedroom manufactured home on the south side of the park--the newer part--where most of families with children live.  It is really nice.  It has a large back yard that overlooks the lake behind our park.  Three bedrooms, two baths, a utility room, a living room, dining room, family room, huge kitchen with eating area and attached screened in porch on the back, with a large deck all along the side of the house..  

Of course, you know me--I have been lusting for a larger place and it was good for me to go through this home as I realized pretty quickly that it is way more then I could take care of!  

Pretty funny--to get to the other side of the park, you can go up the service drive off to the side of where I live--however, regular traffic is not supposed to use that--although we can walk and bicycle on it.  I took off up it and Pearl starting yelling, "You can't go this way!  You have to go around by the road!"

"Around by the road is three miles," I said.  "This way is only about 300 feet."

"What if one of the maintenance guys sees us?"

"I know all of them.  I will just wave and it will be all right."

She huffed and puffed for the entire 4 minute drive there and back, but we didn't meet anyone.  When I dropped her off at her house I said, "Now, wasn't that a fun adventure?"


"Sure," is said.  "It raised your heart rate, you were a bit startled and scared.  That's good for ya!"

"You're weird," she said as she hobbled up the drive to her place.

It was fun and it got my day going.
I guess my Forsythia thinks it is early spring and time to bloom?

I was standing at my stove, putting all the ingredients together for another batch of spaghetti sauce.  I glanced up, looked out the window and yelled!

 The moon is rising in the east!!!
Apparently he has a leak around the sky-light?

Even when he stood up, his jeans were still drooping.  What a view!!!


Where were you 50 years ago, when you heard the news?  Everyone remembers--even kids that were young at the time, remember.

I was not a fan of the President--had heard too much about his rich lifestyle and rumors of mob connections with his family.  It had been my first election to vote in and I had not voted for him.  I was more in like with him when he ended the Cuban Missile Crisis.  We were in the height of the Cold War.  The Russian's had the capability to bomb the heck out of us with their long range missile's.  He didn't seem to be doing a very good job talking detente with them and, I thought he was a bit slow in helping the Civil Rights movement.

I had three young children--and had started back to college.  I was sitting in Political Science class, of all things, when a young man came in, walked over and whispered in the Professor's ear.  The prof screamed "NO!", sat down in his chair and laid his head on his desk, sobbing and wailing, "no, no, no,"  We all looked at each other--we thought perhaps one of his children had been killed or something.  

Suddenly the public address system crackled and we heard the announcement.  

"President Kennedy has been shot and killed in Dallas Texas.  We urge everyone to leave campus immediately and go home.  The campus will be closed."

As we hurried out into the halls, toward the exits, there were comments from some of the other Professor's that they thought the assassination was a signal for the Russian's to flick the switch and send their ICBM's toward the United States.  All I could think about was getting out of the city--Flint was a huge manufacturing town at the time.  I thought surely it would be a target--we had heard they would hit the manufacturing cities first.

The normally forty-five minutes drive home, took me about thirty minutes that day.  I stopped at my neighbor's to pick up the kids.  She was shaking, as was I.  Our husband's were still in the GM manufacturing plant in Flint.  Would they be killed?  It was almost as if we kept listening for a loud boom to come from that direction.

There were only three stations on television at that time--I immediately turned on CBS--which came in the clearest from our antennae.  The TV stations weren't on 24 hours back then, so I watched until they went off at night and then first thing in the morning.  I sat watching on Sunday morning, when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby on LIVE coverage.  That was shocking to me!

I have often wondered what our society would be like if Kennedy had remained alive and run for re-election. Surely, he would have won.  Would there have been the anti-war demonstrations?  Would there have been the race riots?

Now--fifty years later, a lot of records have been opened for public view.  We now know of Kennedy's drug abuse and sexual affairs.  Jackie was also on a drug regimen.  Jack had to have pain meds several times a day, and then amphetamine injections to counter act the mind numbing effect of the pain meds, plus testosterone injections everyday to make him feel and appear vital and young.  Jackie frequently got amphetamine injections.  When Robert Kennedy found out about it, he talked to Jack's "Feel Good" doctor about it.  It is now accepted by most doctor's that Jack would not have lived through a second term--the drug use would have killed him, as it caused high cholesterol (450) and high blood pressure, along with damage to his organs and his Addison's Disease.

Bobby actually ran most of the day-to-day business in the White House--I wish he could have become President--I think he might have done a good job.

(Can you imagine if he held the office today--with all the media coverage we see?  He probably would have had to resign.His sexual affairs made Bill Clinton's look like nothing.)

I never held with any of the conspiracy theories.  However, I recently watched a PBS documentary, with doctor's who were in the emergency room that day, and other witnesses.  The first wound to his neck, that hit Connely, was not fatal.  It would have knocked him over to safety, IF he hadn't been wearing his metal back brace that kept him upright.  The second shot--the fatal one that blew his head open, came from a different trajectory and is thought to be from the second car where the Secret Service guys were riding.  The bullet in Kennedy's neck and the one in his head are two different calibers.

This documentary states that; the night before, the Secret Service men were having a party--mot of them were drunk and hungover the next day.  One of the guys was fairly new on the job and appeared to be more sober then the rest.  They put  him in the passenger seat of the car.  He had a rifle at his feet.

When they heard the first shot, he grabbed the rifle and stood up.  The Secret Service driver car then tromped on the gas, which threw him back a bit and caused the rifle to go off.  Apparently, they believe, this is the fatal shot.  A lot of CSI people, doctors and medical examiners agree with this theory.  We will probably never know--as some of those Secret Service men are still alive.

What I find the most tragic actually--Jack and Jackie were never really in love.  They had a part to play, an image to show to the world--the golden couple.  Much like Charles and Diana.  Jack still kept up his sexual affairs and Jackie knew about them.  She spent a lot of time away from the White House, to keep from hearing the rumors that the staff laughed about.

It was only after Patrick died, that they became closer.  They seemed to be falling in love when he was killed. 

Whichever "party" we belonged too, as a nation, we all sat glued to the TV and cried for an entire four days.  We, as a people and a nation, lost our innocence that day so long ago. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Today's high temperature was: 45 degrees
Grey. rainy, much colder tonight
Back story?  Semi-autobiographical?  Fiction based on fact?  Are you kidding me?  Who could have that kind of life?

I honestly wondered at one time, if perhaps I WAS capable of putting a bad curse on people.  Not that I ever wanted to, but it seemed men I had known and cared for deeply and saw a future with AND DUMPED ME were dying at a rapid rate--for no known reason.  They were all healthy and all of a sudden, they weren't.  How could a pastor die from liver cancer?  He never drank in his life.  How could a health nut, who worked out every day plus, ran 10 miles each day, drop over dead of a heart attack?  How does a man in his sixties, who worked hard as a mechanic, suddenly have blood cancer and die within weeks?  And the last man--so vital, and young.  Doing work for everyone in the neighborhood--the one who hurt me the most--die in such a horrific manner? Well--that WAS fiction.  Yes, at one time he suffered with bad burns, but he recovered and a three years later, last year, died of 20 different cancers in his body.

Only one thing they all had in common.  They all had dumped me in a ruthless way and now--they are all dead.  I once told Fred to be careful, and then I told him the stories.  He laughed, said he was "safe" because he would never hurt me.  Then of course, he died, which hurt me the most.
This blog post spoke to me this morning.  I feel like Bella is talking about my life.  I suppose if Fred were still here, I would still be doing what she and her husband are doing.  Left alone, I have become an introvert--heck I am real near being a recluse!  The thing of it is, I know it and don't really mind.  Is it a commonality of getting older?  Wanting to have our alone time?  Liking the quietness?  Finding excuses to just stay at home?  Or perhaps, as I have felt, I have always been a loner and the past years were me trying to be something I wasn't.  Trying to be liked so I had the jokes and the quick wit to say something funny and the parties and the laugh.  Now--I'm not going to even try.  As I told Bethie this morning that I wasn't going to the November Third Thursday of the Month luncheon.  I just didn't feel like putting forth the effort and believe me--today, it would have taken all my gumption to attend.
Well--now I am getting ticked off!  I first found out Jen was mad at me in April.  It didn't really bother me for seven months.  Nothing seemed much different.  In the summer of 2012, after my hip surgery, when I could get around better, I begged her to invite me over for supper, or for us to go out.  She promised to "do" a supper with me at the Black Rock restaurant--I gave her the gift certificate for it.  I asked her to please let me know when the kids were involved in something at church/school/sports, so I could attend.  To let me know a day I could take them to play putt putt golf.  Never happened.

Last Thanksgiving, she called to tell me Eric's mother, brother and friend were coming in and she would let me know what time to come over.  I looked forward to it, as I like Eric's mother and we have a good time talking, playing cards and games with the kids.  By 6:00 Thanksgiving evening, I kind of figured perhaps they weren't having their celebration until Saturday or perhaps Sunday.  Well, the next Monday arrived and no calls--nothing.  I finally called Jen and asked her what had happened and she said, "We got so busy, I forgot."  Nice huh?

So this year, I started the procedure over again, asking when I could see the kids or come over for a play day or whatever.  I stopped over one Sunday in February, unannounced, and she acted very irritated.  Then the whole debacle in going to her church, during Lent.  Her excuse always was, "We didn't have time to call and tell you where we were going to sit."  Then in April, I got her first e-mail.

So now, her last e-mail said that I never had time for the kids. Could I send her a rebuttal e-mail and bring up the things she has done over the past two years?  Of course I could.  What would be her reply?  "It's always all about you, isn't it?"  Could I send her an e-mail or letter explaining that 3,500 people DID NOT see the post and she is incorrect in her assumptions about blogs?  Sure I could.  Would she respond?  Of course not!  Because it would be all "about me" trying to justify my actions.

Now, she says it is my fault that "the family won't see the kids on Christmas Eve."  Except--the "family" sees them all the time.  Karen tutors them, Pammie baby sits them, Susan sees them and Mark saw them just two weeks ago when they all met for their Dad's going to Florida get together.  Except Jen who stayed home because she was "sick"--sure she was.  She's not too keen on her Dad either.

So--I won't see them.  How is that any different then it has been for the last 10 years?  How she promised me if I moved down here, I would baby sit Andrew and she would pay me $500.00 a month (which was figured into my budget) and then changed her mind.  AND OF COURSE I was suppose to understand.

With nothing being any different in our relationship, except she has made it "official" that I am dead to her, why am I upset?  I still have my three children that love me and want to be with me.  I still have grandchildren (including hers) that love me and want to be with me.  It appears to me to be a "cut off your nose to spite your face" kind of thing.

That ticks me off and that feeling, is all I need to put it all back on her decision to act this way, and get me out of this pit!!!

Pearl and I were talking about this just  yesterday.  Her oldest daughter didn't speak to or see her for two years.  Pearl had no idea what brought it on, but she just let her daughter be and a couple of years ago, she started showing up for family gatherings again.

So--I am just going to "let my daughter be".  Her decision, her choice, her consequences.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Strange and Weird--just a pastime thing to write

Death Comes In Threes

            I hung up the phone and leaned back in my chair.
            “He shoulda known better,” I whispered to myself.
            Connie had called with news about Lee.
            “They’ve moved him to a hospice.  They don’t expect him to live out the month,” she wailed.
            “Oh, that’s too bad,” I said, trying to keep a smile from my voice.  “I will pray for him.”

            I hadn’t seen the connection, four years ago, when Harold died. 
Cirrhosis of the liver.    
That’s what they put on his death certificate. 
The man was a minister. He never took a drink in his life. 
            Harold was a persuasive man. 
Sweet talker.  It came with the business he was in.
            He whispered that I was beautiful.     
“Your soul shines from the inside out.”
We had to be very careful and not go out together in public.
            He liked to visit me Saturday nights.
            “Being with you gives me inspiration for my sermon tomorrow,” he always said.
One Sunday morning, as I sat in the choir looking out at the congregation, I noticed a lady smiling at everything Harold said. 
            After nine months of us being together, he was sweet talking her.
            I didn’t think she was all that pretty, but perhaps she had a beautiful soul that shone from the inside out? 
           He didn't come out to my house on Saturday nights anymore.  
           He said he was busy studying for his Doctorate.  They married the next year.   

Eighteen months later when Tim died, something clicked in my mind. 
I wondered if this was a coincidence. 
They said he had a massive heart attack. 
The man was a health freak. 
Four days a week at the gym. 
Running seven miles a day on Saturday and Sunday. 
Cholesterol at one-thirty-five and weight at one- seventy. 
I was told he had just had a physical; complete with imaging of his heart, Doppler sonogram on his carotid arteries and legs and an ultra sound of his aorta.
            “Tim was in perfect health,” his father said at the funeral home visitation.
            He shoulda known better.

Tim loved my sensitive, non-judgmental side. 
“You are the sweetest woman I have ever known.  You light up the room when you enter it.  You are so open minded, kind and sweet to everyone you meet.”
Tim seemed sincere. 
I introduced him to all my friends and they liked him.  I even bought a membership at the gym so we could work out together. 
Six months later, I found out he was having an affair with his personal trainer; Robert.

Two men whom I had a relationship with and loved.  
Two men who betrayed me and dumped me. Dead?
It would be a natural thing if I were eighty, but at fifty-five?
I wondered.
I was the common denominator.
It felt strange. 
It felt good.
            It was exhilarating.
I had power.

Now it was Lee’s turn.
Connie said he had a brain tumor.  The doctor’s had told him they “got it all” and with chemotherapy, he was cured.
I knew better.
Seven months later it was in his bone marrow.  His liver and kidneys were shutting down.  They moved him to hospice.
“Jane,” Connie had sobbed on the phone.  “They say hospice won’t take a person unless they have less than three months to live.  I talked to the nurse.  She said Lee only has a few weeks at best.”

I sat in my chair and thought about Lee.
I met Lee Wrightman three years ago, shortly after Tim dumped me.  We met on the Internet and wrote back and forth for a couple of weeks.  I.M’d each other every night.  He wanted my phone number right away, but I wouldn't give it to him.
“I want to get to know you better,” I wrote.
“Why?  You think I might be a midnight stalker?”
“Might be,” I laughed as I typed my answer..

We hit it off right away. 
He had a great sense of humor, which I thoroughly appreciated.  He also had a way of complimenting me that made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world.
`“You know you are so gorgeous, Doll.”
He liked to call me Doll.
“I feel so proud every time we walk into the club, because you are on my arm".
I lapped it up.  Like a puppy with a warm bowl of milk.
We dated for two years. 
Spent every weekend together…at his insistence. 
My friends told me I was investing too much of myself in him.  They were just jealous because I no longer had time to join them and their frivolous luncheons.
“Don’t invest more of yourself than you can afford to lose,” one of my dear friends had said.
“I’m not about to lose anything.  Lee is committed to our relationship.”
Well, I said that to them…and I believed it.
Then, almost to the day of our two year anniversary, Lee said, “Jane, I feel like my foot is nailed to the floor.” 
I sat there calmly on his couch, but I could feel the red tide coming up from my stomach, into my throat, about to explode in my brain.
“What do you mean?” I asked sweetly.
“I feel like we spend too much time together.  I might want to go out alone on the weekend, but you are here.”
“But you invite me here for the weekend.”
He went on, “Even when I go out during the week…you are with me.”
“I’m not here during the week, Honey,” I laughed.
“Even when you aren’t with me physically…you are still in my mind.” he said.
That didn’t make any sense to me.
“If I happen to talk to another woman, dance with a woman at the club…I feel guilty.”
“Well, you should, ass hole,” I thought to myself.
I didn’t say a word.  Got up and went into his bedroom.  I opened the closet and pulled out the clothes I kept there for the weekends. 
Took off the sapphire ring he had given me for Christmas and put it in his under wear drawer where I knew he’d find it.
I went into the bathroom, got my shampoo and body wash out of his shower.  Took it all, stuffed it into my over night bag and walked out. 
Walked right past him sitting in his chair watching television and just kept on walking.
“Doll, where are you going?” he called.
“Home,” I quietly said.

That was the way it ended. 
I liked feeling that I had taken the upper hand. 
Left him before he could ask me to leave. 
Broke up with him before he had the chance. 

I laughed all the way on my drive home.
Tears rolled down my face and blurred my vision, I laughed so hard.
When I got home there was a message from Lee on the machine.
“I didn’t want to break up forever…I just want to take a couple of weeks break so I don’t feel so smothered. Please call me back.”
Nah…you aren’t having it your way idiot. 
The end.

Then I came down off my high.
For the next ten days I hardly slept or ate. 
I didn’t leave my house. 
I didn’t shower. 
One night at three o’clock in the morning, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. 
I cried until my sinuses were so congested I couldn’t breathe.
My throat was so swollen I couldn’t swallow. 
He kept calling me, but I wouldn't answer the phone. 
“He’s just not worth it,” I yelled to the empty room.

Two months later I found out through the club gossip that Lee and Connie were dating. 
I was livid with rage. 
It didn’t show. 
I have learned over the years how to put on “the face”. 
“Jane is the sweetest woman I have ever known.”  I knew that’s how they all felt about me.  I had heard them say it.
            When I saw Connie…“Connie, that’s wonderful,” I smiled as I gave her a hug.
“You don’t mind?”
            “Mind? No, Honey.  Lee and I just didn’t have enough in common to build a relationship.  You are perfect for him.”
            Now she was paying the price.
That bastard had hurt me and soon…he would pay the price for his actions.
I didn’t need a sleeping pill the night Connie called to say Lee was dying.
I slept like a baby.

I got up the next day and noticed what a beautiful day it was. 
Lee was breathing his last. 
Medicated on morphine out of his mind.
The tumor still growing in his brain.
His body turning yellow from the shut down of  his kidney's and liver.
I was enjoying a beautiful, sunny fall day. 
Connie, well, now poor Connie, she is in so much pain. 
Much like the pain I had suffered. 
I felt wonderful!

            As I sat at my breakfast table, I could feel it build in me.
A physical feeling coursing through my body.
            I even felt a small twinge of pain in the base of my skull from the exhilaration.
            He shoulda known better.

            I walked out to the porch, breathed in the crisp fall air and bent over to pick up the Mannion Falls Press. 
            I quickly scanned the headlines. 
No good news there for sure.
            Everyone was beating up on the President.
            I turned to the second section and an item in the obituary column caught my eye.
“Vern Stark died Thursday of burns
suffered on Saturday.  Mr. Stark
was filling his lawn mower with
gasoline when it exploded, covering
eighty percent of his body in burns.
                        Mr. Stark leaves behind his fiancee
                        Darlene Rose, his son, John and a
host of friends.”

Vern Stark. 
We had a wonderful relationship that lasted for four years. 
He was, and if I wanted to admit it, still the love of my life.
Two kindred souls.  So much alike it was eerie. 
The year before I met him, he had dated Darlene.  She had broken up with him which left him feeling depressed and withdrawn. 
I guess she was the love of his life? 
She had soon married and moved to Wyoming
When Vern and I first met, we talked about it and when I questioned him on how he felt about Darlene, he assured me.
“That’s all water over the dam.  She used me…she knew how to manipulate me and I couldn’t see it.  She wanted me when she wanted something from me and then when I thought our relationship was going somewhere…well…she pushed me away. I never want to see her again.”
Okay.  I was reassured.
Six months before Vern broke up with me, Darlene came back to town.  Newly divorced and looking for an old friend to talk to.
“It’s just a friendly lunch,” he told me.  “There is nothing to it.”
Then the “friendly lunch” turned into friendly dinners and friendly phone calls almost every day.
Then frantic pleas of, “The kitchen cabinet door fell off the hinges.  Vern, could you please come and fix it for me,” and off to Darlene’s he went. 
Just being a friend.
 It took me a long time to get wise.  Maybe I just didn’t want to see?

He was dead!
I wondered if he had suffered. 
Burns over eighty percent of his body?  He must have suffered horribly for those five days.
I put the newspaper down, leaned back in my chair and smiled.
Grinned, actually. 
Grinned so hard my cheeks hurt.
One by one, they were dying!

The phone rang.
“What? I can’t understand you,” I said.
“It’s Connie.  Jane…he’s gone.”
Connie was sobbing uncontrollably.  I could hardly understand her.
“What?  Connie…slow down.  Take a deep breath.  Is it Lee?”
“Yes…Jane…he died early this morning.  They said he would live a month, but his whole body shut down.  He was comatose.  I never got a chance to say goodbye. “
I frowned to keep the laughter out of my voice.
“Oh, Sweetie.  I am so very, very sorry.  I know how much you loved him.  I know that you are…suffering.  I am just so sorry.”
“Jane, I knew you would understand.  You are the kindest woman I know?”
“Have you had time to make any arrangements?” I asked.
“Well, I have talked to the funeral home and they said we could have the funeral on Monday.  Visitation will be tomorrow evening and again on Sunday.”
“Well Dear, you know I will be there for you.  You just call me when you have all the arrangements made and I will be at the funeral home with you for as long as you need me.”
“Thanks, Jane.  I have to go now and talk to his sister.”
“Please tell Annie that I send my sympathy.”
“I will Dear.  Goodbye.”
Good thing she got off the phone.  I could barely contain the giggle that welled up in my throat. 
That wouldn’t have been nice of me.

Now.  Right now--two past loves…both dead within a day of each other.
I thought…“Death comes in threes.  Wonder who will be next. 
Jim, George? Perhaps that bastard David?”
They could run, but eventually….
They all had the same “disease” in common.  Harold, Tim, Vern and now Lee.
I had known and loved them all and they had thrown me away.
They took the gift I offered them.  Unwrapped the shiny golden paper and threw it on the ground; stomped on it, kicked it aside and walked away.
Thrown me away like worthless junk. 
A used, fast food container thrown in the ditch.
I deserved to be treated better than garbage.

I felt the warm physical exhilaration start again.  Blood rushed through my body and into my head.  I could hear my heart pounding in my ears.
I would have no problem sleeping tonight.

                        Mannion Falls Press     
                        Police found the body of Jane Martin
                        in her east side home Saturday morning. 
They were alerted by her best friend
Connie Wilson after she had called
Ms. Martin several times, with no answer.
The coroner ruled death from a brain aneurysm.
                        Ms. Martin was a member of the Mannion Falls
Methodist Church, President of the Mannion
Falls Singles Club, and secretary of the
Willow Grove Ladies Golf League.
She leaves behind her beloved
                        cat Molly and a host of friends.