Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas in Hawaii

Well I'm back in Hawaii for the second time this year. It's wedding time! My son and his wonderful fiance will be married this Saturday, December 17th at 3:30. They are so happy, which, of course, makes me very happy. Nicole and Bobby are going to have a baby in June, which will make, um.....a grandmother! I know, I don't look old enough to have grandkids, but in June I will. I can't wait! My daughter arrived from Tokyo today and I can't tell you how nice it is to have both my kids with me. Life is good. Pictures of the joyous event will be here soon.

Merry Christmas to you and may you be as happy as I am right now!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


There are many milestones in your life. A baby's first steps. Your first kiss. Saying I do.

Two weeks from Saturday, I board a plane for Hawaii to take my place in the ceremony as the Mother Of The Groom. My son will experience a milestone in his life on December 17, 2005. He and Nicole will stand before their family and friends and commit themselves to each other. And in approximately 7 months, my son will reach another milestone. He will become a father. I had to stop and ponder those words. My son will become a father. Wow. Anyway...not only will he reach a milestone, so will I when this wonderful miracle makes me a Grandmother. I knew he and Nicole wanted to start a family right away, but I wasn't ready to hear the words, "Mom, are you sitting down?" this soon. I can't find the words to express my happiness at my son's news. Nicole is such a wonderful young lady and the two of them will make wonderful parents. I can only hope I will be half the grandmother mine was. My own mother died when my children were 2 and 4 years old. For the brief time she was here for my children, she couldn't have loved them more. She was a very special lady.

I haven't done a list since the first one. It seems appropriate to have a list for this occasion, so here goes.

Five Things I Will Teach My Grandchild

1. I'll do everything I can to teach my grandchild to show love. You may feel love for someone, but letting that love be known in different ways is so important. You don't have to say I love you all the time. I want to make sure he or she knows how important it is to let the people she loves know one form or another.

2. I will tell that child all about his or her heritage. My father immigrated from Greece when he was 6 years old. My mother's heritage is French and Scotch-Irish. He or she will know the importance of knowing where your roots are.

3. I want to teach him or her to fingerpaint. Yes, fingerpaint. It's the most expressive you can be and requires no talent. The artwork created will be framed and hung on my walls with pride.

4. I want to help teach him or her to appreciate the natural beauty where he or she lives. It's so easy to take for granted the gorgeous beaches, plants and scenery of Kauai, so I want to be able to point out a beautiful flower, a spectacular sunset or a beautiful cloud formation. These things make you smile and we can't smile enough!

5. I want to teach him or her to love Mom and Dad no matter what. I learned with my son that you never give up on a child. He sure gave me a hard time when he was growing up, but I never gave up on him. I knew there was a wonderful person under that tough exterior. I was right. I hope to teach his child that no matter how mad you get, how frustrated you may feel or how you may want to slap the crap out of your daddy, do not ever give up on them!

I'm sure there's more I want to teach my grandchild, but my lists are limited to 5. Otherwise I'd be here all night rambling on about what I want to do for my first grandchild. What special days are ahead!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Adventures of My Knee

About 3 months ago, I was walking into my kitchen, made a slight turn and heard a loud pop in my right knee. Having worked as an administrator for 5 orthopedic surgeons for 13 years, I knew this was not a good thing. About a week later, when my stride would cause a certain part of my knee to move a certain way, I would have pain that would nearly cause me to fall. So, off to the doctor I went.

After an exam and MRI, it was determined that I had torn my medial meniscus and there was a lesion on one of the bones. I'm not one to put off the inevitable and with my son getting married in December, I knew I needed to take care of this now. I had surgery a week later and all seemed to go well until this week. (Well, except when me and the crutches got crosswise and the crutches won, throwing me to the ground on to my good knee...otherwise everything went well.) I noticed that my right leg was swollen. When one leg is swollen and the other one is not, it's a great clue something is wrong. I went to the doctor, he agreed things weren't normal and he ordered a Doppler Flow study. This is kinda like a sonogram and they can see the arteries and veins (in color, no less!) and find out if there is a blockage somewhere. It turns out there was a blood clot behind the right knee. Down to the Emergency Room I was wheeled where I would be admitted to the hospital for a luxurious 3-5 day stay. I was started on an IV drip of Heparin, a blood thinner and assigned to my spot in the hallway. As luck would have it, the hospital was at capacity, so I became a Hall Person in the ER. A large osteopathic hospital closed down a year or so ago here in Fort Worth and it has caused other hospitals to, at times, be at maximum and/or overflow capacity.

My time spent as a Hall Person was quite interesting. I was in the Trauma section of this large emergency room and believe me, I was not bored at all. From the drunkouttahismind victim of a motorcycle accident, to the guy who fell off a roof, to the pleas for anyone to bring a urinal to Section 14, to the screaming child of a grandmother who had indigestion instead of a heart attack, to the saddness of a very elderly lady who had fallen at home and was finally, after 3 days, found by her was amazing. I was there, in my 9 foot section of Hallway D, observing the world as I rarely get to see it. People who are unfortunate enough to need urgent critical help. I've worked in healthcare all my adult life in one capacity or another. I was even one of the many UCLA students that worked "the desk" at the Emergency Room at UCLA Medical Center back in the late 1960s. I was young then and soaked it up like a sponge. It was exciting then. However, laying in my bed from 10:00am until 7:00pm in the hall of the ER this past Thursday, I had a chance to realize just how fortunate I was. Number one, I was fortunate that my problem was one that was going to be easily resolved. And number two, I was in a terrific hospital with a compassionate, caring staff. As I listened to the nurses, doctors and other employees interact with the patients, there was not one moment when they addressed a patient with anything but total respect. When time is critical in caring for and diagnosing someone, you would think pleasantries would go out the window and it would be all business. Not here...doctors and nurses talked to patients as though they were friends, setting them at ease as much as they could, addressing their needs and getting them the care and treatment they need.

I can't tell you how many times I was asked if I needed anything. At about 4:00, they my nurse said they had a real spot for me. I looked to my right at the person on a bed with a neck brace and said, "Doesn't he need it more than me?" She said, "Are you sure?" and I said of course. I was fine where I was. Besides, they were getting ready to do some remodeling and the electricians were working about 8 feet from me and they were pretty darn cute. Their supervisor would come by about every half hour and he was really good looking too. I didn't want to be moved behind some curtain! The veiw was too good!

Finally a room was available for me and I was taken to the floor. Once again, the staff was wonderful. I've recieved excellent care. At 7:30 pm I even had a visit from the Director of Food Services. He noticed my late admission and wanted to know what I would like for breakfast. That's what I call service! The food has been wonderful. How many times have you heard the word wonderful and hospital food in the same sentence?

The hospital I am referring to is Harris Methodist Fort Worth. This is a great hospital. In times when people gripe about healthcare workers, doctor's fees and anything else associated with healthcare, I wanted to tell of my experience so that people would know it's not all bad. I hope that if you need the services of an emergency room or hospital that you are lucky enough to have an excellent facility to go to. And one more thing, remember...nurses are angels. They work so hard for so little. The kindness you show to them is truly appreciated, I am sure.

I hope to go home tomorrow. I miss my cat, Brandy, too much to stay longer than after tomorrow. I'll be on coumadin for 30-90 days and then no more. My experience served to increase my appreciation for what I have at my disposal and will not hesitate to say thank you to my friends in the Administration of Harris Hospital. I hope I won't ever need the services of an ER or hospital again (yeah, right...) but if I do, I'll come back to Harris Hospital and their caring staff. There's a lot of people doing a lot of things right here.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Boxing...What's The Point???

Boxing...I've never really been able to grasp the entertainment factor of 2 people in a square ring (already, the sport shows 'intelligence' calling it a ring) trying to beat the living daylights out of the other one. In every aspect of life, we discourage fighting. People spend time in jail for doing the same damn thing. So, when I read that a boxer named Leavander Johnson is in the hospital, in critical condition, it just made sense that I should take this opportunity to get on my soap box.

What other sport promotes knocking some guy (or woman) repeatidly in the head or whatever body part they can get at, until they drop to their knees and lose? Leavander Johnson was fighting Jesus Chavez and as a result, Leavander has a subdural hematoma. He was taken into surgery, his brain began to swell and the doctors placed him into a medically induced coma. He is listed in grave condition. At 35, he may die because he wanted to be the better boxer. The Winner. Wear some stupid belt.

I just don't get it and never will. Boxing isn't a sport. It's merely a show of who can land the most punches. And gee whiz, I'm sure Jesus Chavez didn't mean to hit him so hard.

Yeah, right.

Friday, September 16, 2005

5ive Things

List #1

OK, everyone makes lists, right? Of course you do! I have lists all over the my purse, on my iPAQ, on my laptop, on my PC, on my laptop at my office...some even have things crossed off. Crossing things off the list. Now THAT'S the best part of having a list. That great feeling of accomplishing something so that you can draw a line through it. Ya gotta love it.

I have a few lists. There's always the list of stuff to do on Saturdays. And the obligatory Christmas list that I start in October as I finish addressing my Christmas cards while I answer the door for all the little Halloween trick or treaters. My favorite list is the one I call my "It Would Be Nice" list. It used to be longer, but I decided to keep it short and sweet, so now it's 5 items. It's a list of the things I definately want to do or accomplish before I check out of this life and into whatever follows. So, here you go. My List. In random order. I hope it motivates you to hit the reply below and let me know what yours is.

1. Take a ride in a hot air balloon

2. Be able to look into the eyes of my grandchild.

3. Visit Greece, my father's homeland.

4. Fall in love again.

5. Scan all my old photographs (I do mean OLD) and create CDs for my kids.

That's it. Nothing earthshattering, but so important to me. There will be other lists. You'll have to check back to find out what they are. Don't you just love teasers???

Sunday, September 11, 2005

September 11, 2005

Four years. It was 4 years ago this morning that I watched in horror as the television in my office replayed, over and over, the airplanes flying into the first tower, then the second, followed by the Pentagon and the countryside. Like every other American, I'll never forget that day...that moment. And I don't want to forget it. I want it stored away in my brain, able to bring it up whenever I hear criticism of our efforts to fight terrorism. I want to retrieve it whenever I need to be reminded how vulnerable we were then and still are. I want to hang on to the memory because the minute I forget the horror, the terror, the fear...that's the moment I will doubt that our troops have a reason to be in Iraq. Without any effort on the part of the American troops and all the foreign troops by their side, the bad guys, the Al-Queda, would move forward without resistence in their efforts to kill whoever their leader says they should. Whoever doesn't subscribe to their beliefs. Few do. We have reason to fear want them stopped. Nothing will convince me that if we do nothing, they will just be good boys and stay in their own yard. Anyone who says it's not our war to fight should do more to educate themselves as to just what Al-Queda's master plan is. Some have said to me "I don't worry because I live in the most powerful country in the world. They won't get to me." My response is so obvious I have to try very hard to not laugh in their face. I may be wrong, but weren't there only 16 or 17 men involved in turning those 4 planes into missiles on 9/11/01? As powerful as America is, we couldn't stop that from happening. Wake up...educate yourself.

Never let the image of those planes crashing into the towers totally leave you.

Who Failed Who?

I don't claim to know it all. I read the paper on the weekends and catch the news at night when I can. Like others, I form my own opinions, but try hard to get facts rather than listen to speculation. I've been reading emails being sent by my friends, all having varying opinions on how, and if, the devastating destruction and loss of life caused by Hurricane Katrina could have been minimized at all. If we move forward a step or 2 and decide that efforts would be better served in learning from this rather than debating who was at fault and just who screwed up, the healing process may get started. Just may. I realize we need to analyze what went wrong, who hesitated too long, who did or didn't listen to requests to evacuate, but there are ways we can serve the victims, evacuees, dislocated people and/or refugees (I immensely dislike that one), so let's let the authorities do that. Let's stop blaming the guy at the top who did what he was supposed to do.

Along with my full time job, I have a part time job at my favorite store, The Container Store, here in Fort Worth. Friday, September 9th, 2 ladies came in and were looking for a small stand to put their TV on. They said that they were from New Orleans and needed something for their temporary housing. I told them how sorry I was for what they must have gone through and one lady commented, "Oh, we got out in time. We left when we first heard the reports of how bad it was going to be." They went on to say they had no idea what they would return to, but were grateful they heeded the warnings. These ladies did not hesitate to leave. Material things can be replaced. Lives can't.

Over the next weeks, months and years, we will continue to see reports on the news about lives lost, animals being shot, diseases related to being in the water and rebuilding efforts. I don't think we've even scratched the surface to see just what the long term effects will be...psychological, emotional, financial, health related, the economy and others we haven't even thought of yet. The rebuilding of the gulf coast will take time. Let's hope that, as I've heard people say, it will be better than ever once that effort is complete.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

What Price Love

The cute little cat shown here is Brandy, my lovable little companion. She's been with me for a little over 2 of her 11 years. My daughter rescued her from the animal shelter when she was a kitten and when her job took her to Africa, she said..."Mom, can you take Brandy?" I'd never had a cat before and was really reluctant to say yes. But I did and have never regretted my decision! She is like a little puppy...she's playful, loves to pretend she's being stalked by aliens, loves to sleep on my desk while I sit here and work and is always happy to see me come in the door at the end of the day.

About 6 months ago, she became ill and after many trips to the vet and blood work that was sent to Texas A&M, she was diagnosed as having pancreatitis. She would stop drinking water and for a cat, that can spell out a very rapid decline and death. The first time it happened, I nearly lost her. With each successive episode, I became more and more aware of the symptoms that would lead up to her full blown illness. She is now on prednisone every other day to keep her pancreas happy. Who knows how long a cat can remain on such a potent medication, but she will continue to recieve it as long as it helps her.

After one particularly expensive vet bill, someone commented that no cat was worth that much money. I commented that I had no idea when I would reach the point when I would ask myself if I should continue with the expense. The expense isn't really the issue though. The real issue is her quality of life. If the vet tells me she is in constant pain or unable to walk across the room, I'll rethink my decision to prolong her life. But for now, she's a happy, healthy little animal that returns all the love I show her. When I look at her and softly tell her I love her, she half closes her eyes and starts purring so loud you can hear it from across the room. That's unconditional love. And for me, that's priceless.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What Will Stop Them?

There are so many expletives one could use to describe the kind of person who would blow up a bus, blow up an underground train and, lest we forget, fly themself and hundreds of other people into a building. As I watched the horror in London this past week, many names went through my mind that I wanted to call these animals. I finally decided that there was no word bad enough to use. Even the worst thing I could call these people was too good for them. Think about it and let me know if you come up with something that fits.

My heart went out to all the people who were killed or injured because of the moronic action of a few creeps. But this event served as a reminder that it's not just Americans that these people hate, it's all of humanity. They hate men. They hate women. They hate children. Americans, British, Australians, Japanese. As long as you don't subscribe to their way of thinking, you are on their hit list. That's why, no matter what political party you side with, what religion you are or how you feel about the value of human life, these people must be stopped. Doing nothing will only serve to give them more freedom to move about and carry out their terror and slaughter of innocent people. My President has taken a strong stand on this. He will NOT back down until they are stopped. He will NOT sit back and do nothing so that my children's children will still be dealing with maniacal murderers in years to come. God Bless Tony Blair for not backing down to this group of murderers.

This is an odd war. It's a shame the 2 political parties in our country are so divided in realizing what should be done. I'm tired of hearing that we shouldn't be in Iraq, that we went there for oil, that it's a war we will never win or any of the other arguments promotes. Our forefathers fought for freedom and to back down to the kind of threat we face today would be the same as saying "OK murderers, come and get us because we're going to just turn the other way. Do what you will to others as long as you don't bother me."

I realize these animals are in our country and have been planning attacks for years. That scares me. But if we let down our guard and pull out of this offense, they will move on with their plans with more assurance, more ease. I want them to fear the American people, fear our President, fear what we may do to them. They don't understand reason, right and wrong or believe we should live. They just love the thought of eliminating us, little by little, and without the opposition we are showing now, they will just keep on spreading and multiplying.

America has always been the country to embrace immigrants. My father, at age 5, immigrated to America from Greece with his mother and uncle. They were fleeing from their homeland that was experiencing war. I'm proud of my heritage and glad my grandmother and great uncle made that dangerous trip with my father. However, in these days of terrorism I can't dispute the notion that we must tighten our borders and do whatever is necessary to regain control of who comes across our borders and, more importantly, who gets turned away. I know that's a tall order, but we must support whatever plan is devised and hope it helps. It's not going to be the cure all but it sure will help.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Just Another 48 Hours

I have just 48 hours left in my vacation on Kauai. Touchdown occurs back in Texas Wednesday morning early. It's going to be quite a flight. I leave here at 2:45pm Wednesday and arrive at DFW at 5:20am Thursday. I'll be a walking zombie!

This trip has been a very special one. Not only did I enjoy seeing my son again, but I also had the wonderful pleasure of meeting his fiance and her family. And what a terrific family she has! They have made me feel so welcome! You always want your kids to fall in love with a wonderful person and be happy. My son has not only fallen love with a delightful lady, but as a bonus, she is part of a very close, loving family. What more could a mom ask for?

One good thing about returning home is that my daughter will be arriving on July 16th to spend about a month and a half with me. She's getting ready to go to Tokyo for 2 years with her job and the visit will be great. I'm planning a trip to see her there sometime early next year...maybe early summer.

So, on this Independence Day 2005, I begin to think about reentering the 'real' world of work, housework, grocery shopping and all the other things I've escaped from for the past 2 weeks. I have missed my cat, Brandy and it will be wonderful to see her again!

So, until I return to Kauai in December for Bobby and Nicole's wedding...Aloha!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Day 4 in Paradise

Let me see...where does one begin to describe Paradise? The picture here is the sunset on the day I arrived taken from the property where my son's future mother and father-in-law live. The company is wonderful, the scenery is wonderful, the food is wonderful...and let me tell you about the shopping!!!

I'm here to visit my son. And since he recently became engaged, I am here to meet my future daughter-in-law and her family. Nicole is wonderful and so are her parents, who have graciously welcomed me and are letting me stay with them. I am so blessed that my son fell in love with such a lovely young lady and doubly blessed that she has such a terrific family! The wedding planning begins tonight with a picnic dinner at the beach with someone who is a pro at planning weddings. I'm afraid that after tonight, we'll all have jobs assigned to us!

Well, that's it for now. Nine more days and I'll have to return to the real world. Rats.

More later...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Insanity in Local Government

I just don't understand why the government, whether it be local, state or national, must insert itself where it shouldn't. It is being reported that Massachusetts is about to pass a law against spanking your child. That means, if your kid is throwing a fit in the grocery store and you've given him or her that stern look 15 times and finally, to get his or her attention, you swat their butt, watch out! Be ready for a tap on the shoulder and a pair of nice shiney bracelets! And a police escort and most likely, your kid being placed in protective custody, or worse, foster care. Absurd, I say. Yes, there are bad parents out there, but there are more parents who feel it is appropriate to discipline their child in the manner they deem necessary. Of course, if someone sees a child whose parent has obviously lost control and is abusing the child, they should intervene. But if there is a law on the books, laying a hand on that child could land you in jail.

I sure hope I've misunderstood this law. Don't get me wrong, I do NOT endorse giving people the freedom to abuse their kids. I just don't think this is something the government needs to be involved in. How about we stop returning kids to their parents when there is a history of abuse? How about having more personnel to check out foster parents better. There are so many better ways of dealing with this other than having a law on the books prohibiting spanking.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Prince and The P

I looks like I forgot to finish a word in the title. I'm not talking about a young boy and a prince who trade places in a story we probably all read as a child. I'm talking about the Prince of music...Michael "Zip It" Jackson. I hope I can get through this without losing it entirely and using language I really shouldn't in a public blog. I'll give it my best shot.

What the hell were these mothers thinking when they testified that Jacko is "a very special person," (Joy Robson, mother of one child who was allowed to sleep with MJ and also recieved some serious dollars from him is to have said) and "I trusted him implicitly. He's a very nice person. You just know when you can trust someone," gushed Marie Lisbeth Barnes, who allowed her son to travel the world with MJ on a tour. (I know...long sentence. Sorry.)

Were these women born yesterday or has the sparkle of the golden goose (pun intended) dimmed whatever common sense they may (or may not) have had? I asked myself if I could have ever done this and the answer is HELL NO...not even for the millions of dollars that now probably pad their bank accounts. In a time when so many children are molested and the jails are filled to capacity with pedofiles and molestors, you can't tell me that these women weren't just "pimping' their sons. There is no way they could have seen this as innocent milk and cookies at bedtime. Wine and cookies, maybe. And a movie or 2.

There are people who should never have kids. (I changed that from "should not be allowed" to head off a flurry of comments.) I have no idea how we detect them, but I do know something. I'm tired of reading how children were locked in a closet for the entire 9 years of their life with a leash. I'm tired of Mom turning the other way when she knows her boyfriend is molesting her daughter or son. I am sick and tired of creeps doing irreparable damage to children by their horrendous actions against them.

There are too many who are released due to the overcrowding of prisons. Or that never do time due to a technicality. (Oh...don't get me started on our judicial system!) There is a website in Texas where you can look up convicted child molesters. It gives their name, picture, address, the crime they commited and the child's age. You merely put in your zip code and it then tells you those who lives in your area. Or on your street. Or in your apartment building. If you live in Texas and want to check out your neighborhood, the address is If you have kids, it is your responsibility to do whatever you can to keep them safe. I don't advocate taking any action whatsoever, but I do think knowing someone is there will help.

(All words in quotes except my own "Zip It" were quoted from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, May 22, 2005)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Newsworthy? I Think Not

At first glance, one might think something deemed newsworthy as something that would make it to a newcast or newspaper and would have worth. Worth kind of conjures up value to me. So, valuable news. Perhaps, but I certainly wouldn't describe the crap that Newsweek published recently that, either directly or indirectly (that's still up for discussion) brought about the deaths of 16 people. How this publication, owned by the Washington Post Company, can feel that this kind of unconfirmed reporting should even be considered for publication is beyond comprehension. In my opinion, it was the most irresponsible, most disgusting and most damaging kind of reporting. I can see the powers that be sitting around the conference table talking. "If we don't print it now, someone else will beat us to the stands." "But, what if it isn't true?" "Do you want to lose the credit for breaking this story or not???" "Find some artwork of a toilet."

So now, just what do we believe that we read now? I have always tended to believe what I wanted to, culling through newspapers, magazines and even television newscasts, deciding what was true and what wasn't. If we aren't independent thinkers, we're doomed to fall for just anything we read or hear. One of my favorite sites is They do a pretty good job of confirming or denying internet gossips that way too many people continue to forward and forward and forward. Just who do we turn to when we want some verification of a newscast or magazine article? How do we know who to believe and throw our support behind anymore? My advice is to be a smart consumer. Pay attention to things around you and seek the truth. Don't be swayed into thinking "If they said it on NBC, it MUST be true!" Farewell Dan Rather. Farewell Newsweek. I only wish I had a subscription to that publication so I could cancel it. Maybe I'll check and see just what else The Washington Post Company owns. If I find out, I'll put the list here. As just one person, I will not support any advertisers who use Newsweek (darn, I may have to look at the magazine to find that out!)and if I find out who else is under the umbrella of that company, I intend to eliminate them from the list of people I do business with. It won't make any difference to them, but it will make me feel better.

By the way, the reporter who broke this story, Mike Isakoff, is the same reporter who broke the story on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Oh joy. Pulitzer journalism, to be sure.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Ups And Downs Of Sports

Wow. Talk about a roller coaster ride! One night my Mavericks beat the Rockets by 40 points, the largest winning margin of a 7th playoff game in NBA history and then they get laughed at by the Sun players as they scored and scored and scored against them. Perhaps that game served to bring them back to earth and realize that not every game is as easy and as much fun as that final game against Houston. Hopefully, tomorrow night the A Team will walk out onto the court and play like the possible champions they are. One can only hope.

Root for my Mavericks and I'll be your friend forever.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Go Mavericks!

OK...tonight's the night. The Dallas Mavericks must win!! I'd give anything to be courtside. Well, almost anything. If they advance to the next round (what am I saying??? WHEN they advance), you can bet I'll be hitting everyone I know with season tickets, just hoping that someone will want to donate one to me. I'm such a nice person...and such a great Mavericks fan. And I promise not to paint my face (or any other bodypart) blue and embarrass anyone!

Come on Mavs...Let's Rocket and Roll!!! Anyone out there with an extra ticket???

It's A Wonderful Life

Life is full of surprises. I think we all love them. Finding a $20 bill in the bottom of your washing machine. Finding a $20 bill in the bottom of the washing machine at a laundromat...even better! Getting a raise (which, by the way, I did today!). Having your birthday remembered by someone you'd forgotten about. Finding out you and your husband are having your first child.

Recently, I received a most wonderful surprise. While I was at work, my son, Bobby, called. He asked me if I was sitting down. (Do you have any idea how many things go through your mind when someone asks you that question??) With the very slightest hesitation, he told me he had asked his girlfriend to be his wife and she had said yes. There was something in his voice that I had never heard before. I'm not sure what it was, but there was definately something different. Perhaps it was the words...words he had never spoken. Mom, I'm getting married.

So now, when I go to visit him June 23rd, I'm not only going to visit my son, but I'm going to meet my soon to be daughter-in-law and her family. I'll celebrate my birthday with them. We'll celebrate the 4th of July. It will be a glorious 2 weeks.

The tentative date they've set for their wedding is December 18th. My daughter will be in Tokyo by then and has said she is going to try to fly to Hawaii for her brother's wedding. I can't think of a better place to be with the 2 people that I love more than anything else than Hawaii. And on the occasion of Bobby and Nicole's wedding. Can you imagine...going to Hawaii twice in 6 months?

Life is truly wonderful.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Thanks, Dad

Like everyone else, I think my Dad is the best dad in the whole wide world. He's always been there for me, even when he was across the country or even in another country. He celebrated 90 years of living this past January and he is just now beginning to show his age. He and my mother were both in the Navy and I was born and grew up in a small town in southern California called Coronado. It was perhaps the most wonderful place to grow up...right on the beach across the bay from San Diego. Coronado, an island in almost every way, was a small town (approx 18,000 back then) and had that wonderful 'small town' feel to it. At its widest point, it was one mile across. We walked or rode bikes everywhere. The ferry boats would transport you across the bay to San Diego and if you stood at the bow of the ferry, you could see the dolphins playfully swimming along with the boat. It was cheap fun at 10 cents for a round trip!

I grew up privileged. Not in a monetary way, but I had opportunities to do things most people probably never have the chance to do. My dad would take us grunion hunting. What's a grunion, you say?? A grunion is a small, silvery fish and at certain times every year, during a full moon, thousands of them ride the waves in onto the beach, flop around in the sand laying their eggs and are then swept out with the next wave. The kicker is that you can only catch them with your hands. NO NETS. And it's usually midnight when they begin their beach assault. We would all stand there, sometimes hundreds of us, looking left and right, watching for the telltale sparkling on the wet sand, signaling us that they (hundreds of the little fellas) were there and then run like crazy trying to reach that group before the next wave came in and whisked them away! Of course, they never ever came ashore where you were standing. Murphy's Law. I couldn't tell you if my mom really ever enjoyed cooking those grunion for us.

My dad was a fireman and every year, on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus would ride on the big red firetruck down the main street, Orange Avenue, ending up at the huge decorated Christmas tree. Since the event was sponsored by the fire department, some of the firemen's kids got to ride with Santa on the truck. When I was 5, my brother and I got to ride on that fire truck. I can remember thinking that I was the most special 5 year old in the world. I remember that feeling, several decades later!

When I was 11, my parents returned from a vacation in Mexico City and announced we were pulling up stakes and moving south. Talk about an adventure! Living in a foreign country is the best thing anyone can do. It gives you a whole different perspective on how good we have things in our own country and a greater respect for other cultures. I will be forever grateful for my father and mother's leap of faith in pulling up roots and embarking on that adventure.

A couple of Father's Days ago, I was in a quandry as to what to get for my dad. He has everything. I had given him pictures of his grandkids and me, cool shirts, Old Spice. As I sat thinking, it occurred to me that maybe I hadn't thanked him for some things he had given me or done for me that back then, I so dearly appreciated. So, I sat down at my computer and began to write my dad a letter, thanking him for everything I could think of that he had done for me in my life. Things like making me and my brother stilts and how much fun it was walking 6 feet tall all over my block. For getting the bubblegum out of my little wool skirt that mysteriously got out of my mouth, into my hands and on to my skirt as I waited my turn at "Show and Tell" when I was in kindergarten. I thanked him for deciding my older brother would not be an only child. I thanked him for working so hard when I was a kid so that we could have everything we needed and half of everything we wanted. I thanked him for pushing me to learn to play golf when I was young. I thanked him for his love and support during my divorce. And most of all, I thanked him for falling in love with my mom.

There are 2 messages to this story. First, do things with your kids (or grandkids) that will give them the opportunity to someday document in a blog. Second, when in doubt as to what to get a parent for their birthday or Mother's or Father's Day, simply thank them. As my father read that 2 page letter, several times he had to wipe away tears. The things I was thanking him for were things he hadn't thought about in years and watching him as he remembered them was better than any gift I could have bought for him. I remember, as a child, asking my mom what she wanted for her birthday or other holiday and her response was always the same... "I just want your love." She was right.

Sometimes love comes in the form of a bunch of words on a piece of paper.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Source of My Inspiration

This morning I contemplated what I would write about here today. Nothing came to mind. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Then the mail came. Sometimes the mail brings bills, offers the sender hopes you just can't refuse and, because we just can't stop them, unwanted junk mail. Today I got a little of each, but as an added surprise, there was a letter. A thick letter. From my son. If you've been reading my posts, you'll know that my son, Bob, lives in Hawaii. And I'm going to visit him in June.

My son had quite a journey getting to where he is today. He and I didn't always see eye to eye. We had obstacles thrown in front of us at every turn, some by him and some (hard to believe) thrown by me. Or at least that's what he probably thought. All the times I said no, the times I yelled, the times I cried...every one of them was for a reason. There were plenty of times I could have turned my back, thrown up my hands and said goodbye. Lord knows, he sure tempted me! But, that's all ancient history. My son has grown into a most wonderful person. He had help along the way from some wonderful people in California, to whom I will always be so very grateful. But more importantly, he helped himself. He decided which road to take when there was a choice. And he made some good choices.

I'll never forget what he said to me when I visited him in Hawaii in 1998. I had just arrived that day and we were talking late into the night. He said to me, "Mom, how can you still love me after everything I did to you?" I looked at him and said, "Because I knew this day was coming."

OK, back to the mail. In the envelope was a wonderful letter from him, pictures of him and his beautiful girlfriend Nicole, who I can't wait to meet, and some great shots of the big island. But there was something else that fell to the floor. When I picked it up and saw what it was, it brought tears to my eyes. It was a business card. With his name on it. Bob now has his real estate license! If you or someone you know needs help with buying or renting property on Kauai, go to Mention my son, Robert Galchutt, so he can help you. Can you imagine selling property on Kauai??? What a dream job! I may have to give serious thought to being a customer of my son's!

So, for a day that started out with little or no inspiration, it's turned into words that were a joy to write. Hearing from my son was inspiration enough for me to sit down and write this. The love and pride I feel for him is because...he is my inspiration.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Day 13 For Terry

I've gone back and forth on this issue. I've now reached the sadness of it all. How can it be that a judge decides if a mother and a father can give nourishment to their daughter? How can it be that a husband who, it has been reported, wished for a speedy death for his wife and is now put in a position of deciding what she 'said' she wanted if she were unable to speak for herself? How do you just let someone go without really knowing what they want? On the other hand, I would never want to be kept alive for 15 years in the state she is in. Is this the same as "pulling the plug?" Definately not. Don't mistake a person's inability to express their will to live or die as the automatic right for some authoratative figure (ie a judge) to declare that she be deprived of food and/or water and allowed to slowly die. We must all learn from this horrible story as it unfolds for us on the news; we should all be rushing to our computers and downloading the appropriate papers to complete, outlining what we want to happen if the time should come when we can't express those wishes to our loved ones. Pay your attorney to draw them up or download them and save the money. Most importantly, talk to those who may have to tell a doctor what you want or don't want. Picture yourself in Terry's position. Even worse, picture yourself as her mother or father, helpless to do anything to help the daughter they love. Terry will die, but her parents will be left to know that as parents, they did everything they could....up to the point when a judge told them to stop.

Debi Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Change, Reunions and Travel

2005…a year of change, travel and reunions.

My adaughter is in the Foreign Service and has been in Angola for the last 2 years. Her next post will be Tokyo and she is so excited about it! She was there for a few months about 3 years ago and is looking forward to being there for the next 2 years.

My son lives on Kauai. I know…I’m jealous too! Recently, he got his real estate license and has embarked on a career in real estate sales on Kauai...well, probably all of Hawaii. I'm not sure. He has the gift of gab and I’m sure will have no problem selling those multi-million dollar properties!

As for the travel…that applies to me. In June, I fly off to Hawaii to spend 2 weeks with my son. The last time I was there was 1998 and way too much time has passed since I last cruised the streets of Kauai, finding red dirt , sugar cane and pineapple fields. I can’t wait. For Christmas, my daughter gave me 2 books. One was an introduction to Japanese and the other was a tour book of Tokyo…with a darling certificate that entitled the bearer (me!) to a flight to Tokyo in the Spring of 2006! What terrific kids I have…

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Birth Of My Blog

OK. So here I am, entering the first bit of information on my very own Blog. First of all, about the name...."Red Licorice and Jujubees." As a child, those were my very favorite candies. Now, some mumblemumble years later, I still can't resist buying either when I see them, mainly because of the warm fuzzy feeling I get enjoying the taste and memories they bring back.

I don't really have anything profound to say tonight. Well, I do, but I'll hold off for a little while. Maybe one night, with a glass of wine and a very direct attitude I'll ramble on. But for now, I'll just dip my big toe into the world of blogging and try to remember that people actually might read what I put here. Now, that's really frightening!