Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Still Miss her

Thirty years ago today.

I remember it so very, very vividly.

Dad and I were walking back from the restaurant where we had dinner.

As usual, there was little talking but on that evening the silence was about Mom. We both knew that the end was coming. We had been sitting vigil for two weeks. We just could not talk about it.

But on the walk back, Dad started to run. I didn't ask, I just kept up with him.

When we got to her floor at Standford Medical, I held onto his arm. And as the head nurse came from around the counter at the nurse's station, his knees buckled. And I held on.

She was gone.

And I had two very, very conflicting feelings. Oh, no and Thank, God.

Mom died of ovarian cancer. A long, painful illness that, back then, no one knew how to fight. She had repeated surgeries, debilitating chemotherapy, and long hospitalizations. All she wanted was to go to Camp Nelson to die and the doctors said, "Let's try this.."

Mom was an old school nurse. If a doctor said something it was gospel. So she never saw Camp Nelson again.

I remember driving back to where we were staying and my dad asking me if I was ok. I said yes. At that time I was.

Over the last thirty years I have been ok and not ok with losing mom then.

Today, I am not so ok.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today is Her Birthday

I was taught, at a very early age, that women could be a part of the workforce.

That may sound idiotic now. Of course, women are part of the workforce!

But in the 1950's June Cleaver lived. Women stayed at home and created a living space for their husbands and children. They wore dresses all day and were always presentable when the MAN came home.

But my mother was a Registered Nurse. An acceptable female occupation.

She did not have a college degree but she went to St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco for three years to learn her skills. The hard way.

They did direct patient care. They learned to take orders from doctors and care for the person in that hospital bed. They did bed pans, and IV's and sponge baths. They personally cared for each and every patient.

She would work continuous shifts with no sleep and little food. She lost weight. She was exhausted.

But she earned her cap.

And for all of my life she was a nurse.

And she taught me that it was ok to work. Really ok.

Father was another matter. To him women should never work. They should be "taken care of" by their husbands. So Mom convinced him that I should go to college to be an asset to a husband as he "climbed the corporate ladder".

Nice one, Mom.

So I got to go to college. But I had also been instilled (by Father) that every female needs a male. So I got married, too.

The conflict in me was tremendous. Be June Cleaver or Florence Nightingale (ok...maybe Mary Richards....)

When I finally figured out that I was the only person that could or should support me, Mom was dying. I was to start law school in 2 months. I had received no support from Father and Mom wasn't in a position to encourage me.

While in the ICU, after her last cancer surgery, I asked her if she was scared. She nodded "yes" and I told her to give her fear to me. I sat next to her bed, holding her hand, and the last thing she said to me, without any fear in her eyes, was, "make me proud".

That was all I needed.

She gave me the best gift a young, single mom could ever ask for.

She told me it was ok to be me.

It was ok to work.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The mystery is solved.

Zelda can fly.

For a Cocker Spaniel that is a very special attribute.

It also helps if you are craving cat food.

But I think I know what her runway is.

It starts with the covered blue tub that holds the extra dry cat food. The lid is quite sturdy and secure. She can't get into it but she can get on it.

And when it is placed close to a table (at this point it is next to the litter box table) she just has to maneuver the cone collar over the lip of the table and up she goes.

Then it is a simple step to the low, flat cat tree. (It looks like a tree, too!) One more step to the chest of drawers and a short, down step to the food.

I caught her when she bumped up against the lamp and I heard it! Standing there with her back feet on the chest of drawers and her cone completely over the cat food bowl!!!

At least at this point she doesn't look like she ate a bowling ball.

But she is mad at me. No snacks.

I think I need to divest the room of some furniture.

By the way, her landing was manually assisted. She did not like that flight!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


We have a dog area.

 It is real spiffy now.

It has gates and a ramp off the deck.

It also has weeds. LOTS of weeds.

And weeds around here mean foxtails.

BIG ones.

Now, I am not a complete idiot. Foxtails and Cocker Spaniels do not mix. Ears that hang down get grabbed by those pesky little weeds and they put their hooks in deep.

So we weedwhacked.

Several times.

We really didn't think that the dogs (well, one in particular) would eat them as they lay dead and withered on the ground.

BUT we forgot about the birdseed.

BIRDSEED? you say.

Yes, birdseed.

You see, hanging from the edge of the deck is a bird feeder. The finches and wrens and orioles and nuthatches just love it. And so do the doves. They go for what falls on the ground.

And so does that infamous dog. She LOVES birdseed. And if it is sitting on or under or about a foxtail........

Well, she eats that, too.

This resulted in foxtail mouth.

This resulted in trip to veterinarian.

This resulted in emergency surgery.

This resulted in an empty bank account.


STOP THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Musical Journey

I sing.

I love to sing.

I sing in the car.

I don't sing in the shower.

I sing walking around.

And I sing every Tuesday night with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of San Luis Obispo.

VAE at the San Luis Obispo Mission

I am privileged to do the latter.

It is a community choir. Not affiliated with any church or school or other institution.

We are just us.

The group has been together (with various members but always with Gary Lamprecht directing and Barbara Hoff accompanying) for over 35 years.

Last night we gave the first of our two Spring performances. At the San Luis Mission.

All week we rehearsed and were, well, not there yet. We missed entrances and cut offs and our ending "s" sounded like a hill of snakes.

But last night, last night was amazing.

There was not a piece that we did where someone in the audience didn't say "Wow" at the end.

We were on.

And we knew it. And we all had fun. Performing. Performing very well.

It is funny but audiences always like the concert. But some nights, some performances are greater than their parts.

Last night was one of those nights.

I sing. And last night, singing gave me a high bigger than any artificial method. (I quit drinking 15 years ago)

I have no words other than to say, "Thank you, Gary, for letting me be a part of this miracle."