Sunday, May 30, 2010


Here is a poem from my youth that has been swirling around in my head lately.

by Edgar A. Guest

I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men's respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Evie - # 3 out of 10

Evie, known to others as Evelyn, has a birthday May 18. Evie is my "youngest" sister, though she is #3 and I am #8. This picture of Evie, when she was about 18 is how I remember her most when I was a child. Evie graduated high school just before I started first grade. Then she went off to college and did some teaching. My first memories are when she was around that age.
Evie was the one who was always laughing and always playing jokes on my brothers. Here are some of my favorite memories:
  • Letting the cats in the house when mom and dad were gone (absolutely forbidden!)
  • Throwing water on my brothers - through the screen by the kitchen sink
  • Drinking lots of water, then lying on the couch, moving her belly so I could hear the water slosh around inside her
  • Malted milk balls in the top dresser drawer - and sharing them with me
  • High heels and lipstick and going on a date
  • Laying awake until she came home to see if she had a ring on her finger
  • Telling me I was going to get a baby brother or sister
  • Telling me I got a baby brother
  • Telling me what happens to girls when they start to grow up
  • Buying me my first razor to shave my legs
  • Reading and responding to lengthy letters filled with teen-aged angst
  • Beautiful handwriting
  • Baking cookies, making "tomatoes and macaroni"
  • Introducing the family to pizza
  • Playing the piano and singing
And then - she moved far away to California and it was a long time before I saw her again.
I'm so glad I've been able to spend more time with her since my job takes me to the Omaha airport every 2-3 months. I cherish those times we have together, just the two of us.
Thanks, Evie, for the positive influence you've been on my life, for introducing me to new and different things, for accepting me and loving me. I love you and I am proud to be your little sister. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Irene - Youngest Girl

My mother's youngest sister turns 84 May 13. Irene is another one of those "out west" relatives I never got to know real well until the last few years. I have only one memory of her in my youth. This is when I went to Washington to see all the relatives in 1960. I remember sitting close to my mother in Irene's home. I was very shy. And I felt very intimidated by my "city" girl cousins. While mom and Irene visited, I watched Kandy come through the door and head "somewhere". Kandy - I had never heard a name like that before. And I briefly saw Karen, who is almost exactly my age. But she seemed so mature and sure of herself. Then there was little Kay Kay. Again, who ever heard of calling a girl Kay Kay? My best friend back home was just Kay. I remember Kay Kay being very cute. If John was born by then, I don't remember him at all. After I went back home I named my dolls Kandy, Karen and Kay Kay. I still have Kay Kay.

What fun it has been getting to know all these people as adults. I'm so glad I saw Melvin a few times before he died. And I've gotten to know Kandy, Karen, Kay and John. And Irene. Irene who is so slender and so active. She certainly does not look like she is 84. A couple months ago I had the pleasure of sitting beside her as we all went to Duke's for lunch. We talked a lot and laughed a lot. Irene comes out with the most unexpected statements that are so funny!

I know Irene is having a difficult time now. She has experienced a lot of losses lately and it is difficult to deal with. I know she is feeling lonely. I hope her birthday is a very good and positive day. I hope it is a day where we all take time to be thankful for the special people who have touched our lives. Happy Birthday, Aunt Irene! I wish we lived closer together so we could see each other more often. Have a very good day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day With My Mom

As most of you know, I decided to fly to North Dakota to spend Mother's Day with my mom. I'm sure it was her last one. It was really good to see her again. I arrived in Devils Lake at 9:45 pm and decided to stop by the nursing home to see if the doors were still open. They were! So I surprised her in her room. Though I only stayed about 10 minutes, I'm sure it meant a lot to her.

The experience was both satisfying and distressing. Mom has refused to do anything that may prolong her life, including taking her "water pills". There is a huge amount of water retention in her body right now. Her feet look like footballs, her legs are huge, weeping fluid, and blistering. A lot of fluid has settled in her left arm. When I spoke with the nurse, she said she has pitting edema all the way up to above her waist. At this point her lungs are still clear, but the fluid will keep rising until she ends up with pulmonary edema. It bothers me that she is refusing any treatment for this, yet I understand her desire to not prolong life. There's got to be a better way to go! She has absolutely no mobility left and cannot even adjust herself in her chair anymore.

In the midst of this, her mind is still good. We played several games of rummy and she talked intelligently about everything. But she looks and sounds so terribly frail. She eats so little, her eyesight is deteriorating, and her hearing is atrocious (most of the time). It is often hard to understand her because her voice is just wearing out.

Though the trip was hard, I'm glad I went. The days go by so slowly for her. She looks forward to any activity that is out of the ordinary. Next weekend David's widow, Nancy and their daughter Jennifer with her two little ones will be there. Mom is so looking forward to seeing them. And there are several family members coming memorial day weekend. Personally, I don't really expect her to last much longer than that.

Remember to send her emails. She counts on that every day. Just be sure to increase the font to 16 or 18. You don't have to say much. Just hearing from you is enough.

Now don't you go telling Mom I put all this in my blog!! I'd be in trouble for sure!

You Know You Are Gone Too Long When ...

... you find this on your car. This nest with two eggs was firmly attached to the bottom of my windshield when I got to the parking lot last night.
The good news is that it gave me a smile after a very long day of travel - or maybe I should say non-travel. I was supposed to leave Fargo at noon, but my flight was cancelled. Now, there aren't too many flights going from Fargo to Denver. The next one was at 4:30. I got on the standby list, but just as I was ready to go down the jetway, the last passenger showed up and I got bumped. The next flight was 7:30. Though it, too, was delayed, I finally made it back home at 9:45. What a day! And today, it's back to the airport to go to Texas again. One of these days I will catch up on things!