Monday, November 29, 2010

Holidays on the Winchuck River

It is now that period between holidays. We have time to zipper our mouths shut so that when Christmas does arrive, eating won't mean extra pounds. I managed to not make a total pig out of myself. I didn't have the usual hurt of too full of a belly like past Thanksgivings.

I cooked a fabulous Thanksgiving meal that I got out of Sunset Magazine. It was Mexican flavored; which proved delicious! We were fortunate to have 11 friends and family show up to gobble just like turkeys! Lynnette made pies like only Lynnette can and Lee brought a tradiitonal turkey just in case someone was offended by my creative urge to change tradition up a bit. Mary provided a couple wonderful salads. We drank wine, browsed for hours over the food topping everything off with pie, home-made ice cream and whipping cream.

I've used the holiday period to clean up the photos on my computer. What a mess!! I've been in the internet business for years, so you can imagine the product pictures I had both on the computer and in Photobucket! I've purged myself of all business photos and then made files on Photobucket that I can actually use to find the pictures. You can browse through my pictures on Photobucket by clicking on this link:

I can see that I was 65 years old when I set up Photobucket the first time. It has been four years of non-stop internet business. I have just made myself retire from everything so that I can care for my mother; who needs me full time. I did keep a lot of craft pictures that I can use when altering photos or creating projects on the computer or on paper.

Holidays are not the same for me as they were on the past. My own children have not managed to come up for Holidays for the past four years. Holidays used to mean family. There is a element of sadness that covers the old cheer of celebrating. I have learned that Jim's family is a nice subsitute for mine. Lynnette and Jim are so very helpful and kind to both Jim and I. We couldn't ask for more.

I will soon get out all my rubber stamps, papers, stickers and anything else that will work to create Christmas cards that show how much I really do care for my friends and family. I try to personalize the cards for each and everyone so that they can be saved and maybe even treasured. I have put pictures of the ones. Here is one I made for friends and one I made for a grandchild. I make such a mess doing these cards! The one I made for William is posted for you see. I know the kids love seeing themselves on cards part of a magical world.

Jim's kids will be up again in a couple of weeks. We will celebrate an early Christmas with them since they will be celebrating the holiday in San Jose and Sacramento. We do have to share them with other members of their family. I have bought their gifts already. I make sure that all gifts are connected somehow to their anticipated move up here one of these days. I gave them the two books I bought since I couldn't wait. Lynnette got one on how to gut a deer and Jim a mushroom identification book. Perfect for their new lives they will be lucky enough to have one of these years.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Taking a Day for Freedom

Every Wednesday, Terisa comes to take care of my 92 yr. old mother. Jim and I escape into the people we used to be enjoying long hikes, a meal out and time to breath in and out without interruptions of someone else's needs.

Yesterday, we headed off to Crescent City just south of us. We explored the beach behind the airport where it is said one can find agates. We did find a few sugar agates, but nothing to gasp in wonder over. It is a nice long beach allowing for a good amount of walking. We could have walked to the mouth of the Smith River if we wanted to go that far....maybe if we could walk that far.

Our dog, Maggie, enjoyed trying with all her might to catch a seagull. Of course, she never succeeded, but she did manage to find a sea lion that had died and washed up on the beach. Horrors! Why do dogs love to roll in anything dead? I know all the stories of covering their own scent to be better hunters, but she lives in the comfort of a home with humans who do not need a stink to be impressed with her powers of being a mighty huntress.

We gobbled up fish and chips out on the point near the port where you can enjoy a meal while watching sea lions very much alive jockeying for space on the one lone pier where they are allowed to bask in the sun. Maggie had to stay in the car. She has never managed to be able to keep her dislike of being left alone without embarrassing wails that seem to go on forever.

One of our missions for the day was to purchase crown molding for the bedroom I just painted. We were surprised to find Home Depot charging almost double what our local Ace Hardware for the same crown molding! We made the stop at Walmart while we were close. I found two throw pillows to put on the bed accenting the new colors of beige/sea foam green/chocolate brown. I wasn't able to find the "right" throw for across the bed. It will have to wait for another Wednesday. You can tell from the picture, that we do not have an elegant bedroom. But, now it is clean and fresh. It had been a good 10 years since I had painted it.
I am covering a glass lamp shade with glass and stones in sea foam colors to replace the ceiling light that has been hanging for way too long! It is looking really good. I might take a picture to put here when the project is finished. I have to glue and then wait till the glue sets up before turning the shade to add more stones, so it is taking days instead of hours! I plan to search for a new table lamp at thrift stores or at a garage sale. It can wait until I find just the right one. I'm not willing to satisfy myself at a high cost. I can get a lamp for probably 5-10 dollars that originally sold for much more. I already have a great chocolate shade I found months ago for $2.00!!
You can see I am seldom profound. I think my post of a couple days ago was an example of a rare moment when I allowed myself to crawl under my skin to search out truths about myself that I am mostly too busy to bother with. I think the crawling under and around oneself is valuable. I am happy that I do manage to actually "think" every once in awhile.
Sometimes I wonder who reads my blog. I don't advertise it much to friends and family although I think they are the ones I write it for. It is much like a letter that I used to write back in the day when I actually wrote letters. I sometimes print it off to place in a special box waiting for my grandchildren to find after I am dead. I think it is important that they know who and what their grandmother was. I stick awards, pictures, membership cards etc in that box. They will hopefully see a true picture of what runs in their gene pool. While I am alive, it doesn't seem so important that they know these things. I think as adults, it will mean much more. I can't hope to live until then. My children were both 39 years old before they had children. I am old enough to be a great grandmother for them. I can almost see their faces as they explore this box. Everyone wants to know where they came from and what it might mean to their sense of who they are.
I had a great grandfather, who was one of the first to be in the United States Coast Guard. He later ran a light house on the Great Lakes. I think of who he had to be. He surely wasn't just a guy hanging out waiting for life to find a path for him. I had a grandfather who was a Salvation Army Officer along with my grandmother. He was good man doing what he could for those in need. I like knowing those things. It gives me hope for myself and who I might be. I had other great grandparents who journeyed across the ocean to find new lives here from Norway. It could not have been easy. I know my great grandmother had to work for a family in Chicago as a maid to pay off what it had cost for her passage. Her husband worked for 50 years at a foundry! Can you imagine working in a foundry for 50 years!! So, maybe it is easy to see why I find such a value in working hard. I getting profound?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Karen's Declaration of Independence

I attended the Caregiver Support Meeting earlier this month where there was a presentation on dementia and Alzheimers. The flyer is here on the left. At this meeting we were given a lovely statement, "Esther's Declaration of Independence". I am choosing to use this statement as a guideline to create my own declaration.
Karen's Declaration of Independence
Look at me as someone special with all my quirks, mannerisms along with my personal accomplishments and also my failures. I have accumulated what I call myself throughout my years of living. Things have happened to me during these years to sometimes cause me to pause; only to have to recognize that I am forced to look at myself as a totally different person. Hurt, joys and and looking at reality has had their affect on what makes me the person I am today. I am not simply any person. I am uniquely my own person. I am the only one who has lived my life.
You cannot copy me. It is soley me who knows all what I have done and what I might still become. I am still becoming me. I am irreplaceable and invaluable never to be duplicated. Once I am gone from this life. I am gone forever except in how I have touched you. I might have shared laughter, love and regretably even anger and hurt with you. All the ways I have entered your life makes immortality possible. I will live forever in what you pass to others in your life; as what I have left in a touch or in a word is what helps make you who you are. Do you catch yourself making up a silly story to explain why something is to a child? Do you love feeling the life of freshly made bread dough? Is every plant worth saving and is it difficult to step on a bug or to turn away a dog in need? These may be just a few bits of me that I have left in your care. Maybe your voice reaches new levels when you are angry or you find yourself intolerant about intolerance. You may be in denial about transgressions you have made. These could just be what you have learned from me that isn't that wonderful. I have entered your soul. I have become part of what makes you who you are like it or not.
I plead my case not to be disgarded when I grow too old to care for myself. I will not be worn out, useless like a worn out sweater. Wear me with honor. Don't ignore me or talk down to me, over me or around me as if I am no longer present. I don't want to be babied, pampered or patronized. I will be good to the last drop. Enjoy me for as long as you have me in your life.
Don't waste me letting me have empty arms with unfulfilled hopes. I pray that I will live out my destiny in all of its fullness and hope the same for you. I wish for worth, dignity and achievement for there is always more to be done in life.
Remember I go this way but once. Want me, love me and let the ending be as gracious and loving as it was in the beginning when I first arrived. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for letting me enter your life leaving behind bits and pieces of me to recognize as me living still well after I am gone.
I changed Esther's declaration up quite a bit. I have not had the same life as Esther. My declaration could not be the same.
This exercise added to my life. I am clearer as to what I need, what I wish for and who I even plan to become when I once again re-invent my life. I read recently that someone who lost a child knew they were no longer the same person. They had lost the basis of what made them who they were. Their old way of living didn't have meaning any longer. Life had to start again at the time of their loss to make sense. I understand that now. That is why we cannot always stay who we were previously comfortable with. Are we a mother even if we no longer have children? Can we base our very core on that description we held dear for so long if the child does no longer exist? We are now someone different. Our husbands can die or leave us. We are no longer wives. We wake up facing a new reality of who we are. Life is never the same. We hold on so tight only to see it change regardless of our effort. I'd like to say life goes on. We do breath in and out, but life hicups. It gives us pause. The going on is not done easily. We have to find a new path and new way to describe who we are. I may not want to be like an old sweater with all those "used to be me" knitted into each fiber. The old sweater may not be discarded, but it needs some new fiber knitted into the body so it fits better. I think if I look at myself hard enough, I can still see those old parts that may have been buried in re-invention of self. I have to believe the old descriptions helped build who I am today. The more recently created me is only making me fit the reality of where I am today. So, I am not like a worn out sweater, I am a sweater that gets new fiber knitted into it as the need arises. Sometimes, I wish the fit was just a bit more comfortable. Maybe with time the fibers won't bind. The fit will feel like it has always belonged. I think loss always leaves a space that cannot be knitted over with complete success. My sweater has those dropped stitches that I can see when no one else notices.

We Welcome You to Our Blog!

We blog about our rural area in the Pacific Northwest . This blog is all about my life and the places where my mind wonders from day to day. Have fun reading and looking at pictures. We welcome comments.

Be sure to watch, just above this blurb, my husband, Jim, using his 10 foot hands-free electric fishing kayak


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Electric Powered Hands-Free Fishing Kayak

Be sure to check out the separate blog to find out about our electric kayak, Kingfisher 10! You can find the blog at . You can also read the features list on this kayak and purchase building plans and building kits at .

About Me

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We moved to our current home on the Wild River Coast of Southern Oregon from San Jose, CA. Our family consist of Jim and Karen, two dogs and two cats. Karen's passion is gardening. Jim's obsession is building electric powered fishing kayaks and fishing.