Sunday, February 24, 2013


Reading is my favorite pastime.  I'm always reading something.  Lately, my mind has been a jumbled mess.  I find it hard to write.  I find it hard to journal.  I find it nearly impossible to compose a blog post.  Despite the jumbled mess of my mind, I have been reading.  Perhaps, I have not read as closely as I usually do, but I am reading.

I have a friend who always asks, "What are you reading?" I even have a doctor who always asks the same thing.  My doctor at National Jewish Hospital has been my doctor for seventeen years.  This woman has been one of the great mainstays of my life.  She believed in me when I went through one of the most difficult experiences of my life the year she became my doctor in 1996.  (That is another story for another day.)  We see each other once a year when I have my yearly check-up.  We converse like old friends, and she always asked what I am reading.  My internist in Pueblo was always interested in what I was reading also.  I've even dropped off a book for her to read when I finished it.  We discussed it on my next visit.

I'm always on the search for a new book.  I so enjoyed reading my dear blogging friend's post today.  DJan wrote, as usual, an inspirational Sunday morning post entitled Contemplation today.  In the post, she gave a short review of a book she just finished.  I purchased it for my Kindle before I even finished reading her post.

This most recent purchase for my Kindle means I have six titles to read.  Actually, since I am currently reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time - Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front In World War II,   that means I have seven books to read.  The lament, too many books, so little time, comes to mind.  We once used to say we had books stacked on our bedside table to read.  With the Kindle, that no longer applies.  Here is a list of what I have recently added to my books to be read:

  • A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca  - I bought this book when I recently attended a literacy conference in Denver.  I love reading Jimmy Santiago Baca's poetry and taught many of his poems when I was teaching high school English.  This book is Baca's biography.  I can't wait to read it.  I think it will be stunning.  It will most likely remind me of so many students that I taught: the ones who had so much writing talent, who would most likely never finish high school, and who lived lives filled with alcohol abuse, legal problems, and poverty.  If I were still teaching, we would be reading this book in class.  Maybe, I will read this before I read any more about the Roosevelt years.  
  • More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi - I picked this book up as Costco on a day when I was browsing the books knowing I was about to finish the book I was currently reading.  I was desperate to have another book to read, so I picked up one by Penny Vincenzi.  Now, the truth is out.  I love to read Vincenzi.  Her novels are always engaging.  They provide me with escape reading.  Maybe I will start reading that tonight and put Franklin and Eleanor on hold for a while.  I need some escape reading.  
  • War Brides by Helen Bryan - I downloaded this to my Kindle yesterday.  It was recommended on the Amazon site, and since it only cost $.99, and since it was about World War II, my current reading topic, and since the reviews sounded interesting, I thought I would add it to my books to read.  I think I will read this after I finish reading about WWII in the U.S.
  • On Gold Mountain by Lisa See - This was definitely an impulse buy.  I purchased it on my Kindle when I saw the review after downloading War Brides.  It only cost me $7.19, so I could have spent more on a book.  I do love to read immigrant stories.  I especially like to read about the Asian immigrant experience.  I've read other books by Lisa See.  Some I have really enjoyed reading, others, not so much.  I'm sure this book is at the bottom of my reading list. 
  • Call the Midwife - A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times - by Jennifer Worth.  This book was the book recommended on DJan's blog today.  I have watched the series based on this book on television and loved it.  Since, I am reading about this period of time already, I think this book will be read after I read War Brides.  That seems like the logical progression.  Love and marriage should always proceed calling the midwife.  ;)
  • Beyond Belief: My Secret Life in Scientology and My Harrowing Escape  by Jenna Misgavige, Lisa Pulitzer, and Sandy Rustin - I haven't purchased this book yet.  I am trying to show some restraint.  I have more than enough to read right now.  My daughter just finished this and said she could not put it down.  I also love reading books about those whose lives have been derailed by cults and religious organizations.  I'm sure I will enjoy reading this book.  It is currently on the best seller list for non-fiction.
Even though I am somewhat conflicted over what book to pick up and read right now, my discipline pattern in reading will mean I will most likely keep reading No Ordinary Time.  The book is over six hundred pages long.  I won't be finishing it any time soon.  I am really enjoying it and am approaching the reading of it in a more scholarly way.  I have my pen in hand when I read so I can underline and annotate.  I am learning a great deal about the times just before I was born.  I've read other biographies about Eleanor Roosevelt as she is one of my favorite people from history, but I am especially enjoying this book because the scope is so large.  

Doris Kearns Goodwin write so masterfully.  Her research is meticulous.  Despite the size of the book and the topic, it is a book that holds my interest.  I've used the information in the book to ask my mother questions about the times and about my own family history from that time.  No wonder Goodwin won the Pulitzer with this book.  It truly lives up to all of its positive reviews.  


If you are interested in seeing what I am reading, I am on Goodreads.  Follow me by going to this link: my Goodreads profile page.  


I won't get much reading done today.  I'm off to watch the 2013 Oscars.  I will miss watching this with my daughters.  Amy and I always love this tradition.  She reminded me of the days when we would gather at my sister Carol's house where all of us, my sister and her two daughters, and me with Amy and Julie, would pile onto my sister's king size bed to watch the Oscars together.  She will be watching the show with her daughter tonight.  We will be texting.  I better go see what everyone is wearing as they walk down the red carpet.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I spoke with #1Son  on the phone yesterday.  After we had hung up, I thought a great deal about what he had to say.  He spoke about family and about the importance of family.  He recounted the story of a movie that he and his significant other had seen at the Park City Film Festival about the strength of a family that came together after a tragedy hit one of the family members.  He spoke of how he wants to make sure he gives that kind of family experience to his own children.

Later in the day, as I sat down to write in my journal, I realized that exactly 47 years ago I had first met the man who would become the father of my children.  My children's father and I officially met when he was transferred into the same department where I was working at the IRS Service Center in Ogden, Utah.  We both had started our jobs on the same day just two days prior to the day we officially met.  In fact, we both were hired at the same time because we both scored the exact same score on the civil service exam.  Our supervisor told us that we had tied for the highest score on the exam.  This meant that we both had to be placed before the others who had taken the exam could be placed in the jobs that were available.  

On that day when we first met, he walked me to the parking lot after work.  I was dazzled by his smile and his personality.  We married six months later.  We began our family early.  Our first born arrived just eleven months later.  In time, we would have a total of five children in a span of ten years. Sadly, the marriage ended in divorce after a decade and a half.   

Amy, Keicha, Ryan, Jonathan, Julie
Easter 1978

I never write about the break-up of our marriage in this forum.  I don't intend to start now.  I only want to acknowledge that the divorce was painful for all of us.  Our lives were forever altered.  For me, the divorce also meant that I was determined that my children would still have a strong sense of family. 
Amy, Keicha, Sally, Jonathan, Julie,
Ryan on the back of the couch

Amy, Jonathan, Julie, Keicha, Ryan
This is one of my favorite photos, but I know the girls hate it!

Parents leave legacies.  I have always hoped that the legacy I would leave would be one where my children loved and supported each other and passed on a strong love for family to their children.

It is messy to be a part of a family.  It is not always easy.  In fact, is it ever easy?  I looked up some quotes while I wrote this post.  Some are just priceless.  George Burns said, Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.  I think most of us can relate to that at one time or another.  

Our family, as with so many modern families, has changed due to divorce and remarriage.  I  found this quote by Sarah Dessen so true:   Family isn’t something that’s supposed to be static, or set. People marry in, divorce out. They’re born, they die. It’s always evolving, turning into something else.  

I think of my own in-laws, the paternal grandparents of my children.  I was fortunate to have the most wonderful in-laws ever.  They have always shown love towards me and supported me.  I love them dearly.  To me, they will always be family.

I think of the former spouses of my children, and I think of Julie's boyfriend, I love them like they are my own children.  Marriages don't always work out, but that doesn't mean that one has to stop caring about the well-being of both parties.  Maybe, once one is a part of my family, I just don't let that person go. I realize that the status has changed, but in my mind, we are still family.  We share many memories.  We have a history together.  They can't get rid of me that easily.  

A day at the zoo with
Regan, Gillian, Parker, and Bridger (in stroller)
Julie, Keicha, Jonathan, Amy holding Mason, Ryan and Stephanie

Mostly, I was struck by my son's statement about the way the family in the film pulled together after tragedy.  

Keicha, Jonathan, Julie, Sally, Amy, Ryan
June 2007

This photo was shot on the occasion of my husband's retirement party.  It was one of the rare occasions when I had all five of my children together.  Those occasions are the happiest occasions of my life.  Now, one of the five is gone.  I doubt I will ever adjust to not counting five names to make sure they are all accounted for in my mind when I think of them.  I doubt I will ever stop counting when we are together to keep track of everyone.  I run through the five names and the years of their births in order to figure out how old they are.  I can't do the math unless I recall all of the dates:  1967, 1970, 1974, 1976, and 1978.  (Yes, the 70's were very busy years for me!) 

Families are rare treasures.  They can be fragile.  They can break easily.  They can be fragmented.  I don't think DNA is enough to hold a family together.  I think it takes a lot of love, a lot of forgiveness, and a lot of prayer.  When I lost my sweet Julie, the one with her arm draped around my shoulder just as she always did, I would never have survived without my remaining precious children.  I've learned how true this quote is more than once from my own children:  When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching -- they are your family. ~ Jim Butcher

Someday, I will be gone.  When that day comes, I hope my legacy will be one that speaks of the importance of family.  One of my greatest prayers is that my children will always stand by each other, and by each other's children, and give each other strength, hope, courage, forgiveness, and love.  I hope they will keep on laughing with each other.  We've all have had so many great times together.  We are wild and crazy together.  We love to talk, argue, and laugh.  To me, these traits are what family is all about. It takes a lot of forgiveness along the way to maintain this type love and support because none of us are perfect, but we are family.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Getting to Know You

This photo could be labeled "getting to know you."

My husband and I were out walking yesterday when we came upon this herd of deer near our home.  The photo does not capture the intense look on the face of the lead buck as he stared into Boston's eyes.  Boston also stood and stared at the buck.  Their eyes were locked.

I sized up the size of the herd and was surprised to see that there were five bucks, and, if I can count correctly, five doe.  Seeing deer is a common occurrence around here, but it is uncommon to see so many bucks in one place with so few doe.  Since we had just seen two bucks, their antlers locked, fighting in the meadow across from where this photo was taken days before, I was a bit leery of proceeding any further on this particular path.  We've been warned to be cautious when the bucks are rutting.  They have been known to charge dogs if they sense the dog may come between them and the doe.

Boston never barks at the deer.  He is always interested in them, but he respects boundaries.  On the day this photo was taken, when we called to him, he turned and followed us in the other direction away from the deer without making any protest.

Today, Boston was on the back deck, unable to access the yard because of a gate on the deck, when we saw a lone doe just inches from the deck gazing at Boston.  Again, the two animals, dog and deer, had their eyes locked on each other.  Not a sound was made from the dog.  When we headed toward the door to try and catch a picture, the doe turned and ran away.

I think during these wildlife encounters, the animals are sizing each other up.

I feel that same way at times.

One of the hardest parts of moving is getting to know new territory when it comes to sizing up, and getting to know the professionals who care for us.  I am finding the task of finding service providers overwhelming.

I must find the following:

  • a new hair stylist.  Now that is a hard one.  I am so picky about my hair.  I've not found a good hair dresser yet.  My family says I never find one I like.  There is some truth to that.  I joke that it is easier to replace a husband than a hair stylist.  
  • a manicurist.  I miss my dear Kerri so much.  How will I ever replace her?  She didn't just give me excellent pedicures and manicures, she was my 'therapist' and good friend.  You don't just find a package deal of a good friend and a manicurist that often.  Such relationships are rare gifts.
  • a doctor.  That is a really hard task.  I've been blessed with many great specialists, but one must also have a great internist.  I'm finding that finding one that I trust and feel comfortable with is a task that also seems overwhelming.  I'll keep searching until I find one who will talk and listen to me while also talking with the specialists that I currently see.  As my doctor at National Jewish told me last month, "You need to have your doctors talking to each other."  Again, it is hard to find an internist that will talk to the cardiologist, the GI specialist, the respiratory doctor, and the endocrinologist.    
  • a chiropractor.  I don't go to the chiropractor often, but when I need one, I need one pronto.  I must begin my search before I am in pain and don't know where to go.
  • a massage therapist.  There have been times in my life in the past few years when I have gotten a massage every week or every two weeks.  I never go more than a month without a massage if I can help it.  That being said, I haven't had a massage since the beginning of October.  No wonder my neck and shoulders hurt!  I need a massage.  I don't know where to go.  There are massage therapists all over the place, but I had the best one in Pueblo, and I want another one just like her.  I miss you Kate!  You were the best.  Plus, I'm sure I will be paying a lot more for a massage here than I did in Pueblo.  
  • a therapist.  Since the death of my daughter, I had the good fortune to work with an excellent therapist.  I was so fortunate to find just the right fit the first time I met with this caring, wise woman who has helped me so much in my journey.  Finding a new therapist is not going to be easy.  I truly don't know where to start.  
At times when I meet with a new doctor, or a new therapist, I feel like I am just like Boston staring at the buck in the photo above.  I'm just not sure we can be compatible.  I find myself sizing up each professional.  I find myself wondering if we can form a professional relationship that I will trust.  I wonder if I am approaching this task with too many expectations.  I guess I also just want the easy flow of my life to return.  I always knew where I would go when I needed one of the services mentioned above.  I know I am fortunate to even have the services I mentioned.  I feel spoiled and pampered to even admit that I miss my massage therapist and my manicurist.  I guess I can forgo having a massage and a manicure while I keep searching, but I do need to find a doctor and a therapist.  Wish me well in my search.  Do you have any advice in finding just the right doctor or just the right therapist?