My favorite folks ! :)

28 June 2013

Another Gift My Parents Gave Me

Subtitle:  Our Timing Sucks

Kathi's comment yesterday helped me to remember that my parents' childhoods were equally unhappy.  I have to say i find it profoundly sad that they had such unloving beginnings and continued that on with their own children so that they have known very little joy or love.  This might have changed with their grandchildren.  I don't know, as i'm around them very little for that part of their lives.  I  WILL say that had we been blessed with children, we would not have left them alone in the care of my parents.

They definitely had a gift of turning whatever around so that it can be told in a funny story.  When i look back on it, their stories of childhood were usually betrayal - siblings that passed the buck and they got punished.  Or the stories of extreme poverty.  They told us those stories in a way that came across as funny, so when we were children my sisters and i laughed at those sad, sad stories.

That has a dark side to it, of course, but overall i consider being able to laugh at your life a positive thing.  I didn't realize how much i used it until 2001.  A few days before 9/11 i was raped.  About a month later i was getting ready to have lunch with a friend.  In thinking it over i was preparing to tell her about it and i thought, "I don't know how to turn this and make it funny."  Most of the things i'd told her about my life, including childhood, divorce, money problems and other things, i had been able to turn into a "funny story."  We laughed at a lot of my mishaps.  I was not able to do that in the fall of 2001, which was a loss for me.  It did make me look at what i used as coping skills and appreciate the value of laughter.  And i recognized that my parents taught this to me.

Duane and i use laughing at ourselves a lot in our marriage, and have from early on.  We do seem to often have poor timing.  We would be sitting together watching TV and just as he was getting ready to surprise me with a kiss, i would stretch and bonk him in the head.  We learned early on to laugh at such things and say, "Our timing sucks!"  Of course, sometimes we are able to say, "Our timing doesn't always suck!" when something goes our way.

Isn't the pic at the top stunning?  It is from a house we stayed a weekend at in the North Shore/Whispering Forest area the first year we were married.  I loved that house and its views.  One of the books i've begun writing started with ideas from that house.  I was looking at some real estate online the other day (there are 3 houses in our neighborhood for sale and i was curious about their prices, etc.) and i came across a listing for that very house.  It is NOT in our neighborhood.  I was curious to know what was available in Whispering Forest, which is a higher priced area.

Part of me wishes so much that we could buy that place.  The house is built similarly to Sugarbear, but it is much larger, nearly 1,000 ft larger.  It has a real entry-way (most houses in Big Bear are built so that you walk directly into the living area).  The living room seemed larger, and there is a large family room next to it.  It has a 2-car garage and large workshop.  However, it only has 2 bedrooms (we have 3).  Also, the kitchen is not really all that marvelous.  The house is set so it has fantastic views, but that also creates an area that is very icy in the winter - the driveway and entrance to the house.  And it is $80,000 more than we paid for Sugarbear.

I was going to post a couple of pics from that house and the view, but the listing isn't up any more.  (Since i can't post those pics, i'll post this instead.)

The Whispering Forest house had only been on the market a couple of weeks when i saw it online Tuesday.  I wonder if it is sold already?  I have found, in looking at other properties, that i really love our place.  It isn't the nicest, newest, or fanciest.  There are things i wish we had money to do for it, but i really love our home.  It is part of our tradition to sing, "Sugarbear, Sugarbear, Sugarbear, Sugarbear!  Sugarbear, we're so lucky!  Sugarbear we're coming home" as we come down from Onyx summit toward home.  (To the tune of an old song called "Honeycomb," from 1954.  My cousins had the record when i was a kid, and no, i'm not old enough to remember the song when it was released!)

Today i have company coming, but i WILL take the pics of garden and sunroom/greenhouse.


27 June 2013

My Parents Did Most Things Right


Anyone who has read much i've written knows that my family was pretty unhealthy. I have recognized the positives i feel i learned growing up, but overall it wasn't a healthy place to be.  It WAS a good place to be, my parents did strive to give us a good life, but it was not emotionally healthy.

In light of the past couple of days, i recognize the positives of my childhood even more.

My parents taught us (my sisters and myself) to be respectful of others, and polite, and considerate, and responsible for our actions. They did give us many different experiences. We travelled across the country multiple times and my dad always had interesting contacts through work and we met people from many parts of the world. My parents worked hard to make people feel comfortable in their home.  They also provided a very nice home.  When one sister wanted sheep and i wanted horses, we got them.  We were given music lessons.  They did try very hard.

Which is why where they failed is so very tragic.

I felt, as did my sisters, heartrendingly unloved, unlovable, even unlikable. In thinking this over i did a Google search, "How to make your child feel unloved."

One site said the number one way was to fight in front of them. Check. Wow, i remember how unsafe our home felt because of that, but i didn't realize it would contributed to feeling unloved. 

Even more profound was this:
Children who feel unloved act very differently from those who feel loved. They spend lots of time trying to reassure themselves and other people of their worth. They are cautious about trying new things, for failure hurts them deeply.  
Children who know they are loved, on the other hand, don't have to waste time proving their worth. They aren't afraid to try out their wings. They know that even if they fall, they can still count on your love and respect.  Making Children Feel Loved 

What i find sad, too, is that i know (but it is head knowledge) my parents did love us.  They did not know how to show it, how to let us feel it.  It seems i've lived most of my life under this shadow, and i don't know how to make it go away.  It is probably a scar that can't be resolved, a scar that restricts my ability to move.  But it is a SCAR not an active wound.  I have a life in spite of it.

I say it is a scar that can't be resolved and restricts me because i feel very limited in MY ability to love.  I have a sister who says she loves everyone so very, very much; that her ability is unique and deep.  I can't argue with her on this point because i don't know what she feels.  But i know that my ability to love is very limited.  I know i do not love the way i "should," the way i want to, the way i desire.  Sometimes i feel that part of me is an amputated stump, and while i can reach out with it a little bit, it doesn't stretch very far.

I also know that whenever i meet someone it is my expectation that they will not like me, and a surprise if anyone seems to like me.  I generally assume they are tolerating my presence.  I struggle as well to believe God could love me.  In some ways i wish i had come to be a Christian as an adult.  Growing up in an unloving home and not feeling any love of God has made being a Christian a very difficult task.

I am sad that Zane is having the opposite experience in his childhood:  His parents give him love, tell him he is loved, and he has constant reassurance of that.  But he doesn't have the other things that will allow him to have a good life.  I have read that children that don't have boundaries set and discipline required also feel unloved.

It seems that if you fall at either extreme, either feeling unloved or feeling loved but not knowing boundaries, the results are very bad.


26 June 2013

First of two

I am GOING to take pics today and will post them later!

Olivia and someone new are coming today to help in the house and do some cooking.  I need to go to the store for mozzarella and something else . . . um i don't remember now (i miss my brain!) but i know it starts with "m" because i thought, "Two 'm's' - i'll remember that!"  Not milk as i don't buy milk at the grocery.  Oh!  Meat (grass-fed organic ground beef) for Duane.

I had 3 cubic yards of dirt/topsoil delivered yesterday.  It is quite a lot and should do for what we need. It will take some time to move it but i should be able to plant some stuff soon.

The time with Loren and Zane was challenging.  He is a sweet little boy.   I do mean that.  He can be thoughtful and fun.  However, the amount of disrespect for adults that particular six year old displayed was exhausting.  He does not recognize boundaries or limits and challenges everything when he is directed.  It took a lot of energy from us both.  I think his mama really is trying.  Random reinforcement is the strongest way to encourage negative (or positive) behavior.  I had a two day display of how true that is.

Obviously i could say a lot more on that subject, but i think it better to leave it there.


24 June 2013

Life . . . It Just Keeps Coming

I've had lots that i've thought of and meant to write, but the days keep passing and i've not done it.

Partly because i've wanted to add pics of the garden and greenhouse/sunroom and i've not gotten those done.

We've made some beds outside for the plants, but i need to get dirt delivered.  Part of me is screaming, "But it is almost July!" and feeling anxious to get it done.  The rest of me keeps saying, "Calm down !  I can only do so much and what happens, happens."

I have transplanted a few things.  Some have managed well, others not so much.  There was a watering snafu this last week and some of our precious soil got washed away.  However, we have created some of our own soil !  We have been composting - or at least collecting stuff for compost - for a couple of years now.  But it is very dry here and we'd not been watering it thoroughly.  We moved the pile recently and found we had three 5-gallon buckets full of enough soil to use in our beds.  That is a drop in the bucket of what we need and what there is to be broken down in the compost pile, but i consider it a triumph none the less.

My SIL Loren is here with her son Zane.  We were pretty sure that this was going to be another time when she said she'd come, but did not.  We waited all day yesterday (and put in a couple of phone calls that were not answered or returned).  I don't handle things like that well.  When we got the call at six (PM) that she was getting ready to leave we were surprised.  Disappointed as well because Zane loves Duane.  We had hoped Duane would have Sunday and Monday to spend with him, but they didn't arrive until late Sunday (they finally got here about 10, we drove down to meet them because she isn't comfortable on the mountain roads), and Duane has to be in OC the entire week this week.

The OC Knit Group is coming up this weekend, they are to arrive on Friday.  I'm looking forward to that.

. . .

I started this in the early AM.  It is now about 12 hours later and i'm exhausted!  Wondering how i'll make it thru the week, but hopefully that will pass and i'll sleep well tonight.  Got some more stuff planted in the garden.  It is late, i know, but it doesn't hurt to try.  I've a load of dirt to be delivered tomorrow.

Earlier in the day was very cool and it has been quite windy.

Here's an old pic for the meantime:

Our roses are blooming a look so lovely.

As always, our mountains and lake are stunning.

New pics to come before long, i hope.


13 June 2013


Duane and i have long discussed building a greenhouse.  We have 4 decks on our house, two in the front and two in the back.  We use the front one as the "front door" and we have a porch swing and a glider there to sit out when we feel like it.  The upstairs front deck is off of our bedroom.  I put out seeds for the birds, chipmunks and squirrels (no squirrels around right now, they've died off).  Otherwise it doesn't get used much.

We talked about enclosing the upstairs back deck for a greenhouse, but instead we used chicken wire and netting to enclose it so we could let the cats out there.  They kind of like it, but it has become another "room" to them, and they still want to get out and roam, which we can't let them do.  We do use the downstairs back deck to store wood, and the barbeque (which we rarely use) is back there.  Also other various odds and ends.  I decided it would be better to be enclosed as a greenhouse.  It is larger than the upstairs deck, and that side of the house faces south/south-east.  It gets lots of sun, especially in the winter.  A friend of ours, David, does lots of handy-man work and he is building that greenhouse for us.  I'm very excited about this.

It has been somewhat of an issue as Duane is also very good at building things and *can* do this himself.  And he doesn't like to pay for things he can do himself.  The problem is that he and i are both very good at procrastination and if it was left to us the greenhouse would not be built this year, if ever.  Also he has been very busy with Search and Rescue and hasn't been around a lot on the weekends.

I also need to get more boxes built for our garden.  I have them in the "cat-free" room currently.  It faces west and gets very warm in the afternoon, but they need to be transferred to outside.  Our soil is horrible for gardening, mostly rocks and sand, and so they need to go in raised boxes with compost and soil that can grow things.

Here are a couple of pics of what i'm trying to grow.  These pics were taken a couple of weeks ago.  They have grown quite a lot since i took these.

Of course, i started these back when i had all those days of energy.  It was so fun.  It still is fun to see them grow, but i'm wondering how i'll manage to work it all, much less preserve them, if i don't get more stamina.  Guess i'll deal with that when the time comes.

I have about six different types of tomatoes, buttercup (not butternut) squash, zucchini  pumpkin, two different types of lettuce (one is not doing well at all), broccoli, carrots, beets, i don't remember the rest. I've strawberries outside, as well as raspberries and blackberries.  This is the third year for our raspberries, and for the first time they have a few buds on them.  We just planted the blackberries last fall.  I don't know if they will produce or not.  The blueberry bushes are struggling.  I had a grapevine (concord) i was nursing along, and it finally died.  We would never have grapes, however, without a cold frame because our season isn't long enough for it to survive.   I've got potatoes in sacks that i'm growing, and i'm so excited with their progress!  Our apple tree is going to have a bumper crop this year.  No peaches or pears.  The cherry tree nearly died last year, but it does have one branch with half a dozen cherries.  I'll have to protect them from the birds.

I am learning to garden!

I'll post pics of the new greenhouse, when i take them.


11 June 2013

"Silent No More"

That term is used for situations much more serious than my own.  I am using it, however, to state that i am no longer going to silence my own voice and refuse to speak.  Again, that sounds much more serious than my circumstances, but i've spent most of my life choosing not to say anything.  Why?  Well, because i think no one wants to hear what i have to say.  I think that what i say offends others.  I think i've nothing important enough to bother writing.  And when i have tried to speak, i feel like i'm standing in a corner screaming and no one can hear me.  I not only feel that no one wants to hear me but also that no one does.

So i'm done with worrying about that.  If no one wants to listen, that's fine.  But i'm not going to silence myself because of it.

The last post about a "good" day was the beginning of about 20 good days.  I had almost three weeks.  I'd begun a couple of new supplements, and it was simply wonderful.  It was suppose to be for weight loss.  They recommended four:  CoQ10, Green Tea Extract, L-Carnitine, and Grape Extract (resveratrol).  I was already taking the first two, CoQ10 in 100 mg (which is the upper limit of what is recommended), and 500 mg of Green Tea Extract.  I added in 250 mg of L-Caratine and 100 mg of Grape Seed Extract (yes, i mis-read the article and bought the wrong thing).

My response was like a rocket ship, and one that was fun to ride!  I would guess that my energy level is about 10% of what is considered "normal."  All of a sudden i had double that, or even a bit more.  I still would get tired, but i didn't crash as so often happened, and i was able to get so much done.  I was excited !  I was doing the happy dance all the time (at least in my head).  I couldn't sit still !  It wasn't manic, or anything, but i would see things that needed to be done and i HAD to get up to do them !

I had had one similar experience before, back in the late 90s.  The doc had me on one pill and was taking me off of that one and starting another and for about 5 days i would wake up in the morning, alert and ready to go.  Again, it wasn't manic, but real energy.  I thought, "My God !  This is what the rest of the world has.  This is what it is like to be normal !"  I'd never really had energy before and honestly didn't know what to do with it.  I've always felt i "wasted" those 5 days because i didn't know how to function with more "go."  That energy did not last.  The doc and i tried various combinations of those two drugs but were never able to recreate that energy, to my severe disappointment.  I have never forgotten those five wonderful days.

This time around i did not "waste" the energy.  I used it.  I knew it would not continue to "skyrocket" the way it did early on.  That wouldn't be reasonable.  However, i did expect to plateau.

That is not what happened.  I crashed instead.  Right off of a very steep, very high cliff.   I'm back to where i was before, or possibly a little worse.  It is hard to tell because my attitude about it is so low and negative that i wonder if my bitterness about the loss is making it worse.

What happened?  I don't know.  I did add in a couple of different supplements.  Since i misread "grape extract" for "grape seed extract" i added in the resveratrol.  I also learned about acetyl-l-carnitine, which is different from the one i took, but good for brain function.  I bumped the l-carnitine from 250 mg to 500 mg.  Did that make the difference?  I don't know.  I had the chiro i work with check the supplements i was taking and i didn't test negative.  I also wasn't eating as healthy as i could have been and made a few poor choices.  I pushed myself a bit but didn't have negative reaction, so i assumed it was okay.  Did this make the difference?  I haven't a clue.

At Duane's suggestion, last week i cut the supplements to the more restrictive amount that i was taking when i was doing better.  It didn't seem to make much difference, but then, i didn't expect it too.  Also, even though i'm hopeful that i might be able to regain that improvement i had, based on my only experience before, nothing worked then.  Again, i'm hopeful that if i had it this time i might get it again, but i am not holding my breath.

So, i've had about 25 days of energy in my life (at least in my memory; i think i had more as a child but not a lot more).  I figured it out the other day.  I've had 624 months in my life thus far, and less than a month of those have been proper energy.  Someone asked me what my life is like on a daily basis.  The only way i can explain is to have people remember when they have had the flu.  They've been really sick, a fever, feeling awful.  Then the illness recedes and they are no longer "sick," but their bodies are not back to normal.  They get out of bed and feel weak and wasted.  Their sleep is possibly not really restful or restorative.  And that is what i feel like almost all the time.  Not sick, but weak and wasted.  I have to carefully choose what i do throughout the day, because when i'm out of energy, i'm done.  There are days when i can't do one more thing.  There are days when i use all of my energy early in the day and the rest of the day is spent resting.  I feel and look like a wrung-out dishcloth on those days.  I find that i rarely go into town (in Big Bear) anymore.  We rarely attend church.  I do still go to the Monday AM knit group because it would break my heart to give that up, but i pay for it the rest of the day.

The truth is i am not taking this gracefully.  I'm angry and bitter.  It is almost worse to be given those 20 days when the end result is to have them yanked away.  To know what it is like to feel better, to have energy to do the things i want and need to do, and to know if i try to do that now i'll crash so hard i might not recover.

I'm choosing not to go to Facebook this week.  It broke me when someone posted:  "Fact is the way you react to EVERYTHING is a choice you get to make. In good situations and in bad, that choice is ALWAYS in your hands."

We had a long discussion about this, and it comes out that even hurtful things don't hurt this person because she chooses not to let them.  ! ! !   Now, i agree that my response to everything is my choice, but i don't know how to "choose not to be hurt" when people are unkind.   I have also been rebuked for my negative attitude and the lack of a positive attitude and how that effects me.

I understand that positive attitude is important.  But i don't know how to manufacture it or to make myself see things differently.  I have tried.

So, i have silenced my own voice because what i have to say is so bitter, so negative, so "non-fun."  I don't know what will happen from here, but this is me, and where i am.  I don't like myself or my attitude very much, but i will not stop writing simply because i am not fun.  I guess i'm still in my stupid corner, but i am not going to stop screaming because i'm being ignored.