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Me, Myself and I

this is a forum to discuss many issues- domestic violence, fibromyalgia, mental health, relationships, kids and grandchildren, DIY projects, patriotism.The list is long and the opinions are mine.

Updated: 2017-10-07T04:28:21.979-07:00


Happy Birthday again


I can't believe I let a let a whole year go by without updating once. So much has happened in the past year. I'll update sometime soon.Dan made a post this morning honoring my birthday and I want to share it here. If it helps one person to think and make a decision to change their circumstances it will be a terrific birthday present for me.It's concerning domestic violence which is a cause near and dear to my heart because I lived it. This is my own experience. However, often my situation is repeated over and over hundreds of time daily.The issue needs to come out of the closet and be exposed in the light of day. Abusers will not want you to read my story or anyone else's that tell you there is a way out.I'm going to tell you the truth, it isn't easy but you can do it.I'm ordinary; I am just a lady who was a housewife, raised her kids, belonged to PTA, worked at jobs, volunteered. In other words, I did my share of dirty dishes, dirty diapers, laundry and Hamburger Helper back in the days.Maybe you are like me. I wasn't even aware that my life was filled with abuse until I was ion the thick of it trying to literally save my life.Usually, you aren't "just in the middle of it one day".One day may have started when you were a child. Maybe your self esteem and soul were never validated. You weren't allowed to say no because you were female and therefore somehow less important or valuable. You grew up never knowing how to say no because simply you were never taught. Or like in my case, if I dared to say know there were serious repercussions. Some how, somewhere deep inside me there was a tiny dot of independence, survival, and indignant at injustice. I rebelled regardless of the consequences.I would stand up for my siblings even if I got beat down.My integrity and character were always in question as if I was the lowest of the low because I dared to stand up to my father. It meant I was going to get the razor strap but it was like the issue was that important. He had other techniques that would lock someone up today for child abuse but was not how it was handled in those days.He wasn't wrong, I was. I should be more compliant so he wouldn't abuse me.That set me up for thinking " it's all my fault". All the standard lines abusers use started back in early childhood and if that's all you know it's normal to you. Not pleasant, but normal.I loved my Dad til the day he died. I saw not just the ugly part of him but the great parts of him. As I got older I learned about the whole man and why he was who he was.Today, I can't excuse his behavior or say one good thing about it. It was despicable to treat your child, your daughter as he did. He was my role model, my hero. He was the standard by which I would judge all men in my future. if the man who supposedly loved you first and most treated you a certain way surely it was OK if other men in your life treated you the same. No, no, no, no, no. It's wrong. Stinking thinking.I didn't have have anyone to tell me it's wrong but I'm here now to tell you it's wrong.I married an abusive, alcoholic man. Really, nothing surprising about it. I did what so many women in my situation do. Somehow, because he was going to college made him seem not so violent and my parents only criteria for him was that he was a " good Catholic boy who was getting an education".Never, not once was I ever told to marry for love and nothing else. I was never told to to not compromise, to not " settle for".The few times I ever let on that my husband was abusing me to my parents it became my fault. If I would just shut my mouth, if I would quit making waves, If I would just settle down" as if the abuse was caused by me. It never had anything to do with the abuser.I'm here to tell you you will never satisfy the abuser. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever be enough. It isn't about you, it's about him (and sometimes her). It's his character flaw, his stinking thinking, his screwed up head, his sociopathic behavior. You need to know he doesn't have a conscience even though he may cry and be " sorry" for harming you after[...]

Happy Birthday to My Mom! (guest post)


Today is my Mom's birthday. Like most folks, she was born at a very early age. ;) She's documented many aspects of her life on this blog, and I am very deeply, sincerely proud that God chose her to be my Mom.

I'd like to share a story that was a turning point in my relationship with her.

I remember a big bump we had when I was 15 years old. My sister and I were staying with her that summer in Texas. I became really upset with something she had done that seemed unfair, or it was simply a culmination of things.

I was so mad that I yelled at her and ran away for awhile. I knew I'd come back, but I just needed to be away from her for awhile.

I wound up walking to the neighborhood church. After about 45 minutes of being gone, I went back to her home.

She was waiting for me. I knew I was in for a good talking-to, and I just resented her. But I wanted to be respectful, so I just glared at her for awhile as she rebuked me for running off like I'd done.

I don't really remember specifics. I just remember knowing that my Mom really cared for me, that I'd scared her by running off, and that whatever it was that I was mad at her for wasn't really that important.

I guess in some way, I'd worked out any resentment or bitterness I'd had. Ever since that moment in Texas, I've been really close to my Mom.

Even though she's lived thousands of miles away for most of my life.

I love you, Mom!

"If you'd never been born, well what would you be?
You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a door knob! Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes!
Or worse than all that... why, you might be a
A Wasn't has no fun at all. No, he doesn't.
A Wasn't just isn't. He just isn't present.
But you... you ARE YOU! And now, isn't that pleasant!"

-- Dr. Seuss, from Happy Birthday To You!, via QuotesBlog

Hummingbirds may be racists; finches may be sexist


In our limited experience and non-membership in the Audubon Society Bob and I have made the decision that it appears hummingbirds are racist and finches are sexist.Some may say we have way too much time on our hands but it's what you do with the time that is important, right?Let me give you some background. We have two hummingbird feeders, one off the back patio and one off the front porch.There is a ruby throated hummingbird that I have named "little chit" instead of the other word. He has taken control of the back feeder.He sits as a sentry on the chicken wire fence around the green bean plants from as early as 6:30 AM til dark. I mean, if someone needs to get a life, it's him. Seriously.As soon as any other type hummingbird gets within 20 ft of that feeder he attacks them. It becomes an episode of Snoopy and the Red Baron.He swoops in with racing speeds of up to 220 miles an hour (I admit I haven't actually clocked it) chasing away any other hummingbird, fly, bee or even a finch.I have seen almost turf wars out on the patio; I might even be risking my life to do this research, I'm telling ya.I think some of the Anna's are sort of on to little chit now though. This past week I've seen sometimes maybe 10 come in from different angles and fly around just to get him pi$$ed off.He can't attack all of them at a time so it is amusing to watch. However, being on the patio while this is taking place can be hair raising or close to hair removing.They swoop, swirl, sweep and make dive bombing strides at lil chit.I have no opinion who is better, the Anna's or the ruby throated. I am only an observer.I give kudos to lil chit for handling his turf so readily and without compromise.However, the Anna's live by the motto originally made by Rodney King. You know the one, " why can't we all just get along"?I see often 3-4 Anna's at the front feeder at a time. If even just one is feeding it doesn't get upset if another one comes by to feed. it almost seems the more the merrier in their little group of green chicks, I mean birds.This is very scientific and I can only hope you appreciate the effort that went into this research; I know the Anna's are friendlier because science backs it up. The front feeder can empty in one day, the back one can take 3-4 days to empty.Once in an occasional while the Anna's gang up and take over the back feeder for a little while( probably a clue the front feeder is empty now that I think about it). But don't think little chit is happy about it because he isn't-at all, and he makes himself clear.Now, about the finches. We have taken the hard work away from all you who have to still get out to j-o-b everyday and don't have the time to research this as we do. No, really it's ok. OK, you're welcome!Let me start with saying finches are one of the greediest animals I've met. You can fill a finch feeder and the next day it has to be filled again. Of course, if Lou next door would keep his filled maybe ours would last a few hours longer!The real pretty yellow ones are males, right? Well, let me tell you someone needs to teach them about manners and how vinegar doesn't catch the worm or whatever the saying is.Oh, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar and the early bird catches the worm. Sorry Mom, I didn't think I'd ever forget them. I must be getting old.Anyway, I digress. That happens when you get old. you also get more gas. Wait a minute where am I going with this.The finches. OK so the females which are the less pretty but I'm sure more stable of the two are sitting on the perches feeding, minding their own business. Along come a flock of bad boys all pumped on well, finch food I guess, cuz I haven't read about any on steroids yet pushing the womanz off their perches.I mean come on fellas, these are your baby Mama's after all.Some females are passive and will just go to a nearby branch and wait their turn but there are a few that must be the bitches because they put up a fight. They get their wings in the way and move around and squawk like there's[...]



Ok, again it's been awhile since I posted. I am really going to try to update more frequently.

A couple weeks ago we had Bob's cousins'(The Cuz) handyman come over and till up the back 40 here. Then we added horse manure courtesy of Star, Marty's horse.
I had a set of 9 heirloom tomatoes coming from QVC and was excited to get them in the ground. Well, only 2 made it after transplanting so we went to a local nursery and bought a bunch more.
I recommend in the future not to buy edible plants from anywhere but your local nursery.
Bob and Lou(next door) ordered a set of tomato/potato plants from another catalog place. They are surviving but not really healthy.
It's an interesting concept isn't it?; a tomato plant on top and red potatoes growing underground.

I've also planted about 35 green bean seeds and have a few more to start in a couple weeks. I staggered the planting so we could harvest in spurts. The first 18 are in a whiskey barrel we used before the back 40 got tilled.
Then I planted cucumber seeds, lettuce seeds and transplants I started in a container a couple weeks before tilling.
The cuke seeds aren't cooperating;I may have to get some more.
I saw a couple cantaloupe plants the other day I may just have to go get them and find some room somewhere.

I got a set of 3 rose bushes from QVC about a month ago and they are doing real well. Actually, I have two of them and gave one to Melissa to take back to Hayward. Jon will plant it in his Mom's rose garden when he returns from Iraq in June. It will be a memorial rose since she died in late January.
I still haven't decided where my roses will go. I'm thinking of making them memorial roses too,one for Bob's side of the family and one for mine.
They are a gorgeous pink color on long stems.

It's getting warmer here in northern California. It warmed up a couple weeks ago to low 90's then dipped into 50's and 60's for about a week to 10 days, not today it's going into the 80's again.
Spring has sprung methinks.

Visit to Cincinnati


It's been awhile since I last posted. I've been in a deep depression I figured out and was confirmed by my doc last week.So much has happened since then.The most significant thing that happened is that Walt didn't make it.He died November 28th. He passed away knowing he was going in for the transplant but he never recovered consciousness. His infections were fatal;a result of the mechanical heart being in too long.If only a donor had been found sooner maybe he would be alive today.I can't emphasise enough to sign donor cards or your drivers license,make your wishes known and sign a medical directive or as it's more commonly known, a Living Will.It was heart wrenching when Ken called and told me he and Julie had decided to take their Dad off life support. We had all talked about it and Walt made his wishes known to the kids before he even went into the hospital and Ken and I had discussed it on the phone several times however when the decision is made and there is no turning back it's devastating.I can't imagine the kids' feelings at that time. I support them 100% and no one could have had their Dad's interest at heart more than them.What a wonderful legacy he and Janet left behind in Ken and Julie.The most amazing brother/sister team I've witnessed.I went back home to Cincinnati for Walt's funeral. He was buried the day after what would have been his 60th birthday.I was shocked to see how much my brother suffered evidenced by the bruises left on his body.He was so thin.And gray. My brother used to have the most full head of brown hair. I know we all age and get gray but his was almost white. Another witness to the suffering his body went through.I admire we Mitchell's for one thing if nothing else. We pull together when needed.Something Walt would be proud of but pass off as nothing he had to do with it is that we all came together and let bygones be bygones.We became a real family again if not the first time in some ways.I reconnected with my oldest sister and grown nieces. What an amazing,inspiring,awesome group of women they are.They called me "the fun Aunt"! I guess because I smoked, drank, cussed, told jokes and don't take myself too serious.Each one remembered something of their youth that I was part of and told me.You never know what an impact you are having when you are doing but it is inspiring to know you encouraged someone so close to you.My sister did an amazing job raising her 8 kids alone. And those kids love their Mom so much.I got to see Dan,Jennie and Keisha while I was there and stayed with them one night. Dan and Keisha were in a play at church so I got to go see them which was a treat. Keisha has become so grown up.No longer is she the little girl she was when I lived with them in Dayton.I just love her to pieces and she does me.Dan and Jennie have done a fine job of raising her through some difficult times.The only dark spot on the whole trip was when Steph showed up at the funeral home. Looking back,I don't even know why she came.She had told Mandy on the phone she barely remembered her Uncle Walt.She's had nothing to do with my side of the family including her siblings for years.I actually got excited when I saw her; you'd think by now I'd know better.I'm the eternal optimist though.I was talking to some family members and she walked up so I said hello. She couldn't have been more snippy if she tried.It was not quite so much as embarrassing as it was disgusting. I no longer think that the actions of my children are a reflection of me now that they are all grown and adults living on their own.I was sad that Steph didn't bring Hanna. Most of us haven't seen her in years. I last saw her when she was 7 and she will be 13 in a couple months. Really, really sad.Steph probably wasn't at the funeral home more than 5 minutes. I'm not even sure if she properly p-aid her respects to Ken and Julie.She really showed her butt though and family members who once thought I might be exaggerating her treatmen[...]

feeling disconnected


I received an e-mail from my sister this morning and after reading it,I just feel disconnected somehow.Here is the e-mail which describes my brother's condition at present.HI Marge,Just got time for a quick note, I’m already late leaving for work.Walt is about as critical as you imagined. There are at least 9 IV medications going, all on monitors, He has a continuous EEG checking his brain waves, they are sedating him and want to make sure he doesn’t get too sedated. He has chest tubes draining his chest. ,there is a tube down his throat draining his stomach. He is on a ventilator. There is a bandage covering his chest, but you can see the heart moving under it. It’s weird cause it is really loud, usually you can’t hear a heart beating. He has a nurse sitting at the foot of his bed watching him constantly. I asked the nurse about the bleeding, she said it wasn’t unusual after they have been on the artificial heart, they have to administer blood thinners and it takes the body a while to recover it’s clotting ability. He had 22 units in surgery and 10 post op.Yesterday before we left we visited for a couple of minutes. He was a little less sedated, and he was moving his hands and feet a little bit, but never opened his eyes. He is having trouble maintaining his blood pressure, it was 84/42 while we were there, and that was with medicine to keep it up. They are trying to wean the medicine because it is limiting his circulation to his feet, so his feet are mottled purple.Julie and Ken are real troopers, Julie has been home only about 10 days in the last 3 months. She challenges the doctors when she doesn’t agree with something. Ken said one time they were wheeling him to surgery and she said, I think he has a fever, and the nurse said No he was fine. Julie said Humor me, check his temperature again, and it was 102.8. So they cancelled the surgery that day.The heart they gave him was a 30 year old, but that is all they would say. The doctor that is overseeing his care, told Ken, “we were really particular that it be a young and fit heart, b/c we knew it was going to really have to work hard to keep your Dad alive”. His heart rate has been in the 120’s for days.We had a nice visit on Saturday nite, went out to dinner and they back to the hotel lobby where Ken set up a Wii game and we played for 3 hours. It was really nice to reconnect with both of them.Well , got to go, Keep praying. Walt goes to surgery today to close his chest.In years past when someone in the family was critically ill, mainly my Mom and Dad we siblings would rally around the one who was ill and support each other.Situations are such most of us can't do this for Walt.Some days I wonder if it would make a difference in his recovery if we could do that. Maybe not,buy you wonder.If he could hear our voices, feel our touch, listen to our memories would it help make him well? I feel so bad for my neice and nephew to shoulder the burden alone,although they would never see it or call it a burden.I guess what I mean by burden is the extreme weight of carrying the load just between the two of them;the decisions that have to be made,the time spent away from home.I feel so helpless on the other side of the country and can do nothing physically to help.I am feeling disconnected from my siblings.There is one I haven't been able to find and another that I leave messages with who doesn't answer calls.My oldest sister relays the messages to our youngest brother who relays them to the oldest brother.I e-mail all those I can. I guess I'm missing the physical connection we all had spending time with each other at the hospital in times of crisis.No one had to explain a history;we all knew the history.These people were the witness of my life spent up to that point and I was to theirs.This is the first sibling we've had to deal with such a serious illness and the possibility of losing.I don't think any of us are rea[...]

Thoughts of my brother


Some may know my brother Walt has been very sick and fighting a battle with heart disease.He was diagnosed many years ago, maybe 20, with cardiomyopathy. This is the same thing my Mother contracted and died from, my oldest brother has it and Walt's son has been diagnosed with it.Walt became very ill last December and was admitted to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati several times. Eventually the doctors there could do no more for him and arrangements were made for him to go to the Cleveland Clinic to await a heart transplant. This was last July.Walt has had a rough row to hoe since he's been there.Early on he was to be transplanted but as it turned out the donor heart was a good match but an unhealthy heart.He was having lots of ups and downs, sometimes more downs than ups.Eventually, his heart was sick enough and no donor heart available so they removed all but a small section of his diseased heart to hook him up to a mechanical heart, which we call his artificial heart.One of the side effects of the mechanical heart is serious infection which he developed.After the mechanical heart, which by the way is a huge machine almost 5 ft tall that would sit at the foot of his bed and wires and tubes connected inside his chest, he lost over 100 lbs of fluid that had built up inside his body from the heart not functioning.Soon after that he was able to get on a treadmill and begin a limited exercise program to rebuild his strength. I would call him and it was astounding the change in his voice.At first he was so weak he sounded like a 90 yr old man barely able to talk.By late last week he was just about his old self again.Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning, he was transplanted with a donor heart. We assume the donor was a male between the ages of 30-35 because that's what we were told would be what the surgeons and transplant team felt would be best for him.Almost immediately after transplantation he developed serious complications. He was bleeding profusely and required 20 litres of blood that day. When they opened him up they discovered the infection was much worse than they expected to find. He developed a high fever and his white blood count was very high.Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, he became more ill. He became extremely septic and they put him on dialysis, risking his kidneys to save his life.They were giving him megadoses of every antibiotic they could which could blow out his kidneys.We were told to prepare for the worst.It was a somber Thanksgiving for all the Mitchell's. His son and daughter were at the hospital alone waiting for news of their Dad instead of home having a happy celebration with their families.I tried to focus on what there was to be thankful for and there were many things I thought of.I live a good life;I live in a free country and because of that enjoy freedoms others don't have;I have healthy children and grandchildren; although I may not be as healthy as I could be my ailments are not life threatening;I have access to good medical care and medicine;I have a really great guy in my life who treats me like a queen;I have a beautiful home in a great neighborhood,with many terrific neighbors who have become friends;I get to volunteer at a place that is spectacularly beautiful and have great people that I volunteer with;I get to go back in time to history of the 1850's and recreate events for the folks who visit and especially the children. I have been able to travel;I have had some utterly sad things happen to me however I've learned great lessons so I value these as well. I have an internet community of friends that couldn't be closer even though most of us have never met and never will.They even included my brother and our family in their Thanksgiving blessings.These are the things I focused on during my Thanksgiving day.I've thought about my brother a lot of course in the recent months.I guess when you are threatened with losing someo[...]

Skidmark Cards


A lady on one of my message boards has a brother-in-law who makes these cards.It's in tribute to her daughter,who committed suicide last year and 100% of the proceeds go to fund domestic violence women's shelters. cards are a smart a$$ and tongue in cheek way of breaking up. They are not nasty, hurtful,(well,I guess you received one you'd be hurt), or profane.In fact,they lend to the humorous side,although again,if you received one you may not find the humor.I can see teenagers or college aged kids using these a lot.And some adults if they have a real sense of humor.It's ironic I was given this link today because I had wanted to comment on domestic violence in teens.It is so prevalent yet swept under the carpet.A young gal wants to fit in and be part of a relationship,if possible,part of the "in" crowd.She will allow herself to be mistreated verbally,physically,spiritually just to be part of something.Teens want to blend in and fit's the time in their life they rebel against parents,rules,the system and anything else they can think up.The one time a teen gal needs to listen to her parents she is most likely not to.She will even try to hide the symptoms of abuse from her parents and family.If confronted,she will be angry they would even think such a thing.If she is blessed she will have a friend who looks out for her,that is willing to risk the friendship and speak to an adult.Most of her friends are too self-absorbed to care or don't want to create waves.They feel their own relationships are in jeopardy if they speak out.Often,the boyfriend of the victim is the friend of her friend.If the friend speaks out,she risks losing her own relationship because of it.This same scenario can play out in gay relationships as well as heterosexual relationships.In a gay relationship the teen is isolated already because they don't want to come out of the closet and then further isolated because of the abuse.In both the abuser will try to isolate his victim from family and friends convincing the victim they are are no good for her.He will manipulate situations to make her think his thinking is correct.There is the issue of date rape in teen situations.It isn't always just "dating" but in established relationships too.He will control her and if she says no will be abused in some way and forced to comply.Anytime sex is not consensual without force it is rape.If any young women see this,please hear my words.Your body is your body.It's not his.He doesn't own you therefore he doesn't have the right to "take" what is his.It isn't love,it's lust.Love does not harm. Sometimes your feelings hurt or your heart breaks but love does not harm.Regardless what he says,listen to me,it's a bunch of bullmalarkey.This same young man who willingly abuses you is likely to walk away and abandon you if you become pregnant. Practice safe sex.Practice it for your future.Practice it for your health.Practice it because you are important enough.I won't preach about premarital sex although I prefer you'd wait.If you are choosing to play like an adult then be prepared to pay the consequences-alone.He will not stand by you,regardless what he says to you now.Do not take on his guilt or his consequences.When he says he is sorry because.... or he wishes he hadn't but.... or if you had only..... or if you had.... or if your would.....he is full of it.It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him.He has a personality disorder and you'd be best to recognize it now and get away.Get some counseling to look within yourself and figure out why you were attracted to this personality.If you don't you are doomed to repeat the same thing over again and again until you do.Be smarter than some of us adult women who didn't figure it out until we were much older.And if he says he will kill himself or others if you don't stay with him,it's a load o[...]

I am a victor,not a victim


The last few posts concerned how I ended up in a domestic violence situation,what some of the signs are and what it's like to live through it.This time I want to give the end of the story or as it is today.Upon leaving the shelter I still had challenges. My abuser was told by someone who meant well and didn't understand the situation where I was and my new phone number.To say it struck fear in my heart would be an understatement. Everytime there was a knock at the door I froze.Everytime I heard a strange noise in the middle of the night I panicked.Everytime I left the apartment I felt I had to watch everywhere afraid he's be lurking somewhere.I had no car and depended on the kindness of a couple gals I met while in shelter and my daughter Mandy.She would give up one of her off days to ride me around to go to doctor appointments,shop and generally just hang out.I can't even explain how good that was for my soul.After being estranged from her for that long while it was really special.It came about that I knew Bob,my present partner.It's a long story that I don't want to get into in this space but I implemented all I had learned in this new relationship.I wasn't any easy mark this time.I was skeptical,untrusting,suspicious, looked for red flags.They had told me in shelter during therapy that there were good men out there and when I changed how I was I'd attract them to me.I hardly believed it.I knew there were good men,don't get me wrong, but that "I" would find one I was less than hopeful and to tell you the truth,I wasn't looking either.I had made up my mind that I could live happily relationship free the rest of my life.I had been married twice,had other relationships,been around the block a couple times,had children and grandchildren so what did I need to get tangled up in another relationship?So, God in His infinite wisdom and with a bountiful sense of humor had other plans.Just as life was progressing Bob pops into my life.At first,we were just phone buddies, just developing a friendship and that was more than fine with me.He was in California and I was in TX so it was safe.Truthfully,I had suspicions he could be making up most of what he said about himself knowing we'd never meet in person,so I played along.In time I figured out he was for real and he found out I was for real.We talked endlessly on the phone,I had unlimited long distance and we both had cell phones that had unlimited night minutes.The time change between us worked in out favor.We exchanged mail too.After a few months he felt it was time for us to meet.He could fly to Houston or I could go to CA. I just instinctively knew I'd be OK if I went out there.Of course,everyone who knew me thought I was making foolish judgements again and hadn't learned a thing.I could empathise with them and would have felt the same way if I was them.My theory was this,if he even got close to hurting me I would be so angry with him and myself I wouldn't have wanted to be him. I wasn't going to just be a victim anymore.And,I had never been to CA before and the likelihood of me ever making it were slim to none.I wanted to see San Fransisco. It was an all expenses paid trip so what the heck.Everyone back in TX had my itinerary and I checked in daily.From the moment we met after me coming off the plane it was as if we were old friends who had been separated a few weeks.We spent 10 days together and they went fast.Too fast. I didn't want to leave which surprised me. And he didn't want me to leave which surprised him.He said he needed me to go back home to see if he would really miss me. I thought that was refreshing and healthy.So home I went and resumed my life. And we continued to talk daily as we had.We covered every possible subject that could be covered.I logged over 27000 minutes on my landline alone in all the talking we did.We figured that's more than some [...]

Thoughts from a survivor


The last two posts were very graphic about what abuse can be like,more specifically,mine.For each victim there will be a different story however threads of similarity run through each one.It starts out benign. A comment made here and there;almost could be taken one way or another and if you were to call the person out they would make you believe you were wrong.Later,a slap or some other physical manifestation of abuse.Money is controlled because money is power.Time is controlled;the abuser wants to account for your every minute even during times that should be private like in the bathroom.Knocks on the door,"what are you doing in there" or "how long does it take"?Your way of dress or even buying clothing is questioned.Your makeup,hair, jewelry and nails are brought into question.Your friendships are questioned. Slowly, you let each one fall by the wayside because you are convinced there really are ulterior motives behind each one.Or,it just isn't worth it to argue over anymore.Sometimes,even family relationships fall by the wayside because the abuser finds fault or you are hiding the awful truth of how you REALLY live.You are suspect at your workplace.You must be having an affair.You are timed to go shopping and the mileage checked.You must be having an affair.If you talk to neighbors without the abuser present you must be telling them "our" business.You start hearing nothing you do is right.The way you cook,the way you keep house,the way you talk, the way you care for your children and the way you are a lover.No one could be as incompetent as you.You are called names.The mouth of the one who professes to love you can spew such hatred and venom you don't even recognize this person.You are humiliated,embarrassed, and invalidated.Meanwhile your self- worth is diminishing.Your self-esteem is almost nonexistant.You are so tired.Extremely exhausted and fatigued.The daily barrage of hatred and abuse is taking it's toll.You muster up whatever you can to get through each day,wondering how you will find what you need for tomorrow.The physical abuse starts. You are shocked that the hands of one who once treated you as a treasure now can hurt you so bad. It's actually a surprise at first.He promises it will never happen again and you believe it.But,it does happen again.And again.And again.......It never relents.In some cases the abuse can take years to escalate and others months.The only fact is it DOES escalate-always.We stay because after the abuse there is the honeymoon phase or cooling off period.There can be absolute bliss. It's as if the abuse never happened.And,we easily want to forget it.We desperately want to believe it will never happen again.But,it does.We think we want to stay together "for the kids sake".What we don't realize is the kids are severely impacted by our choice.They are witnessing violence on a daily basis.We would give our life to protect them from an outsider harming or hurting them but we subject them to violence daily.We protect them from violence on TV but they see it played out in their home.All in the name of love.We want to hang on because we remember the good times.And,maybe everyday isn't a bad day so we fool ourselves.What we aren't realizing is it isn't the relationship we now have we want to hang onto but the dream of what we wanted it to be.We lose respect for ourselves.Our children lose respect for us. Our extended families,friends and coworkers lose respect for us.They love us and are fearful for us but respect is nonexistent because no one understands what is really happening.We live in fear. Fear of when the next incident will happen.Fear of letting down our guard. Fear of what those close to us will think if they knew. Fear of the family disintegrating.Fear of the unknown if we changed our circumstances.We make excuses. We make pacts with the devi[...]

Why doesn't she leave-Part 2


Yesterday,I discussed my story and how it was I ended up in a domestic violence situation.I apologize it 's long but felt I had to do it that way to give the background how someone gets into that situation.I feel once folks know how it can happen they can be compassionate and proactive when it happens.I left you with my total despair at the loss of my marriage and how used I was by my then husband.He had not one compassionate bone in his body at that moment. I didn't even recognize this person I had known almost a quarter of a century.I waited for the end to come without saying a word.I didn't want to live and I wanted to never feel the hurt I had felt all my life again.I was silent,mute.I guess I drifted into unconsciousness. I, of course, don't remember.I am told it was longer than an hour before he called 911.He didn't want to be embarrassed because we both belonged to the local fire department and the paramedics would know us.I am also told he left me alone and went to the local Walgreens to purchase syrup of Ipecac to make me vomit the contents of my stomach.I know you should never induce vomiting in an unconscious person and he knew it too.He was a certified EMT.To this day I have a few friends who think he should be guilty of attempted murder.Apparently,I was taken to the hospital and my stomach pumped and was given some kind of charcoal stuff to absorb what might be left in my system.As a side note, let me tell you that is bad stuff and would keep me from ever attempting it again.I came to in the afternoon with my family and a couple friends in the room.I was so disgusted with myself that I had failed and would live to be hurt over and over again.I knew I could never have whatever it took to do this again.Paul tried to apologize for his words pushing me over the edge but I just couldn't believe he was truly remorseful.I somehow knew his hurting me would go and on if I allowed him back into my life.I remember vaguely screaming at him to leave.I was transferred to a psychiatric hospital on the other side of Houston.I was told by Paul when he and the kids came to visit me 2 days later that it was 58 miles one way and didn't intend to make a second trip.I was hospitalized for a week.In that time I met another patient.He was intriguing to me. He wasn't really like so many of the other patients.His illness wasn't outward.Neither was mine. To just observe us we didn't manifest mental illness symptoms.I was diagnosed with acute clinical depression and bipolar disorder.I really had no idea what bipolar was or what it meant even though I had a brother who was schizophrenic and bipolar. I knew most of the symptoms I had witnessed with him were from the schizophrenia;I really didn't know the bipolar symptoms and I was grateful I had only inherited the bipolar disorder. I learned that bipolar is/can be hereditary.The staff after hearing my life history said they were not surprised I was there but surprised it had taken so long for me to to get there.During my stay I became friendly with this man,Oscar. I could have an intelligent conversation.He wasn't hitting on me. He seemed quiet and in control. He liked to play rummy as I did so we played game after game.At that time,in my insane state I felt he was a good friend.It came time for us to be released.I called Paul because I didn't know anyone else to call to come pick me up and take me to my condo.My car was parked there and I had no cash on me.He refused.My only other option I knew was to take a taxi and stop and get the money from the ATM and it would take just about all I had in my account.It was my only alternative.Oscar had been working with the powers that be at the institution to provide him transportation but he really had no place to go home to.So between us we cooked up this hare-brained idea tha[...]

Why doesn't she just leave?


I am listening to my son Dan's podcast he taped at the One voice Walk in memory of Cheryl Dawson and other victims of domestic violence.One victim gives her account of her life living with her abuser.Her story could be many victims accounts.Pieces of it could be mine.I have hesitated to write details of my abuse because I've wanted to shield my children from hearing what their Mother was living.I wanted to spare them the hurt,pain and embarrassment I perceive they would feel.I guess I need to start at the beginning. It didn't start in the months preceding my entering a domestic violence women's center or shelter as it is known.It started in my childhood,I guess it would be fair to say actually at my birth.I was not planned,my Mother's fifth living child.Her first was stillborn and I truly believe his death shaped the family dynamics forever.I was premature and cost the family in fiances they were hard pressed to afford.The other kids could be treated by a general physician,I required a pediatrician.I was always reminded of the circumstances at my birth and early months every birthday and any other occasion my Dad deemed necessary.I grew up feeling by my mere existence I owed a great debt to my family.I felt ashamed to have caused so much trouble.Some of my earliest memories are ways I tried to compensate however inept I was at that age.I never asked for a need to be met.I of course would never expect a want to be taken care.I tried to eat as little as I could so there would be more for the rest of the siblings.I took on the responsibility of the 4 younger siblings who followed me at preschool age.I tried my best to be intuitive of the needs of my family and met them the best I could sometimes before they even knew they needed them.I grew up a scapegoat and people pleaser.I was verbally abused almost on a daily basis by my father and even my older brothers.I was reminded that I was an inconvenience.I will never forget the words of one brother who said to me "when we were told of your impending birth I thought great; it meant we'd have more of nothing".My father became physically abusive to the point of cruelty as I got older.I suffered sexual abuse at an early age,my first memories are of age 4 until I was almost married at age 17.My father was not my sexual abuser but other male members of my immediate family.I was told once that by using me it kept his girlfriend from becoming pregnant.I was told I owed it to him by another.I was told it was happening to protect the little ones.And,even if I told, no one would believe me which turned out to be true at the age of 44 when I finally told my Dad.One evening the physical abuse by my Dad was so severe he threw me from room to room and my Mom stood by and watched.As a Mother myself,I can't imagine choosing to let someone harm one of my children right before my eyes and not stepping in to stop it.I don't know if she felt I deserved it,felt too afraid herself to step in but I will never forget her just standing in the doorway and my eyes pleading with her to do something.I was truly afraid in his rage he would kill me.I had cuts on my face from hitting the objects I was thrown against and my jaw was badly bruised.I was 15 years old.He threw me out of the house and even though others interceded on my behalf he had me thrown into the juvenile hall that night.I slept on a cold floor with a thin blanket and mat and fought off two lesbians.That was my first encounter with that type of sexuality.Until then I hadn't even known it existed.I loved my Dad but hated him at the same time.Because of the molestation I suffered from depression and had bouts of rage.My Dad constantly was punishing me for my "temper".Of course, I know now the relevance of the acting out but back then had no idea why [...]

October-Domestic Violence Awareness Walk


Recently,my son Dan participated in "The One Voice Walk" in Cincinnati,Ohio to honor a former church member who was murdered in an act of domestic violence.The church has organized this event every year since to bring awareness to domestic violence and assist the Cincinnati YWCA to help victims when they leave shelter.Dan had asked me to contribute to his podcast before this event.At that time I couldn't.I had to get my thoughts together on this subject.Some of you may know I am a victim of domestic violence and lifelong abuse in one form or another. I have spoken out on this subject often.This year,when prompted it caused tremendous sadness within me.I didn't want to relive those experiences.Since,I reflected on what I should say.I want to offer hope.My life is as different as night and day since I was in shelter.Entering shelter was the best gift I ever gave myself although I didn't see it that way at the time.When I entered I couldn't have been lower physically,mentally,spiritually and financially.It was maybe the darkest time in my life.I was hopeless.I entered because I didn't know what else to do.I guess looking back it was the last of what survival instincts I had left.I was suicidal.Not that I was going to harm myself necessarily but it was more like if I was diagnosed with cancer I would have refused treatment;if I was going to be struck by a car I wouldn't have jumped out of the way.I was put on a suicide watch for 45 days.To say I was despondent would be an understatement.I can recall my first time on the patio at the shelter after completing my intake and staring out into the distance wondering how I got to that place in my life.My life literally flashed before me like a slide show.I believed I was somehow a bad person because I was the common thread that ran through these experiences.My intake worker had commented that no I wasn't.It was a set of circumstances set into motion made early on by others that caused me to make wrong decisions in my life.That was so foreign to me at that moment.I was raised in a good home by two parents who were faithfully married until the passing of my Mother.I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school.Catholics didn't have these kinds of situations.In my adult life I fell away from the Catholic faith but searched out and discovered my Christianity.If prayer would fix this kind of situation it would have been fixed 100 x's over.Two marriages had fallen apart and not because I didn't try my hardest to make them work.I was involved in my community for many years.On the surface I looked like I had the perfect surburban lifestyle.Then it just fell apart.It didn't happen one day,it took many years.I entered shelter with only the clothes on my back and my Bible.I had literally nothing;I was starting over in the truest sense of the word.I was fortunate enough to have entered the Montgomery County Women's Center in Montgomery County,TX.It was a God thing.I've since learned most shelters were not run as well as the MCWC.All offer refuge and hope,don't get me wrong.This one has something unique about it.The facility itself,the staff,the community itself are all components to make it unique.I can't reveal too much for safety and privacy issues but I will be grateful forever for those who impacted my life at that time.I learned why my life had turned out the way it did.I learned how all the circumstances came together and I made the choices I did.It was up to me to take proactive action to make the changes need to be made to stop the cycle of abuse.I learned abuse comes in many forms,not just physical.I was in denial about much of my circumstances.I believed domestic violence happened to poor people in disadvantaged circumstances.Just by being in shelter I was in[...]

the importance of donating organs


My brother Walt was admitted to the hospital last week to await a heart transplant.
We've known for a few years this might be necessary but nonetheless the fact that it became a reality has me and our family stunned.
My nephew Ken was told by the nurse that his Dad would NOT be leaving the hospital without a new heart.
Apparently his heart is operating at only 15% capacity and his kidneys and liver are compromised.

It isn't just all the implications of needing the transplant to deal with but also the reality that he,his son and another brother have the same heart disease my Mom succummed to in 1975.
Will others of us face the same reality?Is this coincidence(hardly likely IMO) or a shared genetic trait?

Walt had to leave Cincinnati and was transferred to the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio because that's where his insurance would cover.he had hoped to go to Columbus to Ohio Sate University but the insurance denied that request.
Columbus was easily a day trip from Cincinnati;Cleveland is much further and would almost require an overnight stay for family so he won't have many visitors.

I pray more so for his spiritual health at this point.He readily admitted to my sister Mary he has little faith,if any.He blames God for many things in his life that didn't go the way he wanted.
One of the big ones is that his wife died at a young age.
A real miracle would be that he regained his spirituality even above a new heart.

I don't know what to expect while we await the new heart.I am agonizing over the grief and loss another family will have to endure for him to have the transplant.I just have to remind myself that God has a plan.

Something like this doesn't just affect the patient but ripples down through the family,coworkers,neighbors,family friends and even the medical staff trying to save a life.

I would ask anyone who reads this if you have been sitting on the fence with this issue or maybe have meant to get around to signing a donor card but haven't, do it now.
It takes a minute of your time to fill out the information but can give someone else years of another lifetime.



Ok,Ok,Ok.... geez Louise,already. I have been told by several folks lately I haven't updated my blog.Didn't realize you cared.What's happened since I last blogged?Hmmm, I'm over 50 so I don't remember as well as I did say,when I was 49.I went to Texas to be with Mandy to welcome Jacob to our family.Oh my gosh,let me tell you he is so precious;well, all my grandchildren are but he is the only one I was right there to be with my child when he was born.Correction,I was supposed to be right there but some complications arose with my SIL which I may or may not report.Let's just say I saw a different side of him than what I did in a phone relationship and he leaves a lot to be desired IMO as a husband,Dad and SIL.Jacob took to me right away.I can still feel his little self snuggled up against me.I called him "my little man" because his little hands were so wrinkled.It just seemed to fit.James,Jacob's big brother also took to me right away.We became bestest buddies while I was there.I taught him Patty Cakes and that has become our mantra!Both boys resemble each other,there will be a family resemblance like the Kennedy's and other families that have certain features easily identifiable.(They don't look like the Kennedy's though-they look like the Ramirez boys).Dan,Jennie and Keisha drove down to Ft. Worth from Cincinnati.It was so good to see them again.Keisha is as tall as me and wears the same size shoe and almost the same clothing size.I teased her to start picking out cool stuff so she could pass them down to me and I would look cool too.She has turned into a real fashion critic!Here's a biggest hug Keisha-((((HUG))).Nana loves you berry,berry much!!!!PJ drove up from Houston with his Dad.I got to meet his new love,a bright red Mustang.I don't think the car will ever give him the grief Sarah did.We discovered quite by accident Sarah apparently married someone she met in Iraq.I guess this means she won't be paying PJ all the money she owes him that she promised too.It was surreal to see Paul and be in his company a few days.I can honestly say I only thin of him in friendship.I think we would have made very good friends but it was a mistake to be married.I'm sure I made him as miserable as he made me.Touche,Paul.It made me miss and appreciate Bob even more than I had already.I have the best life I could possibly have here with him.We are very blessed to have found each other and get to live here in Oroville.It's a compliment to Bob that I hear over and again from those that knew me in "my other life"that they can hear in my voice I am really at peace and happy.It's even more a compliment that your ex you were married to for 22 years notices it and is genuinelly happy for you.I wish the same for him.On my flight home a lady across the aisle and four rows back had a heart attack and apparently died on the plane.Anyone who knows me,knows this would happen when I am around or involved.I always wondered what it would be like to go to Reno and we aren't that far from it but I wasn't prepared to go there in an emergency landing.Meanwhile,bob was circling around Sacramento airport waitibg for me to come out with my luggage.After we landed and they removed the lady from the plane they told us we could use our cell phones as it would be awhile before we arrived in Sacramento.Needless to say Bob was perturbed that I was going to be late.He had to keep finding spots he could pull off for short spaces of time and it was about an houror more until I landed in Sacramento.As I reminded him later I bet that lady's son who was with her was even more perturbed for our emergency landing.Boy oh boy,it was good to be home.Home sweet home.I love my home here and as the say[...]

So here I am again


So much has happened since I last wrote. I will try to remember as much as I can and in no particular order.First of all,my condolences to those affected by the Virginia Tech massacre this week.Such a tragedy.One lesson I took from this is how short life can be and make the most of everyday.It sounds cliche but nonetheless true.Don't waste time harboring ill feelings and holding grudges.Forgive and move on.Don't forget to tell those that matter you love them.Tommorow may be too late.Our family experienced joy and sorrow this week.Last Saturday we learned Jennie was pregnant again.We were so excited and celebrated this miracle.She was told years ago she would have trouble getting pregnant again if ever.So to have a new,little precious life added to our family was exciting to say the least.Monday was Dan's birthday.I can't believe he is as old as he is.I can remember the day he was born as well as if it were yesterday.He was such a joy growing up and still is to me today.Just a couple days after finding out about the pregnancy Jennie started experiencing troubling symptoms.They went to the ER and were told she most likely was miscarrying.My heart aches for them.I can only imagine what they are feeling.Prayers are going up continuosly for them.My mesage board friends have been terrific at offering prayer and support.Mandy was told she will be induced on the 7th of May.I am arriving late the 6th.I hope James likes me right away because there isn't going to be an adjustment time.They informed yesterday they signed papers to buy a brand new house.If all goes well they close the Thursday after I arrive, the 10th.Talk about a whirlwind trip to TX.Dan,Jennie and Keisha are due to arive the week before Memorial Day.I can't wait to see them.PJ is supposed to drive up from Houston sometime that week.I have had several doctor appointments since I last posted.I had another CT scan and the report is the same.The nodule in my right lung is staus quo.It is still small enough it can't be biopsied.I am scheduled every 4 months to have anoher one to watch it.I've had an MRI for my back and see the neurosurgeon tommorow.I hope he determines something can be done for my back.I am in conference through Tel-Med with a psychiatrist from UC Davis for my psych meds.It is an interesting setup.There is a large monitor set up and the doc and I converse as if we were in the same room.My doc comes in at the end and he tells her what scripts to write.I've had back X-rays and a kidney ultrasound.The kidney doc delivered unsettling news.Apparently my kidneys are functioning at 60% and I am in Stage 3 to 2 renal failure, the higher the number the better.My proteins and potassium are high and something I have to watch.He thinks the years of excessive ibuprofen have played a part in my kidneys failing.So much for our great health system in this country and folks' lack of access to health care.My smoking for so long hasn't helped either.Interestingly enough, he said with my pain complaints in my back and the blood work showing up what did he suspects there could be a tumor in my spine and is referring me to an oncologist.He doesn't think all the pain is from fibromyalgia,deteriorating discs and arthritis although that is enough in itself to cause the pain.Now,having said all the bad news I need to say I am happier than I have been in my whole life.It appears life has come full circle for me.Retirement seems to agree with me and Bob.I love my home and the life we have here in Oroville.I have a peacefulness in my life that I don't think I've ever had before.So,I am not afraid or worried just a bit concerned.I am as positive about my life as I can be and decid[...]

Volunteer Class


I graduated this week from the Lake Oroville Visitors Center volunteer class.I am now a volunteer for the California Parks Department and a docent of the Bidwell Bar Association.
I am so glad I signed up for this.I learned so much about the history,geology,tradition,culture and natural resources of this area and northern Califonia in general.I learned how and why the Dam was built and what an amazing feat it was and how the lake and Dam generate electricity and water for the region and entire state.

The early residents of this area were the Maidu and Concow Indians and what a rich culture they have.Then came the white settlers and the travestry the white people caused the Native people.It is little known that there was our own Trail of Tears here in California whereby the government rounded up all the many tribes and had them encamped in one place.Many did not survive the walk to that location.Those that did had to mix culture,traditions and language.
We still have native Maidu and Concow in this area and they try their best to keep the traditions going.

I learned about the abundant wildlife in this area and how the native people never traveled more than a 25 mile radius because this region had all they needed.
Oroville is home to the "Mother Orange Tree" now over 100 yrs old.It is believed to be the tree brought in from Mexico that fueled the citrus industry so recognized and valuable as an agracultural industry as we know it today.This region also boasts the first olive crop in California.Mrs.Ehrmann brought the olive trees right here to Oroville and the Ehrmann's were early and important residents to we have olive orchards right here in Oroville,in fact two are less than 10 minutes from my home.Almonds are also a big crop in this area and in fact most of the almonds you would eat today were grown right here in Butte county.

I learned all the recreational and habitat information about Lake Oroville.
I learned about the Department of Water Resources and California Parks Department.
Many are not aware that the Lake Oroville Dam is the largest in the country,larger than the Hoover Dam and the second largest eathern Dam in the world.

I learned we have more than 50 miles of hking,equaestrian and bike trails throughout Oroville and the Lake along with many ground campsites.The most unusual campsites are floating campsites out on the Lake.

I learned about the gold rush history and the early days of Oroville.In fact, there is a historical association called the Bidwell Bar Association that carries on the traditions and culture of that time.It is so named because John Bidwell was one of the first to settle this area and the location was named Bidwell Bar located on the Feather River that later was excavated to become Lake Oroville.The Bidwell Bar Bridge and Toll House was relacated to a nearby location now called Wyche Island to preserve them and they are an important part of our local history.The BBA has tow events a year known as Bidwell Bar Day in early May and Frontier Christmas in early December.The proceeds from the sales those days goes to sponsor assets at the Visitor Center that the state Parks Department doesn't have the funds to cover.

In the few weeks of classes we were given an excellent overview of all that encompasses the Visitor Center.I can't thank the volunteer docents and the staff that were responsible in making the class a fun,interesting and informative class.

Blog Makeover


Hi there, Dan here. If you had been a reader of this blog for some time, you knew that it was about time for a makeover. Mom recently migrated her blog to the new version of Blogger, and what you now see are the fruits of some of my efforts, with her input, of course. What else will you find here? Be sure to check back to find out.

One thing that I am liking a lot are the Labels, which, if you click, will take you to a page with posts related to that particular label. Of course it's only as rich as we make the previous posts, which takes a bit of time.

A couple other things that I like are the sections for Oroville and San Francisco, underneath which you will find some pictures from the area.

Comments are open so go ahead and leave some feedback!



It happened again this morning. I told you we are turning into old people.We were outside looking into the backyard. I was looking at the bird feeders.I thought Bob said "no way, it's time to fill the feeders". In fact, what he said was "No way. it's time to read the meters". He saw the PGE meter reader reader at the neighbors house in the back.

Melissa came up for the long holiday weekend.She hadn't been up since Thanksgiving weekend. We enjoyed her visit and as usual it went too fast.
One of the the things we did was to go visit Marty. She hadn't seen Marty since they scattered Bob's Mom's ashes back in the middle 90's. Marty is the family historian so it was good for Mel to hear some of the stories passed down to the next generation.

On Valentine's Day Bob took Marty and I to the Depot, a local restaurant here in Oroville for lunch. Marty is still in a wheelchair from breaking her hip before Christmas. She sure enjoyed getting out for awhile. I enjoy going to the Depot because it is a historical landmark here in Oroville. it is the train station that folks used coming in from Nevada back during and after the gold rush days on their way to San Fransisco.It still has some of the same gardens it had way back then.The building is much like it was back then and the railroad tracks still run along outside the building.There is a bank of windows on the one side and if you are eating when a train passes you can imagine the early times when passengers would disembark; this was the first stop coming out of Nevada.

I had to take a 24 pee test(TMI) and return it to the lab this morning first thing and then have some blood work done. At my doc visit last week previous lab work showed something was up with my kidney function. I don't understand it but I guess as time progresses I'll be made to understand it if it pans out to be something important.
I also had a cervical back Xray done and it showed a severe narrowing of my neck vertebrae and the discs are shot. I am being referred to a neurosurgeon. Don't know what he will be able to do. I have to wait at least 2 weeks to get an appointment. At this point almost anything has to be better than living with this chronic pain. I can't hardly sleep anymore. I get maybe 3-4 hours sleep a night and that's not consecutive.

I am getting excited about making plans to go to Texas in May to see Mandy and have Dan and his family meet up with us.We are hoping PJ will be able to join us.

Not much else is happening from here.I'll report again soon.

Congratulations,Mandy and Alfred!


I can't believe it's this far into the new year and I am first posting again.Of course,I've been real busy doing basically nothing!

I've decided Bob and I are officially turning into old people.This past week at least three times one of us had to say "what did you say"? to the other one when something didn't make any sense.The hearing is starting to go.

I am going to start classes at the nd of the month at the Lake Oroville Visitors Center to be a volunteer.This is through the Califonia Parks and Wildlife Department and the Bidwell Bar Association.
I'm not exactly sure what all my duties will be but I think generally they will be to greet visitors to the center and assist them with touring the area,supplying them with information and material about the history of Lake Oroville and the Lake Oroville Dam(the tallest earthen dam in the US and second tallest in the world),the history and geography of the Oroville,Butte County and northern California area.
here is a link to the Oroville home page:

We finally received a few days of much needed rain.We went 37 days without.This was one of the driest January's in recent history.

I am in the process of planning a trip back to Texas in May.
Mandy needs me to come to Ft.Worth to help with James when she has Jacob,Since I'm going to be back there we are trying to put together a family reunion.It looks like Dan,Jennie and Keisha are going to get come down from Ohio and we are trying to see if PJ will be able to make it from Houston.We contacted Steph and she won't be able to make to make it.
We haven't all been together since 1999.
I'm really looking forward to seeing my kids.

Today at 3PM Central time Mandy becomes Mrs. Alfred Ramirez. It is low key since it's her second marriage.
She and Alfred have come a long way since they first got together.They've been through some real struggles.
I've seen Alfred really grow under Mandy's love and seen Mandy blossom under his.
I wish them all the best.It isn't about the wedding day;it's about the marriage.
Congratulations,Mandy and Alfred.

scatter brained


Somehow,all the planning and preparation to have an easy holiday season didn't quite work out that way.

Here it is one week before Christmas and I'm running around like a one armed paper hanger(one of my Dad's favorite sayings).

I thought I was finished wrapping only to discover about an hour ago there were 3 hidden I'd forgotten about.
The cleaning lady is due to show up any minute and the house is a wreck.I'm not sure what she will be able to do this time.I have her come in once a month to help with things that are too hard for me to do anymore.
I guess today will be her bonnus day.i will pay her normal fee but she will only have to do half the work.I have been trying to clean before she gets here but my mind is too scattered.
I mailed Christmas cards with no return address;forgot to mail cards I meant to;have addressed cards twice to some of the same people.

Bob's cousin fell last week outside her home and laid in the cold and rain until someone happened to come by.She broke her hip pretty bad.
She was due to go to Arizona Wednesday to spend time with her only remaining son;she didn't want to be here for the holiday as she is missing John who passed away in October.Instead we will be bringing her here with us for the holiday when she leaves the hospital.
The room she will use is covered in wrapping material and the gifts that are to go to friends and neighbors here.

I haven't shaken the cold I've had for 3 weeks.My back is hurting a lot but have to keep pressing on.

I have misplaced my address labels;I know they are here somewhere,but where?I just used them a few days ago.

I am usually so organized;someone else has invaded my body and taken over!

The one thing I am sure of is Christmas will be on the 25th and no matter what happens I am not forgetting that it is about the birth of the Christ Child.

So happy holidays to all.I will update if I can find my way to the computer in a few days!



This is my first holiday season in a small town and I am really enjoying it.There is something precious and unique that I didn't find in the larger cities I've lived.The others may have had fancier decor and more uptown celebrations yet there was something impersonal too.A few weeks ago Bob and I attended an annual celebration called "Frontier Christmas".It was walking back in time.Many of the residents dress up in period costumes and reenacted what Christmas time and holiday celebrations would have been like in those early days in Oroville.It was held at the Visitor's Center at Lake Oroville so that was a backdrop in itself.There were booths set up to show off different aspects of frontier life at that time.Kids were able to make wreaths from native plantings;they panned for gold.There was a lady showing off the toys used at that time and she played holiday music on a dulcimer.The gift shop booth was recreated into holiday decorations from that era.Some of the most creative uses from acorns,pine cones,paper and fabric I've ever seen were on exhibit and for sale.There was the ticket booth to sell tickets for the stage coach ride into Nevada and an old time preacher marrying folks as they arrived.At the concession stand was food done up as it might have been then and all the ladies were wearing their long dresses made of calico and wearing their bonnets.You paid for your food and drinks with wooden nickels you purchased at the bank.There have been ongoing celebrations in town throughout the season.There was the reception given at the Lott home by the Historical Society to honor the tradition when James Lott brought his new bride to Oroville and he used a holiday party to introduce her to her new neighbors.There was the Parade of Lights;an annual celebration that folks decorate their cars,pets,themselves and anything else and parade through the downtown business district.This officially kicks off the holiday celebration downtown.Everyone is invited to participate or just watch.There is a parade of homes that are uniquely decorated with lights and other decor that you independently drive around and then judge yourself which is best,submit your selection to the newspaper and the top three win a prize.All the downtown shops are so festive with their windows dressed in holiday decor.Some are almost recreations from the past.To end the season this year there is the Centennial Ball at the Municipal Auditorium celebrating Oroville's Centennial as an incorporated city.It began in the gold miner's days as Ophir City both names reflecting its rich(no pun intended)history as the area where the gold rush of 1849 happened.I feel blessed to get to experience the small town atmosphere with a big heart at this time in my life.[...]

Divine Presence?


A few days ago we were having a heavy rainstorm.I went into the bathroom and noticed a streak of rain droplets(or so I thought) on the mirror.I was quite concerned because just the day before we had a roofer here to check things out and he gave us a clean slate(no pun intended).Last week we had an annual heating inspection and the guy noticed some rust up over the furnace so we felt we better have it checked.The roofer said it was from an old leak that had been repaired.See,I am skittish of roof leaks since living in the house in Pittsburg .I won't ever live with open holes in the ceiling and rain leaking in again if I can help it.So,I see these droplets coming down the mirror and I look the whole ceiling over and nowhere could I find a source.I went over the entire room trying to learn where it could be coming from.The drops were coming from the top of the mirror down.Absolutely nowhere was there a source ;not even if water were splashed on the miror.Had it happened that way it would be on the side and not that high up.I even had Bob look at it to see if he could figure it out.He had no explanantion either.I joked that maybe it was going to be one of those apparitions where the Blessed Virgin appears and is crying or Jesus himself.I was of course wondering why Jesus or His Mother would pick my bathroom to have a miraculous apparition but quickly decided if they would pick one of ours,it would be mine because on any given day the one I use is cleaner than the one Bob uses.We all know cleanliness is next to Godliness and I'd imagine bathrooms fall into that category.Mary or Jesus would know I would use the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner everyday and use the Clorox wipes on the sinks.Bob probably would forget.This would be important if we were to see apparitions because then folks would flock here to Oroville to see Jesus or His Mother or whomever they designated to show up inside my mirror and have spiritual and religious experiences in that room.I was glad I hadn't gotten around to taking up the wall to wall carpet in that room yet in case people needed to kneel on the floor.This would mean I'd have to be sure to make my bed everyday as folks would be traipsing through the bedroom to get to the bathrooom.Actually the whole house would have to be spic and span clean everyday if I were to have visitors.I thought about the people that could be put to work if this happened.I'd need full time help with the cleaning;I'd need someone to clean carpets every week because of the foot traffic;we'd need someone to drive a van to bring people in because they'd have to park up by the clubhouse;our driveway only holds two extra cars at a time.There would be food to be cooked,at least cookies or a cake everyday to serve the folks while they were here.It just goes on and on.All day long those droplets were there on the mirror but, the next morning they were dried up.The spots on the mirror are still there.I'm hesitant to wipe them off in case they were representing a divine presence.Why me?Why my house and why my bathroom?I don't know but I guess I have to say God can do whatever He wants,wherever He wants,however He wants.And anyone who knows me well would know if God were to decide to make His presence known in my house it would likely be the bathroom because,well-...that's just the kind of luck I have.It wouldn't be on a grilled cheese sandwich or a painting on the wall or the side of the house-no,He would pick MY bathroom because He would think that[...]

addicted to online games!


Hello,my name is Margaret and I am an addict...
I have become addicted to playing online games at the website.I registered last year,I don't even remember how I heard about it.Isn't that the way addictions go;someone hooks you up and then before you know it you can't say no.
Actually,I started playing Poppit years ago when my family first became acquainted with a computer.That was back in the days that AOL was just about the only ISP in the game and you waited forever to get online.
When I registered for Pogo,there it was all over again,Poppit!
I don't know what it is about the game I like;the challenge of trying to pop as many ballons as possible and geting the extra tokens.Is it the challenge of knowing you likely will never pop them all?I came close a couple times,got it down to 3-4.Is it the sound of the ballons popping?Maybe it's because it only takes a reasonable amount of skill and no real mental challenge like a word game.Don't get me wrong,I like word games too.

Then I started scoping out some of the other free games and found bowling;I am much more skilled at online bowling than I ever was in real life (herein known as IRL).
I have had almost 200 point games whereas IRL my average would be like 67!

I found a game that may rival Poppit.It's called Lottso.It's a cross between Bingo and Lottery scratch off tickets.Again,just some skill but you don't need to be a brain surgeon.Considering I have about 2 brain cells working nowadays,that is right up my alley.
There is farm animal game I am trying to get the hang of that is quite challenging but it isn't quite a favorite yet although it does have potential.

Now that the winter weather is upon us and I am spending less time outdoors I am finding myself back at playing these games again.
Be warned;this too could happen to you when you are retired.

Hellodeo from Dan