Saturday, July 03, 2010
Life doesn't always give us what we want. However, it appears, that life gives us what we need. The last 18 months have been challenging but interesting. Even when I could have used less of a challenge. Here I am smiling and enjoying my new life.
I'm out working again and having a wonderful time. Retirement...for really old people...not me! Life gave me the proverbial "kick in the pants" just when I needed it. Ever one for new adventures, who am I to not rush to the fun. I am embracing the challenges, not bemoaning them. For each new day brings a new PRESENT to be unwrapped.
Each present is a new opportunity to learn, grow and discover the possibilities. How wonderful to be able to see the future with delight and optimism. For whatever happens from this day forward I am open and accepting. Bring it on...here I am, ready and waiting.
With great anticipation,
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
After checking that no bones were broken, I tried to lift him to a sitting position and that's when I saw his face. His lips were not straight...a classic sign of a stroke. Gently, I laid his head on a pillow and called 911.
By the time they got here (it felt like forever) I knew he not only had a stroke, but a very severe one. My eloquent husband was unable to speak coherently and his right side appeared to be paralyzed. The EMT's were able to get him onto the chaise in our bedroom and start an IV. They immediately called for transport to the hospital.
As I drove to the hospital in the early morning of March 5, I knew our lives would never be the same. A CT Scan and an MRI confirmed my worst fear. Jimmy had suffered what is called an MCA, Middle Cerebral Artery Stroke.
The middle cerebral artery is the largest branch of the internal carotid. The artery supplies a portion of the frontal lobe and the lateral surface of the temporal and parietal lobes, including the primary motor and sensory areas of the face, throat, hand and arm and in the dominant hemisphere, the areas for speech. The middle cerebral artery is the artery most often occluded in stroke.
He is paralyzed on the right side of his body and his ability to speak is severely impeded. One has no way of knowing there is an occlusion in this part of the brain. He was in good health and there was no indication that he was at risk for a stroke.
I started writing this shortly after Jimmy had his stroke. Every evening, when I would return from the hospital, my intention was to finish this. However, by the time I returned home I was exhausted and simply could not bring myself to the computer and write about what had happened. It was simply too terrible.
For 2 months Jimmy was in rehab, then ICU, back to rehab, then to hospice and finally to a skilled care facility. He was admitted on a Friday, late in the day. The following Wednesday morning, April 28, 2010, at a few minutes after 7, I received a phone call from the facility and then Jimmy's Dr. informing me that at some point during the night, he had aspirated and was now in the ER at the hospital.
I remember sleep walking to put on clothes and get in the car to race to the hospital. When I arrived, my poor husband had a very large oxygen mask on his face that was cutting into his cheeks. The straps could not be adjusted. It was evident he was having a very difficult time breathing even with the oxygen. About an hour after I arrived at the hospital a nurse from hospice came down to get some information and tell me he was being transported back to hospice.
Jimmy had very significant "advanced directives", much more than a simple DNR. Our Doctor called me and said "it is time to follow Jimmy's wishes". I didn't want to hear this and I knew his sister and daughter didn't want to hear this either. However, the Doctor was right. It was time to follow Jimmy's directions. After all, that is why we write out how we want our lives to end.
The stroke left him with no dignity...it was time to give him back his dignity. On Sunday morning, May 2, 2010 at 9:10 a.m. Jimmy died in my arms listening to our song..."My One and Only Love". Just before he died, as the song began to play, he opened his eyes and looked into mine. He smiled at me and then gently slipped away.
I miss him every moment of every day. I long to hear his voice, his laugh or smell the garlic he loved to saute...He was a wonderful, kind, incredibly intelligent man. He loved his family and his life. Even though he is not physically with me, I feel his presence all around me and am so grateful that we had almost 11-1/2 years together as friends and then as husband and wife.
For the almost 5-1/2 years I was married to Jimmy and lived with him, we shared so very much. Not just cooking and entertaining our friends and family but reading to one another or listening to an Opera or Elvis. We were best friends. Selfishly I would give anything to have him with me for many more years. However, I do believe I had the best of him.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
For those with children, all one has to do is think about how many times we said to ourself "I wish he/she was walking, my life would be easier" or "if only he/she could talk and tell me what is wrong". Every time we say these things to ourselves, we are rushing time. In essence, we are rushing our life away. Our children will talk and walk much more quickly then we can imagine and ultimately walk right out of our home.
We'll stand at the window on that day and wonder "where did the years go"? We are so busy living our lives that we rarely take a moment to breathe in a particular moment and hold it in our memory forever. These little memories are what makes a life. The people whom we love, the things they do, those instances of joy they bring us are all what makes a life.
Don't be so busy that you forget to look at the little things in your life. You will be grateful later. Your memory will be filled with the joy...it is the little things that make our lives full.
Cherishing the little things,
Friday, January 01, 2010
Personally, I think this decade should be known as the "The Decade of Greed and Fraud". It seems to be a good name. It started with Enron, quickly followed by Tyco and World Com. Thousands of hard working people lost their jobs, their pensions and years of loyal service because the CEO's Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski and Bernie Ebbers were very busy "cooking the books". As I recall Ken Lay's wife cried because she was going to have sell a couple of homes. I think they owned 5!
Dennis Kozlowski felt his $6,000.00 shower curtain was a necessity and Bernie Ebbers made the Top Ten List of Crooked CEO's! These 3 men seemed to set the stage for the rest of what happened in the first decade of the 21st century. We have watched as Freddie MAC and Fannie MAE along with all the sub-prime mortgage lenders have lent money to people who could never pay it back, to buy homes they truly could not afford!
We have fallen victim to the Bernie Madoff's and others like him who lived LARGE while they stole our money. Our government has decided that there are companies that are "too big to fail" and have therefore given them taxpayer money to keep them afloat. They took the taxpayer's money and threw themselves huge parties and paid out huge bonuses! The bonuses were to keep the employees that ruined their businesses from jumping ship.
Is it just me??? I wouldn't want to retain people who helped my company lose all that money. Nor would I have approved the government bailout. That's what bankruptcy is for! We now have AIG saying they have no intention of paying back the money so the government will own them or at least the lion's share. Chrysler has also said they are not paying anything back...
I do believe this decade has been all about greed and fraud and that's what we should call it! I just bet you'll agree with me.
Let's hope 2010 brings us all health, happiness, prosperity, joy and an abundance of love. We should pray for peace and hope the greedy get what they deserve!
Happy New Year,
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Last year, at this time, my husband and I discovered that, we, along with many others had lost our life savings in the biggest Ponzi scheme this country has ever seen. We were certain that we had enough money to live on for the rest of our lives with plenty left over for the children. Surprise! In addition to losing all of our money, our 2 year old home had lost more than 1/2 it's value. Therefore, selling it was not an option.
One's first reaction is complete shock and then disbelief and denial. Denial is such a good place to live. I chose to live there for a couple of days. Soon, I realized, denial was not going to pay our bills. Of course, I had no idea how I was going to pay our bills. We were accustomed to living a very comfortable lifestyle with all the toys that go with it. Now, we were going to have to live on our social security checks.
How in the world would we do that? I quickly learned. Fortunately, for most of my life I've collected Lalique and Baccarat. After taking pictures of my beautiful pieces, I posted them for sale on eBay. The pity is that I hadn't learned how to sell on eBay prior to posting all these pieces of art. Unfortunately they sold for very little, however, it was more than we had coming in and the people who bought my little treasures, I believe, love them as much as I did.
Being a quick study, my learning curve for eBay didn't take as long as one would think. We were able to live from eBay sales for the first 4 months of the year. I also had beautiful jewelry. My hope had always been for the girls in my life...granddaughters, daughter in law, step daughter, adopted daughter and her daughters and my niece to inherit my jewelry.
That isn't going to happen. It was all sold! However my foresight served me well. You see, I have always believed that I didn't want to wait until I was dead for my girls to receive the jewelery I loved. So over the years I've given them various pieces of jewelry and love seeing them wear something of me. Once again, we had money to pay the bills.
We have also had the generosity of family to help us out financially. There are not enough ways to say "thank you" to the people in our life that have been so open and kind to us. Since January I have been looking for a job. We know that there are very few openings out there. However, I believed that with the years of experience I have, it wouldn't be difficult. It's not difficult...it's impossible! 20+ years in my own business, doing every job, hasn't seemed to help! Searching for a position is very different today than it was in the "olden" days.
One cannot call to make an appointment. One has to email a cover letter and resume. I am convinced that if your letter and resume do not have neon lights and dancing girls, it doesn't get seen. Yet, I still send out my letters and resumes and go to every retail store in the area to apply for a job. My experience includes everything from Laboratory Technician (abnormal hematology) to public speaking...from packing and shipping boxes in my factory to selling my products at trade shows...teaching classes in customer service (one can tell I no longer teach these classes, because there is no customer service anymore) to answering phones. I've been an accountant, an assistant controller and a plain bookkeeper.
There is no job too big or too small. I will do anything and have, as long as it was legal. People say "you're overqualified". I believe I am "fully qualified". It is now a year since we realized our investments were gone! This is a tough month. I haven't run out of things to sell. It's just that my Judith Leiber and Kathrine Baumann bags aren't being auctioned for another 5 days.
If you're interested go to www.ha.com and do a search for Judith Leiber or Kathrine Baumann. You'll see the bags I have left. The beginning prices are great for these exquisite pieces of art. Hopefully, they will all sell for a lot of money and in January we will be able to pay some bills. Until then, I will be grateful for my health and that my husband is healthy and count my blessings.
Thanks for listening,Eileen
How did I get here? This is a question I ask myself daily when I pass the mirror. Yesterday I was 18. This May I was 65...how did it happen overnight? I have a very vivid memory that has been with me since New Year's Eve 1949. My parents had a party at our home.
My bedroom became the coat closet for the guests. Mother or dad were in and out every few minutes early in the evening dropping off coats. With each coat was this statement, "can you believe how quickly this year has gone?" I was 5! The year didn't go quickly...it took forever. The last Rosebowl parade was a million years ago.
Have you noticed when children are young and one asks their age they always use fractions. How old are you little girl/boy? I'm 4-3/4 or 5-1/2. How many people over 30 have you ever heard use a fraction when telling their age? It would never occur to us to say "I'm 32-1/2". The wonder has gone out of growing older or the need to get there more quickly.
Funny how, as we get older that changes. As a pre-teen I couldn't wait to be a teen-ager. Once I became a teen-ager I couldn't wait to finish high school and go off to college and freedom and my 21st birthday. I know I went to sleep one night when I was 18 and the next thing I knew I received a piece of mail that said "Information for Medicare"!
Medicare information. Certainly not for me. How could this have happened? When did this happen? Aren't I still a kid? Okay my children are in there 40's but whose fault is that...not mine! I blinked and all of sudden they were older than me with children of their own who call me Bubbie. All I did was blink.
I know that if I could just keep my eyelids from blinking the years would not continue to fly by. One of the worst side effects of getting older is that as we age the years go even faster. How fair is that? Just when we are starting to get it right the time goes so quickly that one barely has time to get out of bed, shower and start the day and it's time to go to sleep.
It would be wonderful if we not only could stop blinking but didn't require sleep! We would then have a full 24 hours of each day to now use all the knowledge we have spent years aquiring. So I ask again, "how did I get here"? I know, you'll answer, the same way we all do!
Of course, the good part is that we are getting older and when we wake up we are looking at the grass from this side. The other benefits are the ability to finally say what we truly think, kindly, of course. Honesty can be so gratifying. We also start feeling better about who we are. No longer do we worry about how the world sees us. We can barely see ourselves without a mirror that has a magnification of 16 x or higher. I believe this is one of God's gifts to us. If one looks in the side of the mirror that has no magnification we cannot see what time has done to our face.
On the one hand I say "don't blink"...on the other it appears that aging is not so bad. We now have license to say what we feel and to think much more highly of ourselves. If only the birthdays didn't get here so fast. Remember, life's short, eat dessert first!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
No, I'm not addicted to drugs or alcohol, my addiction is much more insidious! I am addicted to a game on Facebook. It is called "Farm Town". One actually has a farm! It must be planted and the crops reaped and then replanted to make money to buy seeds to plant, buildings and flowers and trees and when one reaches a certain level, one can put in a river.
I have never had an addiction...probably not true. I was addicted to my ex-husband...another story for another day! Now, I am truly addicted...I have a compulsive need for this game. It has become habit forming. I do feel withdrawal symptoms when I am not tending my farm.
My friends and some of my family have come right along with me and we are all addicted! Actually, we are all certifiable!!! None of us can stay away from our farms. We are neighbors, we go to the marketplace to sell our harvests and plead for work to make more money to buy more things for our farms.
We are obsessed with reaching the next level or 2 or 3 so we can enlarge our farms, or buy a better farmhouse or a barn or a watermill or a watertank or a greenhouse or a gazebo!!! We beg for plowing jobs to earn experience points which help us move up a level. As of this moment, the developers of the game only go to level 34. I have a feeling that will change. It seems every week they are adding something new.
One can only imagine the revenue they are making from the advertisers who clamor for a spot next to our farms in the hope that we will click on their ad. It makes me sad that 10 years ago I didn't go to school to learn how to write programs and create something as ingenious as this game. "Farm Town" could be used by college professors to teach business skills. It is that complex while being a simple game to play.
I have made acquaintances around the world because of this game. I have never spent as much time at the computer, other than for work, than I am right now. It is cunning, it gets into your psyche and you are "caught". I'd love to finish this column, however my raspberries are ready to be harvested so I must go.
Reaping what I sow,
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
I answered, "I am neither a Democrat or a Republican". When I was 21 (the age one had to be to vote in the old days), my place of residence was Manchester, NH. In New Hampshire, when I was 21, one could register as an independent and still vote in the primary for everyone running.
Here I am, many years later and still an independent! I cannot ever remember voting along party lines. My vote has always gone to the person I felt would do the best job. I find this criteria is more difficult these days. If I had my way, no incumbent in Congress would be voted back into office.Actually, I do have my way...at the ballot box! That is where I exercise this right.
The writer of this comment obviously missed the entire point of the last post. It wasn't about his infidelity (who cares). It was, in fact, about dereliction of duty! That doesn't matter if one is a Democrat or a Republican. Imagine, if you would, taking 5 days off from a job and not telling anyone where you were going to be or asking one of your co-workers to fill in for you. Do you believe you would have a job when you returned? Of course not.
Now imagine that you are the Chief Executive of a State...the Governor. You leave your office, you do not tell your staff, your Lieutenant Governor or even your wife that you are leaving the state and will be gone for about 5 days. Let's continue playing "just pretend"...a category 4 hurricane has hit your state. Who is going to make the necessary decisions to deal with this emergency? It is, in fact, the job of the Governor to make these decisions...The same Governor who was AWOL two years ago when there were wildfires in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The entire point of my last column was this. One cannot expect to be Chief Executive of a State or a corporation or Commander In Chief and simply disappear without letting the next responsible person know that you are going away! So dear commenter...read the column again. Perhaps you'll get it this time!