Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween Birthday!

Jessica age 2

My sister's second grandchild was born on October 31, 2006.  She's 13 today!

I was her daycare provider as well as her big sister's, so I got to spend a lot of time with the two girls.

We knew that Jessica's birth was imminent, but we didn't know exactly when.

My sister was still living in Maryland, about 60 miles away.  She had been visiting me that day.  She and I were in the bird store (The Bird Feeder - Reston VA). looking at bird feeders and paraphernalia.

My cell phone rang.  It was my nephew, my sister's son.  He asked "is my mom with you?".  My sister had left her phone in the car.

I handed my phone to my sister.  I could here my sister saying "she's here?  she's born?".

We rushed to the hospital and met Jessica for the first time!

Jessica Sewing about 2 years ago.

2019  pedicure

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I drove my car today!

I know, big deal.  I've been driving forever.  But, I have not driven since my knee replacement surgery on August 6th.  Actually, even before then because we went to Oregon and Nick did all the driving there.

Nick has been riving me everywhere because I have had to much difficulty getting into and out of the car.  I tried it out this morning, driving around the neighborhood.   It went fine.

I discovered though that I have to put the driver's seat all the way back and open the door all the way.  Otherwise I do not have enough flexibility to get my leg and foot in.

I thought,oh boy, I am out on my own.  I can go get my hair cut.  I can get my nails done.

I went to my Tuesday morning Breastfeeding Cafe' that I host at Starbucks.  A lot of moms came and it was really great.  But then I was pretty much done and ready to come home.

I did drive by our :old" house.   It did not evoke any emotions which I thought it would.   I guess it just felt good that someone is living there and hopefully making a happy home.  There were a lot of cars in the driveway, so I guess they had company.

I stopped in front of the Giant grocery store in Reston to drop off some plastic bags to recycle.  Hollis, our favorite bagger was there.  I He came and gave me a hug and said he hadn't seen me in such a long time.  That was so nice.  he told me to say hello to Nick!

On the way home, when I was stopped at a red light, I saw about a dozen motorcycle police on the road leading into Rt 50 where I was.  If I hadn't been driving I would have taken a picture.  You usually (never actually) see anything like that unless there is an entourage, but I didn't see one.

Tomorrow, back to physical therapy and Nick driving.    Since I have to take pain medication, I can't drive.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Fake News and Journalists

Donald Trump, the current president of the United States of America uses the term "fake news"  He spouts off the term when referring to any news organization of journalist that

doesn't agree with him, or questions him at all.

As a result, his followers claim that all news is fake and there are no such thing as a journalist.
It offends me that anyone believes the claims of Trump.  But it also baffles me how anyone can believe in Donald Trump.

He is rude, crude and dishonest.  He takes credit for things he has nothing to do with.  He blames others for anything that he thinks might make him look bad.   He shouldn't worry.  He looks bad all the time. 

A high school student was given the assignment to research and write about a journalist.  When she asked her parents for guidance, their response was  "there are no journalists" .  Her parents also believe that there is no such thing as "news", it is all fake.

I am disturbed and insulted that anyone can boast of such an ignorant attitude.    

I do believe that different news sources have different views on what is happening in the world, or even in their particular part of the world.    But facts are facts.  Some might see their facts from a conservative point of view or a liberal; point of view.   Ideally the stories should be reported from an objective point of view.  

'Just the facts m'am.

My mother in law was a journalist.  She traveled with Pat Nixon, wife of the then president, Richard Nixon.    My mother in law was a fairly liberal Democrat.    She did not write her opinions of the president.  She did not write about anything political when she wrote about her travels with Mrs. Nixon.  My mother in law wrote about the trip:  the purpose or the trip, where the trip was and what Mrs.  Nixon did.  It was news.  Not "fake news" 

I guess I am a bit wound up because I know that my mother in law was a real journalist and an honest person with integrity.

My daughter is also a journalist.  Some years ago she covered a school shooting in a rural Oregon town.    When she was at the town where the shooting took place, my daughter spoke with the gun club and went to the firing range.  She shot at targets with an automatic gun (M 16?) because she wanted to understand what she was writing about so she could write honestly.

I am proud of my journalist daughter.   In fact I am proud of all of my children.  They are all honest people with care and concern for others, and integrity.

Here's my daughter:

Courtney Sherwood

Courtney Sherwood fills in as editor and producer in a number of web and broadcast roles at Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Outside of OPB, she also reports for magazines, newspapers and online publications. Courtney was previously business and features editor at The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Washington. She also worked as a reporter at The Portland Business Journal and other publications in the Pacific Northwest and in Virginia.
She received a Wharton Business Journalists Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.
Courtney graduated with a degree in English from Grinnell College, where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper and hosted a news program on the community radio station KDIC.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

evolution of a family

I have a whole bunch of pictures with all of the kids together.  Not necessarily all five because we didn't always have five.   I am having trouble loading all of the pictures I want to load.

Darn it, I have some great pictures I want to add here.  Maybe it will work another time.

Part of my thinking is the last time we had all five kids with us at the same time was for Christmas 2017.    They were all with each other in 2018.   I am so glad they stay connected with each other

This is the beginning of my melancholy season.

Friday, October 25, 2019


I remember my mom putting me uncomfortably on the spot once.  She had watched the Jay Leno show.  Jay was talking about the recent death of his mother and that she was his best friend.  My mom said "I hope that you feel like I am your best friend when I die".  I did not answer.  I felt blindsided.  I did not know how to respond.

Frequently on Facebook I see memes that say "appreciate your mother,she's the only one you will have".   Or something to that matter.  Occasionally I share these on Facebook.  But I often feel a bit like it is passive aggressive.

I feel like I am putting myself out there fishing for my kids to say how wonderful I am. I am insecure I guess. 

I do know that all of my children love me.  I also know that parents and adult children have complicated relationships. 

My parents and I had complicated relationships.   I loved them.  I hated them.  I resented them.  And I was afraid of them.  I wanted to feel unconditionally loved.   I don't know why I didn't.  I was always afraid of getting in trouble.  I was afraid of being ugly and stupid.  My parents (mainly my dad) offered me money for every "A" I got on my report card.   I might have gotten a couple of them.   My mother told me once that I was too ugly to be her child.   I suspect she said it in passing and didn't even remember it.  But here I am 65 and it still bothers me.

And so, I think about my own adult children.  And I wonder what things I said and did that I am not aware of, yet they are still carrying.  I remember the times when I lost it and yelled and said mean terrible words.    And I know that they way I recall events is most likely different than how they remember them. I think that each of the versions has it's own truth to the one who holds onto it.

For most of the time we were living overseas,  I wrote letters (pre email).  I especially wrote to my sister.  At least once a week.

I want to write to my kids.  I do.   But I am not sure what I can say.  I might say something that I think it encouraging and positive and get a reply that suggests that I am being judgmental. I might say "I hope that you are experiencing the beauty of the trees and the clouds in the sky".  and I get a reply saying that makes me wonder what I said wrong. 

I don't want to say that I am "afraid"  of my children.  But I am aware that my words have weight that I am not totally sure I am even aware of.

My biggest fear is that I will drive my children away.   I might ask what I think is an innocent question and get told to get fucked.  So many of my friends are going through this.   We walk on eggshells with our kids.

Maybe there's a lesson in it all.   If so, I hope I can learn it somehow. 

I remember so many wonderful things about life with a family of five kids.  Making play dough.   Cooking together.   Jumping in piles of leaves.   Going to concerts- their school concerts, or theater concerts like the ones at Constitution Hall.  Introducing them to "Jaws"and "Casablanca".  Spending hours at the pool.  Playing board games like "Scotland Yard" I think it was called.   Dinner at the table with all of us. Friends of the kids at the dinner table with us too.

Before I had children, I knew that I wanted to be a mother.  I was going to be wonderful.  If my kids wanted to jump on the furniture I would let them because I wouldn't want to crush their spirit.

Then I became a mother and realized that we had to have rules and boundaries.  For their safety.  For their ability to function in the world.  To keep my sanity.

I miss all the racket.  I miss the mess (sort of).  I miss little knees that needed to have their boo boos kissed.  I miss little warm bodies (and even teen aged ones) that would sit close and cuddle.   A garage full of bikes.   So many pairs of socks to match every time I did laundry.

I miss the teens and young adults.  Speaking their minds.  Learning the world and seeing it in new ways.  Learning about social justice and responsibility and caring about people other than themselves.

I believe that we have launched 5 wonderful, caring, loving adults on the world.

Yup.  That's my life.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Making lists

I seem to be mentally making lists as I go to sleep lately.    I am having the "manipulation" of my knee.  I will be knocked out while the doctor twists and moved my leg around to break up the scar tissue.  I suspect it will be painful.  Okay, I'll deal with that when it comes.

My sister and I are going on a La Leche League Alumni trip to New Orleans.  I am very excited about that!    I made a bunch of "autograph albums" (actually I bought them and decorated them).  I am giving them to everyone at the event.   The down side it that they take so much room in my suitcase.   Oh well, I'll deal with that.

I have so much more on my mind right now.  Thinking about my kids.  Trying to find a balance between being present in their lives and being a pest.

Right now I need to get ready to go out.  More later.

Thursday, October 10, 2019


My challenges continue.  The scar tissue inside my knee is not as elastic as it should be, so I  am looking at another surgery to break up the scar tissue (oh joy).  My next appointment with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.

I don't usually cry easily, but the last two physical therapy sessions had me crying before even starting.  I want the physical therapy, but trying to reach the flexibility I should be able to is not happening.  And trying really hurts.

Selfie in the Physical Therapy shirt

My latest "thing" is my vision.   I had a complete eye exam in June and got new glasses that were fine.  Since my knee surgery my eye sight has deteriorated.   I cannot imagine that there's a connection, but the timing is strange.

I have a hard time reading, including street signs which is part of why I am not driving. I baked a birthday cake for my sister on Sunday and it was near impossible to read the directions. 

I saw my eye doctor yesterday and she had referred me to a specialist to figure out what's up.  Something to do with my retinas.

I'm back to doing the Tuesday Breastfeeding Cafe' and enjoy it!  We have good turn out there.

Another bright side has to do with the blood clot/ blood thinners I am on.  I saw a hematologist about that situation.  He believes that the two incidents of blood clots I have had were what he called "provoked" events.  The first time was about a year after I had a hysterectomy.  I went on hormone replacement drugs and that seems to be what caused the clots I had then.   This time, I have a total knee replacement which is why I got this blood clot.

One of these days I hope to have all of my body parts working at the same time!  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I can see well enough to be able to tell how beautiful the night sky can be!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Rabbit Rabbit October first 2019

I'm not sure where the tradition of saying rabbit rabbit on the first day of the month started.  Nick's family did it. Mine didn't.  In fact I had never heard it before.

Yesterday was another hard day at physical therapy.  I need to be able to stretch my knee joint and I am not quite there yet.  It's so hard and I am so scared that I won't get to be where I need to be before the scar tissue sets in permanently.

I am feeling old.  For the first time in my life, I honestly feel like I am old.  Nothing wrong with old.  It's just my mind tells me that old means limited.  Limited in what I will be able to do. Limited in being who I feel like I am.   I have to tell myself that I will regain some of my energy.  My body has just been through a lot.

Today I meet a hematologist to see what I can learn about my health concerning my blood clot,the medication I am on, and what my near and far future look like.

I did so well on Weight Watchers, but since my surgery I have gained.  Not a ton, "only" 6 pounds.    But I am going in the wrong direction.

My eyes are really messed up.  I don't know what's going on.  I can barely read the words on the TV.  My vision is blurry.  Even though I now have permission to drive, I don't. Partly because I don't feel physically ready, but even more so, the fact that my vision is so off.

I must see my eye doctor, but decided to wait to see the other doctors and find out if this is a result of medication.

There are so many things I want to do.  Not really a bucket list per se .  Just places and things I want to do and see.    First I need to find out when I'll be eligible to fly again (blood clot).  And when will I feel well enough.

I am really looking forward to the train trip to New Orleans  next month with my sister.   Nick is worried that it might be "too much" for me.  I understand his concern. If I cannot keep up, I can hang around the hotel, rest, swim and take a slower pace.

I think often of my mother.  She has her disabling stroke when she was younger than I am.   She was an independent,  feisty person up to then.   I wish she had talked about her experiences being stuck in her broken body.  I wish I had know what questions to ask.  Maybe she tried to tell us.  I was so busy with my own life.  Kids, school activities, travel. 

I wonder if my own children see me as broken, old?   I will not ask them and put them in an uncomfortable position.    I know that they love me  and they know that I love them.