Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Want To Make Love Every Day

Saturday September 28, 1991

We are at the Lemona house all day 11-6 for an Open House, hoping to find someone who wants to buy or lease. It's a very quiet day with only a couple of lookers. We head home at 5:15 exhausted from doing nothing but sitting around. Luckily, Frank kept busy most of the day with last minute replacement of light fixtures, etc and shopping for them.

At home we have dinner and watch TV, relaxing and head for bed about 10 for lovemaking. I want to make love every day til my surgery. I know it will be a dry spell afterward and I don't know what to expect after that. Will it feel the same? Will I feel the same. Time will tell. I will think positively.

Mom was legitimately concerned about her surgery. Not only was her uterus being removed, but also both ovaries. She was already post-menopausal though, and after menopause the ovaries produce very little estrogen. She had a wonderful man in Frank, who was always thoughtful, gentle, and helpful. What better turn-on could there be?

Body Aches

Friday September 27, 1991

Frank heads for the valley early. He is picking up a paint sprayer for Paul (his son) from his old yard. Then he borrows Gary's lawnmower and mows Lemona for Open House there tomorrow and Sunday. He does a few more repairs there and returns home late afternoon.

I have taken a real day off, relaxing, trying to get my aching back under control. It's been really bad for a few days. Actually, it's real hard for me to sit so long as we did last night at dinner with our friends. I could hardly walk when I finally got up. My back, hips and knees screamed.

We go to a movie after dinner. Enjoyed it except couldn't sit still that long (1-1/2 hours)

I remember that mom had issues with her back, knees and shoulders. She received a cortisone injection in her shoulder several times to relieve pain and inflammation, and she had orthoscopic surgery on her knee in her early 50s. She faithfully did back exercises every morning to help strengthen her back and relieve the pain. Now that I am the same age I also have back issues, and just as I said 2 days ago, I cannot sit through a 2 hour movie, and it is very hard to drive long distances and still be able to walk or even move afterwards. I did not have knee issues until very recently, and have to take Naproxen (Aleve) every day to relieve the pain in my right knee and back.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Barnsdall Park

Thursday September 26, 1991

Up and at em, we meet Gary in Los Angeles at Kaiser Hospital Blood Donor Center. Gary and Frank are donating blood for my surgery. Frank is apprehensive. When he gave last (33 years ago) it was a very unpleasant experience. We have talked alot about how positive this is: good for your blood supply to replenish fresh. He takes a Xanax for good measure and sails through it no problem. He didn't feel it at all. Gary does fine though he looks pale and is very tired from working 2 nights plus days.

I drive Frank home. He takes a nap. We had stopped at Barnsdall Park before we went to the donor center. Frank wanted to show it to me. It's on top of a knoll behind Kaiser Hospital. We'll go back to visit the museum when we have time.

Dolores (Frank's daughter) has called. We call back. Bad news--she had a miscarriage yesterday. Misguided cells, no baby. They're OK mentally but she feels bad physically.

We stopped to see Henry and Jan on the way home. They were so happy to see us.

Oh yes, that Xanax works great for minor anxiety. I have used it to get to sleep many times.

The view above is from Barnsdall Park in Los Angeles. What a view! I see why Frank wanted to take Mom there. He worked for the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department for many years, so he probably got to spend some time here.

So sad that Dolores had a miscarriage. I have never heard of misguided cells in a pregnancy so I did some research and found that the most common reason for a first trimester miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality in the fetus. Miscarriage occurs in 15-20% of all pregnancies.

I Ache All Over

Wednesday September 25, 1991

Another relaxing day for both of us at home. At 6:00 we meet Shirley and Jim Turner for square dancing. Other friends show up there in Newbury Park also. After the class we all go to dinner at Jessie Cates for fun. We are there a long time. I ache all over when we finally get up to leave.

I can so relate. I rarely go to the theater to see a movie, mostly due to the expense, but also because I find I cannot sit still for two hours. My back aches terribly after the first half hour. I would rather wait until the movie comes out on DVD and watch it from the comfort of my couch or bed.

A Prospective Buyer?

Tuesday September 24, 1991

Very busy day doing laundry. Trying to keep cool. At 2:30 we leave, stopping at "Help You Sell" to talk business before we meet people at Lemona who want to buy it. Several more come to look. Nothing good.

We arrive home about 7:30. We eat light and watch TV.

I Can't Stand The Heat!

Monday September 23, 1991

Up early. The power will be turned of at 10 a.m. til 3 p.m. I can't do the wash. I must hurry and get cleaned up so I can curl my hair before the power goes off.

Frank worked very hard yesterday cleaning up and putting things away after our reunion, but there are still a few things to finish up and linens to change, etc. from Chris, Ric, and Justin. It's a very busy day and very hot. I can't stand the heat. I sweat so easily and profusely. At least the hot flashes seem to have almost gone away.

We'd like to get back to walking but now it's too hot. I feel like I'm in terrible shape. I ache all over all the time. I'm best when I keep moving. It's hard to get moving again when I stop.

We have a great time at square dancing from 7-9:30. We eat out after.

Mom always made sure her makeup was applied and her hair curled first thing in the morning, even when they had no plans to leave the house. Heaven forbid someone might see her without her makeup or her hair done up! Since I retired 4 years ago I only put on makeup when I have an occasion to attend and my hair is wash and wear, no curlers involved.

I can relate to the sweating. Mom lived in Southern California where hot weather was the norm for half the year. I live in Northern California and we still get our share of heat in the summer. I find I have to get my exercise done in the morning when it's still cool. I try to get a hike in if the weather is nice and I belong to a fitness club with an indoor pool where I swim or take water aerobics. When you're in the water you can't tell if you're sweating.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Open House at Lemona

Sunday September 22, 1991

Up early. Chris and Ric must get Justin to Burbank Airport to fly home for the "A"s game with John. I must be at Lemona for open house 10-5. Looking for someone interested in renting with an option to buy. I am anxious because I've never done one of these deals before. Frank's worried about me being at the house alone all day. I agree to call him about 1 p.m. I'm nervous too.

The day goes well. Several families come through but no real takers. Frank arrives about 3 p.m. to keep me company. We leave at 5 p.m. and stop at Gary's to drop off something. We invite them to join us for dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. They decline. We enjoy a good Mexican dinner and a strawberry margarita. I almost never touch alcohol anymore so I feel a little light-headed.

The Mission Hills neighborhood must have really gone down since I grew up there in the 50s and 60s for Mom and Frank to be nervous about her showing the house to prospective tenants. I meet prospective tenants at our Windsor rentals all the time. I appreciate that it is a newer, family-oriented community, and I have always felt safe here. Finding a tenant to do a lease option will be difficult.

Family Reunion Day

Saturday September 21, 1991


It's a beautiful day! God has answered yet another prayer for me! What a wonderful God!

Chris and Ric take the boys to the Simi Valley Days Parade. Frank and I work feverishly to set up tables, chairs, games and food. It takes until 1 p.m. when folks start to arrive. By 4:30 everyone is finally here and we can eat. Everyone has brought something great to eat. There is plenty of food. Everyone seems to have a wonderful time, mostly visiting. They play some Bocce Ball and ping pong. The little children are in abundance. They are everywhere and so cute.

Frank and I are weary but very pleased when it's over about 8:30 p.m. We truly love doing this each year and will as long as we possibly can.

Mother looked great. So did Frank's folks and Aunt Betty and Al. Our special guests Marty and Cathy and Art and Dorothy enjoyed themselves too.

Mom and Frank were such wonderful hosts. It took a great deal of effort to put on family get-togethers for holidays and other reunions. They also hosted block parties for their cul-de-sac neighbors every year. The photo above was taken this day. Pictured are are Frank Reina, Guy Thomas with his children Alison and Patrick, Helen Richardson, Dolores Reina, Chris Reyes, Ric Roncancio, Perry and Cathy Thomas in the top row. In the middle row are Lisa Thomas, Cathy Thomas holding her granddaughters Lindsay and Brittany Thomas, Lynne Thomas, Gene Thomas, Joe Gapol, Justin Reyes, Junior (Gabe) Gapol, and in the front row are Gary and Maria Lucky.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The House Seemed Bigger as a Kid

Friday September 20, 1991

Justin is up early. Chris and Ric are up about 8:30. We all have breakfast and we all go to see Lemona house. I must water the new plants.

For lunch we go to Bob's and pig out on burgers, fries, salad and ice cream cake.

Chris is happy to have seen the Lemona house one last time. It is smaller than she remembered. We are planning to sell the house. It will be sad to let it go. There are so many memories of the children growing up there. Chris was 1 when we moved in. Gary was born 2 years later. I moved out when Gary was 20.

Before dinner we all drive to see Gary's new bedroom furniture, etc. We bring Junior and Joe home with us. We all go home to eat. Gary and Maria go out. The 3 boys have fun together. Junior sleeps on the floor. Joe and Justin get the couch bed.

Mom was proud of all the work Frank did to fix up the Lemona house. I had not been inside the house since 1974 when I moved north to Santa Rosa, California. It was a 4 bedroom 2 bath house, but only about 1400 square feet. It seemed large to me as a child, and the backyard, which I had the honor of mowing every Saturday, seemed to go on forever. I think everything seems larger from a child's eyes. Apparently Mom's attempt to sell the house was short-lived because she still owned it in 1993 as a rental when my brother Gary and I inherited it. We sold it that year for $140,000. Since then it has been expanded to include 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in 2500 square feet and is worth $360,000. The lot size is 8680 square feet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Preparing for the Reunion

Thursday September 19, 1991

Now to start thinking of our family reunion party in 2 days. We are home all day in preparation. Chris, Ric and Justin arrive about 1 a.m. for the weekend.

My back is giving me fits again. I pretty much hurt all over most of the time. I try to just keep busy and keep moving so as not to notice.

We manage to find time for a movie tonight. We go to see Robin Hood.

I was on what is called a 9/80 work schedule at PG&E. I worked 9 hours per day with every other Friday off. It appears we made the 8 hour drive after I got off work on Thursday. A long grueling 400-mile drive, one that I find difficult to do during daylight hours now, much less in the dark. Exhausting!

Gracious Hosts

Tuesday September 17, 1991 & Wednesday September 18, 1991

Tuesday was a last day at Lemona planting some small bushes.

Wednesday I am having my nails done when Frank comes to say Michele called and they are free to come to dinner tonight. Whoa! The house is dreadfully messy--no food, no plan. Oh what the heck, we'll do our best. Call them back, dinner is at 5:00. Fortunately they can't arrive until 6-6:30. We rush into action and at 6:00 the house is clean. So is the patio. Chicken and baked potatoes are in the oven. Two pecan pies and a salad are made. The dining room table is lovely with our new tablecloth and crystal wine glasses.

We have a great time with Pete, Cloe (Frank's cousin), daughter Michele, her hubby Dieder, his French-speaking only parents Annie and Rogier. The young people are kept busy translating except when the men play pool.

So the mystery of Who is Michele and Dieder is solved. Michele is the daughter of Frank's cousin and Dieder is her new French husband. I wonder how they met?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grandma's Home Away From Home

Monday September 16, 1991

Usual laundry and house cleaning day. I called Michele and Dieder inviting them and their parents to dinner this week. It's a maybe. They are doing a lot of traveling and sightseeing.

Frank poured cement at Gledhill and did yard work at Lemona and got home in time to relax and clean up for square dancing. We really enjoyed square dancing with Marty and Cathy and Robbie and Dolores. It was tiring for us but at least my little toe left foot didn't bother me. I whacked it on a brick while barefoot this morning. It may be broken. No big deal. After dancing we all went to Hudson's Grill. Robbie and Dolores enjoyed comparing notes with the Turners about their trips to Alaska.

Spoke to mother tonight. She's 83 and doing fine or so she says. She's coming up this weekend for the family reunion potluck in her truck and camper.

Frank must be in great shape and absolutely tireless. He comes after a full day of manual labor at the rental houses and almost every night either entertains or is off square dancing.

Grandma Helen outlived mom. She was 89 when she passed away of a stroke. The last couple of years she lived in an assisted living home and did not like it at all. Up until then she lived on her own in Desert Hot Springs in a mobile home park. She and her husband Al bought an Alaska camper similar to the one shown above way back in the 1950s. It was ancient and tiny but functional. She and Al travelled all over the United States and Canada in their camper and they belonged to the Alaska Camper Club. The Alaska campers were known for their pop-up pop-down roof that made them compact for driving. After Grandpa Al passed away in his sleep in 1976 Grandma continued to drive the camper and use it as her home away from home when traveling. She was a strong and independent woman, much like her daughter!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Wedding of Michele & Dieder

Sunday September 15, 1991

Frank stays home today and I go to Lemona house for 3 hours. A few people stop to look at the house. Frank has lots he wants to do at home today before we leave for the wedding at 3:30. It will be fun and good to see all the relatives we haven't seen for some time. I can personally thank them all for their prayers. They'll be happy about my good news.

The wedding couple are Michele and Dieder. They took us sightseeing in Paris in April 1990. We feel a special bond with them. We had a great time at the wedding. We were seated with Diane and Nancy and their men. Loved seeing Mimi (Michele). She's 14-3/4 and 5'7". She came with Mom Lorraine. We had a good talk.

I never heard Mom talk about Michele and Dieder. She mentions Paris, so perhaps they lived there in 1990 and they became friends traveling there. This is one of those times I so wish Frank had not thrown out Mom's photo albums. I'm quite sure she took pictures of their trip to Paris and undoubtedly Michele and Dieder were in the photographs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Open House Today

Saturday September 14, 1991

The Lemona house is ready. Open house is 9-5 today. We put out signs and ran an ad "Like New". We had several come looking. Frank replaced a broken window and mowed. I did some touch-up painting. We're ready. The house is ready. Now the agony of finding just the right tenant. Of course the neighbors prefer a young white couple. They may get 2 Hispanic couples with 2 kids.

Home in time to relax, clean up and go square dancing. Frank is really too tired to enjoy it but we spend alot of time outside visiting with friends. We go home early.

Yikes, even the day of open house, Frank is still replacing a broken window. Does it ever end? I hope they get it rented quickly. Whoever gets it is getting a like new home which is hard to find.

A Manicure for Frank

Thursday/Friday September 12-13, 2011

Feeling fine, doing the usual, at Lemona. Almost done. Frank is really burning out. Tried to get home in time for a movie Friday but missed our chance by 20 minutes.

I am doing my best to make life easy for fun for Frank whenever I can. I won't allow him to do anything at home that I could do. He has a hard time with that. He's used to helping clean the dinner table and load the dishwasher, etc. It's very hard for him to sit and read the paper or watch TV while I am working. It's the very least I can do.

I arranged for him to get a manicure today for the wedding Sunday. He really liked that.

Wow, I wish I was married to a man like that! Mine has no problem reading the paper and watching TV while I work around him.

Interesting, this is the first entry so far that mom has made for 2 days. Until now she made a separate entry every day.

Frank is Burning Out

Wednesday, September 11, 1991

Usual day--some backache. Seems my hair is getting worse every day. The crown and back of my head feels like almost all the hair is gone or 1/4" long. Nothing there to grab with the curling iron.

At Lemona we eat McLean burgers. Frank is laying the kitchen floor. Johnny comes and we make a decision about the carpet. They will lay it tomorrow.

Frank is tired and burning out. Thank God he's almost finished working on Lemona. We leave about 4 p.m.. Frank comes home to mow and trim our yard.

Jeanna and Spencer come to stay a couple of hours while Dana and Val go to open house at their school.

Not sure who Jeanna and Spencer are, I must assume they are neighbor kids.

Poor Frank, he has been working everyday at the Lemona house for several weeks. If you are reading this Frank, I want you to know how much I appreciate all you did for mom, and for Gary and me, who were the ones who inherited the Lemona house. You are a hard worker, and were so good to mom. Thank you, thank you, thank you. May God bless you.

It must have been hard on Mom to see her hair falling out and breaking off. She was always quite vain about her appearance and every morning curled her hair with a curling iron before spraying it with hairspray. I did not know until now that she had an issue with hair loss. Whatever hair was lost, she covered up nicely. I remember her last days in the hospital brushing her hair, as she loved to do for me my whole life. It was so hard to keep from crying. I never told her her hair was coming out in clumps as I brushed it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Work at Lemona House continues

Tuesday September 10, 1991

I didn't sleep very well until I finally took some Tylenol for my aching back. I foolishly carried some heavy 5 gallon plants in the yard yesterday. When will I ever learn? Back to exercises and ice packs.

I leave home about 11:30 to pick up lunch and meet Frank at Lemona. I clean woodwork, wash windows and hang curtains. Frank works most of the day on cleaning the stove. Late in the day he starts laying the kitchen floor.

We bought some plants for Lemona and home last night. It will be nice to have time to do something nice for our house again.

The new tile on the kitchen counter looks terrific! We come home late, order and eat pizza.

Wow, their previous tenants must have left the rental house on Lemona a complete wreck. Frank has been working there for over a month. Fortunately, not all of his work is repairing, as he is also upgrading the house. We had 6 turnovers last year, and took that opportunity to recarpet and repaint most of them, as well as put in new granite countertops in one and all new kitchen appliances.

A big thank you to my friend I grew up with on Lemona in Mission Hills. Debbie Smith (now Debbie Lape) lived 2 houses down and we still keep in touch. I called her for her birthday last week and she sent me some photos of our old neighborhood as it looks today. The photo above is the house Frank was working on.

I made the same mistake this year lifting a heavy load, Mom. Our Christmas tree was a live one in a 30 gallon bucket. I enlisted the help of my teenage son Derek on New Year's Eve and together we carried it from the living roomj to the back yard. I did not realize I had injured myself until the next morning watching the Pasadena Rose Parade. My back was a little sore when the parade began and by the time it was over, I could not move. I spent 2-1/2 weeks recovering. After having a herniated disk in 2008 and then surgery, I should know to be more careful. Unfortunately, with back pain, it occurs the day after overdoing it. I found that swimming or water aerobics really helps.

So Tired Lately

Monday September 9, 1991

Gene's actual birthday today!

Frank gets up early by the alarm and heads for Lemona. I sleep in til 8:30. Don't know why I'm so tired lately. It's starting to bug me. I seem to need 10-11 hours of sleep of late. Can't stay awake much past 9 p.m. Tonight is the first class for square dancing where we'll be "Angels". We're looking forward to it. Marty and Cathy and Robbie and Dolores will be there. It should be great fun!

I stay home today to wash and clean. It's nice not going to the valley.

My hair is so thin I can hardly manage it today. Seems like it's getting worse. Some thinning is chemo. Breakage and short hairs are probably perms and bleaching. No perms for awhile. Hopefully it will get better now that chemo is finished.

I can see why mom would be tired keeping up with her fast past while undergoing chemotherapy. I'm glad to see she's finally getting some sleep. If she is managing to go square dancing she can't be all that weak!

I have the same hair as Mom, thin, baby fine, and straight as a stick! Mom gave me perms from the time I was a toddler to give me some body and curls, and I continued to get perms well into my 40s, but found I could never perm and color, as there was just too much breakage. In fact, I remember the last time mom gave me a perm my hair broke off where the bands came in contact with my hair and it took months for the damaged broken hair to grow out. Now I keep it short, unpermed and highlighted with blonde and copper highlights. I remember Mom spending 30 minutes on her hair every morning while we visited in the huge master bathroom of her Simi Valley home. She would use a curling iron all over her head, then backcomb to give it some lift and finally spray with loads of hairspray that made us both cough. Sometimes I wonder if all those hydrocarbons she breathed every day for years are what gave her cancer. Even when we were camping, she put on makeup and fixed her hair every day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Uncle Gene's Birthday Party

Sunday September 8, 1991

We have a leisurely breakfast and read the paper, watch the birds and check out the patio plants. Frank leaves for Lemona. Chris calls. We have a good talk about Thanksgiving at Chris' and problems with John Reyes (her ex).

I go shopping for a comforter and buy one at Mervyns. I stop for a hot dog. I'm still having trouble being hungry alot. Maybe it's the chemo, maybe not. I pick up a yogurt to share with Frank. He's had no lunch. I feel bad. The bathroom floors are almost done. They look nice.

At 4:15 we leave for Gene and Cathy's. It's Gene's birthday dinner. Guy and Lisa are there. Alyson is much more friendly. The baby is walking. He's so cute and looks just like Guy. Some neighbors are there and we have a great filet mignon steak dinner. Lynne does most of the work. We're home by 9:15 exhausted!

Mom's brother Gene was 6 years older than Mom and had a different father. In 1991 he was turning 63. He will be 83 this year (2011) and is still going strong. He and his wife Cathy have lived in Pasadena for many years and built their house on a hillside when their boys Perry and Guy were little. Gene's son Guy and his wife Lisa are at the birthday party with their two small children, Alyson and Patrick. Funny that Mom thinks Patrick looks just like Guy. I don't see much resemblance. Guy is tall and lanky like his dad. Patrick, who is 20 now, is built like a football player, strong and husky. In fact he played football all through high school and Alyson played soccer. Alyson is currently on the soccer team at her college in Texas. Lynne is Gene and Cathy's youngest. She was and is a gracious hostess, always helpful, yet laid-back. She and her husband Everett currently live in Seattle, WA and have 3 small children Emerson, Eloisa and Ellington.

Shopping at May Co.

Saturday September 7, 1991

I'm up and feeling fine--off and running to Bo & Wendy's with mail, the bank and the Newbury Park house. The tenants are working now and they have the rent for September but no extra on the $2500 back rent due. They are thrilled about my good news. I talk to Jim Willis. He says it gives him "goose bumps" to hear how well I'm doing.

After 2 hours of May Co. shopping I arrive at Lemona house where Frank has nearly completed tiling the kitchen counter. It looks terrific! He's so wonderful! He sends me on errands.

At 7:40 we finally leave and stop at Gary's to see his new carpet and furniture in his bedroom. Anna and Randall are there with the boys. Gary and Maria are at a concert. We stay to watch the Big Spin. Jackie Tattum is on but it is pre-empted by a Dodger game. We go home, clean up and go out for Italian dinner. We eat too much, too late.

I remember how Mom did love to shop, mostly for clothes, and May Co. was one of her favorite department stores. May Co. was a national department store chain and was founded in 1877 by David May. In 2005 it was purchased by Macy's Department Stores. The Los Angeles May Co. building pictured above is now the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Mom drug me to her favorite department stores to shop for clothes from the time I could walk. Perhaps that is why I hate to shop now, whether for groceries or clothes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Paul is a Big Help

Friday September 6, 1991

Up early, feeling good--no more backache. I'm off early to shop for curtains, etc. for Lemona. I pick up Arby's chicken sandwiches for our lunch.

Frank is laying bathroom floors. Paul arrives around 4 p.m. and they go to Gledhill to repair broken pipes. Paul is so sweet to come help his dad. He's in no hurry to get home. He wants to talk about investments. He wants to retire at 40. Good luck! He needs to be patient but have a plan. He wants to buy rental properties.

It's 9:00 when we finally get home. We have a late dinner. Then I return Cousin Shirley's call. She has a new job selling AT&T service. I hope she likes it and does well. It's time for her life to take a turn for the better. She's never been more ready or deserving.

Frank's son Paul, pictured above dancing with Justin at Paul's wedding to Judy, has worked for the Los Angeles Water Department for years, so was probably familiar with repairing leaking pipes. How funny that he was planning to retire at 40! He is well past 40 today and still working for the water department, commuting one hour each direction from Palmdale to Los Angeles. Managing rental properties can be a full-time job, and a very stressful one. Not for everyone.

As for Cousin Shirley, she had a rough life. She was an alcoholic and often called Mom late at night in a drunken stupor. Mom was one of the few who had the patience to listen to her and offer encouragement. Shirley was devastated when Mom passed away and drank herself to death a few years after Mom's death.

Frank's Birthday Dinner

Thursday September 5, 1991

Stayed in bed til 10 a.m. Just feeling out-of-sorts. My back is much better today. By 1 p.m. I'm ready to leave to pick up invitations for reunion and forms from Dr. Bienstock for family blood donation for my surgery. Gary and Frank want to donate blood for me just in case I should need it, though I shouldn't.

Frank is working at Lemona. I'll meet him later and will go to Gary's for Frank's birthday dinner.

I am starved when we arrive at Gary's. Luckily, Maria has a veggie plate waiting for us. We eat most of it and then a nice dinner of chicken and beef shish-ka-bobs, and chocolate cake and ice cream. Frank blows out the candles and they give him presents. We drag home about 10 p.m.

Bizarre! I have noticed that almost every time Mom has chemo her aches and pains are better the next day. I'm wondering if the chemo drugs have anti-inflammatory properties. It doesn't appear that chemo #6 has made her sick at all.

Even at 56 Frank still gets a birthday party! How sweet! I have to say that my brother Gary and his wife were and still are wonderful hosts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chemo #6

Wednesday September 4, 1991

Off to get my nails done this morning--feeling good.

Frank comes home from Lemona to take me to my chemo--my last chemo. I have it late today, we're not out of there til 5 p.m. Dr. Bix was pleased about my CAT scan. She says that it is not unusual to have such success with Stage 3 ovarian cancer patients. And I thought I was one in a million. Ha! Ha!

We shop our way home beginning to gather supplies for our family reunion in 2 weeks here. I'm calling it a "Celebration of Life". Hopefully all 43 family members can attend.

We eat light as we had a big lunch at Bob's Big Boy today. I'm not as drowsy as usual from my chemo. We're up til 11.

What a wonderful idea to hold a celebration of life. Let's see, 43 family members, who would that be?

Mom & Frank 2
Frank's parents John & Florence 2
Mom's mother Helen 1
Mom's brother Gene & his wife Cathy 2
Gene & Cathy's children Perry, Guy & Lynne 3
Perry's wife Cathy & 2 girls Lindsey & Brittany 3
Guy's wife Lisa & their children Allison & Patrick 3
Mom's children Chris & Gary 2
Chris' husband Ric & her son Justin (2 more boys now) 2
Gary's wife Maria & her sons Gabe & Joe (2 more boys now) 3
Frank's children Philip, Paul & Delores 3
Philip's wife Debbie & their children Joey & Sarah 3
Paul's wife Judy & their daughter Tayler (1 more son now) 2
Delores' husband Steve (a son & daughter now) 1

This adds up to 32. I'm not sure who the other 11 are, perhaps close family friends? Oh joy! Mom sent me 2 photos from the family reunion. In this photo starting top row left are: Frank, Guy holding Allison & Patrick, Grandma Helen, Mom, Chris, Ric, Perry, Cathy; in middle row are: Lisa, Aunt Cathy holding Brittany & Lindsey, Lynne, Uncle Gene, Joe, Justin & Gabe; in front are my brother Gary and his wife Maria.
In our immediate family pictured below are (top left) Maria, Grandma Helen, Dolores & Chris; middle row Gary, Frank and Ric; and front row Joe, Justin & Gabe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rental Woes

Tuesday September 3, 1991

Bad news for Frank. He is over at Gledhill house tearing out sidewalk to reach a leaking pipe underground beside the house. I meet him over there with his lunch. Later we go to Lemona where I water the yard. A friend of Frank's comes to check out the wall heater that's not working. Phil comes to replace the water meter at the same time. The dishwasher at Gledhill is working well. Frank did a good job of fixing it.

We head home a little earlier, 5 p.m. Tomorrow is chemo so that will kill the afternoon and evening.

This is the first time I have discovered that Mom made two entries on the same day. Odd.

Frank may have retired from the City of Los Angeles Parks and Rec Dept earlier that year, but you never get to retire from being a landlord. Mom and Frank had 4 rentals, the one on Lemona that I grew up in, the one on Gledhill Mom bought for her residence before she and Frank got married, one that Mom bought in Simi Valley before the marriage, and the one in Newbury Park that Frank owned as his residence before the marriage. When they married in 1982 they bought a big beautiful house in Simi Valley together. My husband Ric and I have 9 rentals and manage 6 more for my mother-in-law. Between the 15 rentals, there is always a sewer to unplug, a defective water heater or other appliance to repair or replace, or a vacancy to rent. Last year was a record: we had 6 turnovers in 2010! In addition, there are almost always delinquent tenants to deal with, which can be quite stressful, especially if it becomes necessary to do the unlawful detainer process.

Just as I was retiring from Pacific Gas & Electric, the housing market began a long downhill dive, and we have lost most of our equity. We are hoping the market will recover in the next 5 years, so we can start to sell, which was always the plan for my retirement. In the meantime, it is hard to travel or even be away for a weekend, as there is always a rental problem to deal with. So for now, with 2 teenagers at home and 15 houses to manage, we take short trips here and there, mostly to Lake Tahoe, where we can be home in 4 hours if necessary.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Tuesday September 3, 1991

Up at our usual 7:20. I ache all over, especially my back and knees. I'm sure it's from the housework I did yesterday. So what's new? Life must go on. I'm sure not going to ask Frank to do any more than he already does. The house is my job. The aches and pains get some better as the day progresses. I feel I would have less aches and pains if I'd lose 30 or 40 pounds. I cannot ask God to help with this problem until I've done my part by losing the weight. God helps those who help themselves. God always answers my requests in prayer but I'm careful to ask for reasonable things. I did lose one pound yesterday. I'm in the mood to try harder to lose weight.

Thank you for the inspiration, Mom. I have been feeling the same way lately. Right now I am the same age you were when you made this entry in your journal. My back has hurt every day for years, and lately my right knee hurts too. I take water aerobics 3 times per week which helps my back pain immensely, and I hike on the days when I don't have class unless it's raining, but I need to get my nighttime snacking under control. Hebrews 12:1 says "Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." For me the first part of this scripture is about losing the weight and how overeating trips me up and the second part is about keeping my body strong with exercise. I am claiming this scripture for myself this year.

Labor Day

Monday September 2, 1991

Labor Day! We sleep in til 9 a.m. We got to sleep last night about 1 a.m. The animals were very glad to see us. Our bed felt wonderful. We had 2 double beds at the Hilton. We slept in one. It seemed so small.

Frank works in the garage til 1 p.m., then heads for the rental houses to work. I stay home to clean house, do laundry and pay bills.

It's a hot day! About 90 degrees here. It was about 75 at LAX over the weekend. It was very comfortable there.

The pain on my left side just under my bottom rib seems to be getting worse. It's tender to the touch. I've had it about 3 months steady. It hurts most when I pull my knee to my chest during my back exercises. I go to bed with a huge backache.

Los Angeles Airport is very close to the ocean, so is cooler than where Mom and Frank live in Simi Valley. I wonder what that pain is after getting a clean bill of health last week?

Frank's 56th Birthday

Sunday September 1, 1991

Frank's 56th birthday! We're up at 7 a.m. so we have time for breakfast before the gospel hour followed by the Hymn-Along. The "Hymn-Along" is great! We all get song books. Everyone sings, even Frank. He sings quite well and seems to enjoy it almost as much as I do. We sing all the good old hymns like "In The Garden" and "When The Saints Go Marching In". It is a very inspirational and meaningful 2 hours for both of us.

We spend the afternoon (12-5) listening to the bands at the pool with Carol, Ray, Nobie and Kay and friends of Carol. We stay til 10:30 p.m. then head home.

It has been a great weekend. Frank and I feel very close--lovey/touchy. Loved dancing with him. My butt is sore from too much sitting but otherwise I feel wonderful. Carol and Ray were very affectionate and thrilled with my news.

I can understand how Mom would feel inspired by the Hymn-Along. I'm not a big fan of gospel or old hymns, but when I attend my church and sing along with the Christian rock band which plays contemporary Christian music, I feel refreshed every week, and feel I am the presence of God. Mom had a special reason to draw close to God, having been convicted that He had healed her cancer.