Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Housewarming Gift for Gary & Maria

Friday June 19, 1992 Doing pretty good today. No nausea. Do some shopping.

Go visit Gary and Maria in the evening and give them their housewarming fit of a ceiling fan.

Gary and Maria's house does not have air conditioning so I'm sure they appreciate having a ceiling fan on those hot summer days, but mostly they just jump in the pool when it's hot.

Square Dance Party

Thursday June 18, 1992

Still tired and slightly nauseated in the morning. Pull myself together and go to the bank and market.

Baked an angel food cake and make jello, strawberry and whipped cream for topping.

At 7 p.m. we go to the Turners for a potluck and square dancing on their patio. There are six couples there plus Shirley's brother and wife. I think I'm too tired to dance but find I'm as energetic as anyone else there. We have a good time and are home about 10:45. I'm so tired I yawn all the way home. I'm in bed and asleep as soon as we get home.

I think it is wonderful that Mom and Frank not only share a passion for square dancing, but have found an entire circle of friends that share their passion and have social get-togethers that involve dancing as well as other activities they enjoy. For more than 3 years I have attended a water aerobics class at my gym 4 times per week, and I guess you could call it my passion since it is one of the few exercises that I really enjoy. For the past year Ric has joined me in the class. But the members of our class don't socialize outside of class, with the exception of the short time dressing in the locker room. There was one potluck several years ago, and that was a great way to get to know some of the people in the class better. Maybe we will plan another potluck at our house this summer.

My other passion is my faith in Jesus Christ and I have many friends from my church that I have made over the past 9 years who share my passion. Unfortunately, my husband does not share my faith and is not at all interested in getting to know my friends or their husbands, even though there are many social opportunities to do so. Ric is what one of my friends calls a CEO: Christmas and Easter only. He generally doesn't sit with me even those two times per year, preferring to arrive late, sit in the back, and leave early before anyone has a chance to greet him.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Honeymoon

Wednesday June 17, 1992

I finally reached Chris tonight about 10 p.m. They had a nice trip home, staying last night near Monterey. Today they went through the Monterey Aquarium. Justin pushed Chris in a wheelchair.

I'm still exhausted and slightly nauseous in the morning. Frank is still working on the Simi rental even though we rented it last night to a couple in their 40s plus a 17-year-old daughter and mom 77 years old. I really like them. I hope they stay a long time.

At 3:30 I see Dr. Swartz my oncologist. We have a real good talk. I really like him alot. He understands and respects me. He called the doctor at Kaiser Hollywood to talk about the pump. Dr. Swartz was impressed.

I am so tired, I can hardly stay awake driving.

If sleeping in my mother's house on my wedding night while my husband watched TV downstairs was depressing, the next night was even worse. We drove up Highway 101 and stayed the night in Motel 6 in Kings City, a highway stop in the central valley of California. Motel 6 is just about the cheapest motel you can find, usually $29-$69/night. The room is tiny with 2 double beds pressed against opposite walls with just enough room between the beds to walk to the tiny bathroom. Carmen, my mother-in-law slept in one double bed, Ric and I in the other, and poor Justin slept on the floor in the tiny closet area outside the bathroom. As usual, Ric insisted on having the TV on all night. The next morning we drove across the coastal mountains to Monterey and visited the famous Monterey Aquarium.

So glad that Mom and Frank found a new tenant they like. Ric and I just rented the house we bought in May 1992, the one Mom and Frank visited us on May 20, 1992, just days after our move. I was 7 months pregnant when we moved in and Derek was born July 14. The couple we rented the house to last Saturday is the same age Ric and I were in 1992, the wife is 7 months pregnant with their first child, and the baby boy is due on July 14! It sounds to me like God brought them right to our doorstep. It's such a great feeling to rent to a tenant who really loves and appreciates the house, especially when it is one we have lived in and made it our home. In this case, we lived in the house on Wellington Circle for 9 years. Hopefully, our new tenants will stay just as long. We can only hope!

Good Mother-Daughter Time

Tuesday June 16, 1992

Up and have waffles ready for everyone. Feeling good still. A bit tired today as the dogs barked alot last night. Chris says she was depressed last night about the wedding. Ric reminds her the important part was that her family was there to witness her wedding. Good Ric!

Smokey begs for Ric's dogs to come in to play. We let them in and Smokey chases the pup around. Chris and I have a good talk time on my bed for an hour. We are close. We really love each other. We are concerned for each other's health. She's so large with child and overweight. Her breasts are tremendous. She's so uncomfortable. She's gained 35 pounds.

By 12:00 they're on their way home. I hope she makes it before going into labor. She's due July 13.

Oh how I miss those long talks with Mom. Usually I sat on the edge of their huge master tub while she fixed her hair and applied her makeup. This day, we sat on her bed and talked. I'm so glad we had that time together. Yes, I was huge and uncomfortable. To try to control the continuous nausea I snacked on box after box of saltine crackers and lots of 7-Up. My cup size, which was already a D, was a G after I gave birth and my milk came in. I never knew bras came that large. I had to go to a specialty store.

That was very nice of Ric to point out the importance of our family being there to witness our wedding. He is almost never romantic and rarely sentimental, but that was a sensitive thing to say.

Chris & Ric's Wedding Day

Monday June 15, 1992

Up at 7:30 feeling good, making french toast for breakfast. We get cleaned up and go to see Frank at Marvel house, then return a diaper bag at Broadway. We stop on the way home to pick up a wedding cake, a torte, that Carmen wants to buy. We, Chris & I, are nervous. It's late and we have to get home, get ready and leave at 3:30. We rush and are ready to leave at 3:55.

Frank must drive really fast to get us to L.A. by 5 p.m. We think you must arrive before 5 for a license to marry. Maria and Gary arrive. We wait until 6:30 for the very brief ceremony. The black woman sounds like a recording. So IMPERSONAL. They are married. We go to Maria's folks to pick up Jr. and Joe and all eat at Black Angus. We pay $115.00 for all. It's fun.

At home Ric wants to stay up for TV when Chris goes to bed. We convince him he should go to bed with his wife on his wedding night. Chris is hurt. Not a great wedding.

"Not a great wedding." Now that is an understatement. I had put off the wedding for many months hoping that my pregnancy nausea would get better. At 8 months pregnant, I felt and looked like a house and I was still nauseous 24 hours per day. There was only one outfit I could still fit into. The dress I had bought for my wedding day was way too small to fit over my belly. As Frank rushed to get us to the courthouse in time to get our license, I focused on the horizon trying hard not to throw up. When we arrived at the courthouse, Frank dropped us off and we rushed in to purchase our license for $50 while Frank parked. It was a 90-minute wait in a hot, stuffy dingy room with a dozen other couples. Finally, our name was called. Mom and Frank, Ric's mother Carmen, Gary and Maria, and my son Justin were with us as we were ushered into another dingy room with a matronly black woman behind the podium officiated. She could not have acted more bored. I don't think she looked at us one single time, but simple read off a sheet of paper in a monotone voice. The "ceremony", if you could call it that, lasted all of 5 minutes. It was so depressing.

Thankfully, Mom and Frank saved the day by taking all of us, including Maria's two boys, out to a steakhouse in Glendale for dinner. That part was fun. However, once back at Mom and Frank's house, my husband the TV addict wanted to stay up late watching TV while I was alone in the guest bed, mostly crying about what a miserable wedding day it had been.

BBQ at Gary's

Sunday June 14, 1992

Up at 7:30 making bacon and eggs and bagels. By noon we heave lunch and head for Gary and Maria's where we spend the day in and around the pool and have a BBQ. The dinner is great! I took beans and broccolli and rolls. Gary BBQd pork ribs. We had a great time! Some got too much sun. I was careful--not too much sun for me.

I have an incident of stabbing pain in my lower abdomen. It lasts about 10 minutes. I'm not sure what is causing my stomach pains. Is it what I'm eating? or scar tissue or the tumors restricting my bowels? I've had alot of pains lately. I'm doing fine on the new chemo drugs. No nausea, no hair loss yet. We are home from Gary's about 8:30.

Gary and Maria have such a great backyard for entertaining their multitude of friends and family. Half of the backyard is a large grass area for the kids to play games and the other half is a nice in-ground pool, pictured above, with an attached jacuzzi. Gary and I did not have a pool in our backyard growing up, but our next door neighbors did, and we spent long lazy summer days swimming and hanging around their pool. It was one of Gary's requirements when looking for a house to buy.

Mom had to careful not to get too much sun while taking chemotherapy drugs. The stabbing pains in her abdomen were almost certainly caused by the tumors impinging on her bowels. I saw an episode of the Dr. Oz show just a few days ago tha talked about early signs of ovarian cancer. The first sign he discussed with bloating that lasted more than 2 weeks, and the second was a change in bowel and bladder habits. Once the tumors spread outside the ovaries, they attach to the intestines and/or bladder and they begin to malfunction. I always thought that the fact that Mom was not losing any of her hair was a sign that the chemo drugs were not working.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chris' Baby Shower

Saturday June 13, 1992

Up at 7:30 to fix breakfast for Chris, Ric, Justin and Carmen. We have omelettes. I finish making the beans and get ready to leave at noon. I'm tired from too little sleep last night. We went to sleep about 1 a.m.

We arrive at Paul and Judy's about 1 p.m. Debby and Frank are there to help. Frank has brought his folks. I get very busy helping. Folks begin to arrive at 2:15 and most are there by 3:15, so we put out the food. I brought salad, beans, chips, jello salads and a high chair. Judy has deli sandwiches. There's plenty of food and a great cake.

Finally Deb brings Joey and Sara over. Strange! Good they came! Phil is working. About 30 friends and relatives are there. Chris gets many nice gifts.

We finally leave there about 7 p.m. I'm exhausted. My back aches. I have alot of abdominal pain.

I was really touched that Frank's daughter-in-law Judy (Paul's wife) wanted to give me a baby shower at their home in Palmdale, about an hour's drive from Simi Valley. She had a one-year-old daughter herself, so I'm sure it was difficult to host a party. Frank's oldest son Philip couldn't make it but his wife Debby came and brought their two children later. Many relatives I had not seen in years and haven't seen since were there. The shower was lovely. Too bad that even at 8 months pregnant I was still suffering from horrible nausea. And Mom was suffering too, both from fatigue and from abdominal pain. She didn't let it show.

I really liked Paul and Judy and thought they made a great couple. I felt sad when they split up years later.

Our 10 Year Anniversary

Friday June 12, 1992 Our 10-Year Anniversary

I'm up feeling fine with my chemo drugs. Once cleaned up I head out for shopping for groceries and an anniversary card for Frank. He brings me flowers from the florist and a lovely card.

We go out to dinner at Ruben's Steak House and have prime rib and shrimp. It's great. They bring us a cheesecake and helium balloons and sing "Happy Anniversary". Great fun! I even manage a glass of wine before dinner.

At home there are last minute things to do to get ready for the shower tomorrow. We are in bed for love at 10:30. At 11:30 Chris and gang arrive. The dogs spend the night in the shed and side yard. It's good to see them and especially Chris safe and sound. She's 4 weeks from baby due date.

Oops, after a long drive from Windsor, over 400 miles, and with my belly out to the dashboard, I'm quite sure I was relieved to finally arrive at Mom and Frank's house with Justin and my mother-in-law Carmen with us. But it sounds like we interrupted their anniversary "celebration". And I wonder what Mom means about the dogs spending the night in the shed and side yard. I thought the dogs always stayed there. Maybe they normally slept inside the house, and were only kept outside when company was at the house.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smokey the Cat

Thursday June 11, 1992

A regular day, feeling fine. I go marketing, banking, etc.

In the evening I try to wrap Chris' high chair gift but I don't have enough paper to finish.

Tomorrow Smokey will get a hormone shot to keep him from peeing on the furniture. Sure hope it works.

In the evening, we take some drapes over to Gary's. They can use them on their dining room slider.

Mom & Frank's cat Smokey looked alot like the one in the photo above. They had a horrible problem with Smokey marking his territory by spraying urine all over their furniture. They kept a piece of plywood with small nails sticking up in his "favorite" chair so you had to be careful when picking a seat at their house. They tried everything, but Smokey would spray whenever they left him alone in the house. I'm glad I have dogs!

Clothes Shopping

Wednesday June 10, 1992

Slow getting started this morning. Kathy Murphy calls and we talk for an hour. Then I clean the bath and bedroom thoroughly. I'm exhausted when I finally come down at 1 p.m. dressed and ready for the day.

I go shopping and buy some clothes for me at Mervyn's in the regular size department. I wear a large. that feels much better than shopping in the big lady stores. I'm exhausted 2 hours later.

I go by the Marvel house to see how Frank is doing. He has the house looking so lovely. Many phone calls each day to rent it but nothing serious.

We have dinner and head for the movies, but our passes are expired so we go shopping at Target and buy a high chair for Chris' baby.

The pains in my lower abdomen are so bad I have to hurry to the car to lay down. They are worse than yesterday.

So Mom is out shopping for clothes again while Frank is slaving away on HER rental house, one that will go to her children when she dies. That doesn't seem fair at all. First of all, Mom already has so many clothes they fill 3 closets, and her square dancing outfits have an extra rack of their own. My husband Ric has been working on one of our rental houses for the past 6 weeks, and I make sure I am there by his side doing whatever I can to help. When I was working at PG&E, of course, I could not do this, but now that I am retired I try to support him by doing little things while he does the heavy lifting, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work.

That must be very concerning to have her abdominal pain get so much worse in just one day, especially since she is taking medication that is supposed to be shrinking the tumors. I hope she contacts her doctor, and soon!

60 Year Old Gypsy

Tuesday June 9, 1992

Frank is off to Newbury Park to meet the plumber. Frances, Frank's cousin, calls finally. she tells me all about her breast cancer and treatment. We have a good talk. She is like a gypsy. She really has no home. She is 60. She's staying with her sister and family in Reseda. She has no money or insurance. What will she do? Her ex, Stan, has offered her a home and care but she doesn't want to feel obligated. Her mom Aunt Felice (85) wants her to stay at her house but they don't get along.

We go out to dinner and over to Gary's to see his new furniture. We discuss several of his small house problems and Frank has all the answers for quick cheap repair.

I feel good except pains in lower abdomen in evening, but no side effects from new medicine.

Wow! I just cannot imagine a woman who is 60 years old and has absolutely nothing to provide for her security: no home, no money, no insurance. I have spent the past 40 years making sure I have these things for myself and my family. Frank's cousin seems to be not only lazy but too proud for her own good. Her ex-husband is so kind and generous to offer a home and to take care of her, but she is too proud to accept his offer. Even her mother is willing to put aside their differences and care for her daughter. Do we the taxpayers bear the burden of cancer treatments for a person like this? I can't help wondering what Mom's reaction was. She was always the first to offer advice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Monday June 8, 1992

Up early to start the wash. Just a wee bit of nausea. I started my new pills last night. I took 9 at bedtime with a Compazine. Then I took a Compazine for nausea every 4 hours til lunch. Then I went to get my nails done at 10:45, then banking and home to finish the wash.

At 7:30 we go square dancing. It's the first night of our "Over the Hill Gang" class. It's a great turnout of 15 squares. We have such a good time and I feel so good we all go to Hudson's Grill to eat and party. I feel tired but good.

During the past 8 months I had been battling nausea round the clock with my pregnancy. The doctor prescribed Compazine for me, telling me it was used for chemotherapy patients. For me it didn't touch the nausea. In fact, nothing helped. It sounds like the Compazine was working for Mom. Perhaps it's because her nausea is caused by medication, and mine was caused by hormones.

Science of Mind Church

Sunday June 7, 1992

Up at 7:15 to get ready to go to church with Cathy Thomas. She wants to take me to the Simi Valley Science of Mind Church. I've always been curious about that church. What do they believe?

First I fix a french toast breakfast for Frank, Jr. and I. Frank makes breakfast for Joseph when he finally gets up.

Cathy and I head for church and Frank takes the boys with him to Newbury Park. They'll have lunch out.

This church is very warm and friendly. Rich and Sandy Shelling are there (square dancers). They believe the power is within us but do refer to God as the higher power. The singing is great! Food for thought.

Cathy and I go to Marie Callendar's for lunch. Good time together--alone. Later Gary and Maria come for dinner.

From Wikipedia: "Religious Science, also known as Science of Mind, was established in 1927 by Ernest Holmes (1887–1960) and is a spiritual, philosophical and metaphysical religious movement within the New Thought movement. In general, the term "Science of Mind" applies to the teachings, while the term "Religious Science" applies to the organizations. However, adherents often use the terms interchangeably. RS/SOM teaches that all beings are expressions of and part of Infinite Intelligence, also known as Spirit, Christ Consciousness, or God."

The beliefs of Religious Science are fundamentally different from the traditional Christian church where Mom was raised and continued to believe. Christianity teaches that man is separated from God because of sin, and that the only way to have a relationship with Him is through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, who washes our sins away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Furniture for the New House

Sunday June 6, 1992

Joseph and Jr. are up already when we come downstairs at 7:30. They are watching the movies we rented for them. Frank goes to Marvel for some last minute touchup. The ad "for rent" is running in today's paper.

After lunch poor Frank goes to Newbury Park. His tenant there says there's a leak in the plumbing coming through into the downstairs. Just when we thought he was about through taking care of problems in the rentals!

The boys and I are waiting for the phone call that the new furniture is ready to deliver to Gary's house. The call finally comes at 2:15. We go to let them in. We try to arrange it to look real nice when Gary and Maria arrive home from their honeymoon.

We go square dancing 8-11. I feel real good.

Mom owned 3 rental houses, including the one she lived in prior to her marriage to Frank. Frank owned one rental house, the one he lived in before he and Mom bought a house together to live in. That makes a total of 4 rental houses. Even though Frank had retired the previous year, these houses could become a full-time job. The houses that Ric and I own (9 rentals) plus the 6 that we manage for Ric's mother have become a huge burden as well. When everything is going smoothly, the houses are all rented and prices are appreciating, real estate can be a very good investment. But for the first time in my lifetime, the value of real estate has come crashing down the past six years. We have lost most of our equity in the rental houses, and there are a few that are "under water", meaning our loan amount is larger than the value of the house. The houses that we bought 10-20 years ago are now requiring alot more maintenance than when they were new, and because of the recession, we have had to evict a few tenants in the past year, and other tenants are way behind in their rent. All of this creates a very stressful life during what was supposed to be our golden leisure retirement years. I do as much as I can, but Ric is the one stuck with doing the hard manual labor like cleaning sewer lines, repairing sheetrock, replacing toilets and water heaters. The work never seems to end. I can so relate when Mom says "poor Frank". With 20/20 hindsight, how I wish we had sold our houses 5 years ago when I retired!

Gary & Maria's Wedding Day

Friday June 5, 1992 Gary & Maria's Wedding Day

We follow Gary & Maria and the boys to the County Courthouse in downtown L.A. and arrive at 12:30 p.m. They request to be married at 2:00. we have a bite to eat.

At 2:00 we go into the small room where the Marriage Commissioner, who looks 20 years old performs the ceremony. It's very sweet. Ralph and Rita (Maria's brother and his wife) are there also.

We gather in the foyer and DWP fellow workers begin to arrive, friends of Gary's from work. They are all congratulating them--about 20 guys. The DWP big yellow trucks are all parked on the street. After I take a group picture, Gary and Maria drive off with all the trucks following, honking horns and flashing lights. What a kick!

We all go to Maria's folks house where there is food and drink waiting. At 5 p.m. we take Joe and Jr. home with us for 2 nights. I feel wonderful, even in heels.

Thanks Gary for sending me your wedding photos. The Marriage Commissioner really does look 20 years old! The second photo I assume to be the group photo Mom took on the courthouse steps with Maria shielding her face from all the rice being thrown at them. That's pretty awesome that the Department of Water and Power where Gary works let all those guys off their jobs to be at the courthouse, and then that they all came. When I retired from Pacific Gas & Electric, my retirement luncheon was planned at the end of a safety meeting so that no one would have to leave a job in progress to attend the lunch.