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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bag Balm

Molly left me a note yesterday to remind me that her last request as Fun Monday hostess is for bloggers to write about a child hood memory.  She knew that I would be drawn to this topic like a fly to manu… Er… No, I mean a bear to honey.

A memory had already been evoked in me earlier this month when suffering with a horrible fever blister that covered the end of my nose and part of my upper lip.  While doing some errands for Auntie Fern,  one of the owners of the retirement village suggested I slather my affliction with Bag Balm.  Immediately two thoughts popped into my head.  One was of that big fat wedding movie –  where the father character pulls out a spray bottle of Windex (window cleaner) every time someone appeared in the script with a skin ailment.

* * *
The other sentiment was of my dad.  My dad would never have been so bold to suggest his remedies to strangers, but he did share his opinions freely with family.

If you had a headache it was because you didn’t have your morning constitutional.  (Bowel Movement – for those who might not have been clear on that description.) Enough said about that.

Dad didn’t use deodorant, aftershaves, or colognes. And, he had a low opinion of the men who used them. He considered it “stinky” stuff.   When he put down his razor,  dad slapped on a few splashes of Campho-phenique, an antiseptic liquid. 

During my childhood, Campho-phenique came in a dark green glass bottle that, when opened, could be detected immediately by my nose at the opposite end of the house.  Granted, our house was small; but that does not in any way denigrate the size of its smell.  I will add that mom sometimes used the liquid on our scraped knees and minor cuts which probably made it more hostile in my scent memories.

And then there was that other proven product:  Bag Balm. There was always a big green canister of the stuff in the bathroom, and another one on dad’s work bench.  He used it to alleviate any sore or lesion that beset his body.  Because his overworked hands were so calloused and cracked, he used the medicated salve as his hand crème of choice.   On more than one occasion I heard my mama chastising dad because the morning or evenings milking was tainted with a tincture of bag balm, and thus not suitable for consumption. 

* * *
Here’s where I have to admit that I arrived home the morning of my Bag Balm encounter and went straight to my bathroom medicine cabinet.  In there, I found two canisters of Bag Balm. Curiosity send me to the the hallway cupboard.  Sure enough, a third canister.

Yes! Of Course!  I opened one and generously dabbed the ointment all over the end of my nose.  

Fun Monday is welcome to all memories.  Click here!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grand Weekend

It is a good weekend when you get to see all the grandchildren -- except one.

Here is grandpa at the head of the table.  He is presiding over lunch in Clackamas Town Center at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  It was a great meal with Karmyn, The Caboose, David, Jammin', Buttercup, Curlymop, and Amanda.  I ate my entire serving of vegetable lasagna.

Back home, I got this photo of Mizelle, Red-headed Girl, Jennifer, and Goober Evalina.    These are the sugar and spice girls, of course.  The little sticks and stone boys didn't want to be in grandmas photo plans, 

no matter how we tired to shake them down.

Missed seeing the absent 15 years old grandson.  Teenagers!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Faith, Hope, and Prayers

Our eldest daughter is diagnosed with the very rare Hurthle Cell Carcinoma.

Karmyn's GP and her surgeon had been so encouraging and had prepared her (and us) for a benign result.  Instead, we are reeling from the pathology report with disbelief and shock.   She now requires additional surgery to remove the remainder of her thyroid.  Then she moves on to chemotherapy and thyroid hormone replacement.

Our family has been buffeted by the winds of life's storms the past months.  But there have been prayers answered ....

My dentist brother Ron (and his wife Kay) returned from an extended trip to a third world country that suffers a high incident of HIV.  During one of the clinics, where my brother donated his skills on the locals teeth, he suffered a needle accident.

*Subsequent blood tests have shown negative results for any contracted virus.

Upon their return to the states, Kay was feeling ragged and run down.  She was shortly diagnosed with colon cancer.  I cried and prayed long distance with Ron as his wife was prepared for surgery.

*The cancer was encapsulated and she will not have to endure the rigid chemotherapy. 

Our middle daughter is going through a litigious divorce following a tumultuous marriage. She and her three little ones arrived in the middle of the night with close to nothing and lived with us for five months.  Having a 5, 3, and 1 year old in the house takes many adjustments for two grandparents who have been accustomed to their own space. But those challenges were minimal compared to the emotional turmoil brought on by a vicious custody battle.  Unjustified accusations - both written and oral - keep us on guard.

*My grandchildren are still in our daughter's temporary custody.  She acquired a great job that she loves - a blessing during a time of high unemployment.  An unexpected receipt of funds also provided for a used car and an apartment lease. We continue to pray for peace in their lives.

My husband lost his job.  The official term is Reduction in Force (RIF).  His employer was the State and the budget cuts effected us very close and personal.  Because of some physical limitations I have not worked full time for over two years.

*Shortly before the last day of his contract, my husband was approached to teach a programming class winter quarter at the local community college. It's been hard work to prepare the class, but it has been rewarding for him.  Just last week he was contracted by a local business to build and maintain a website.  On Friday, the college offered him a second class during Spring quarter.  We have been blessed with income and have not been forced to raid our retirement fund.

Amanda, Jennifer, Karmyn with us on Oregon Coast
We are expecting miraculous healing and recovery for our daughter Karmyn.  Just last evening our friends in Colorado Springs told us that they and their friends would PUSH for her.  They explained that it was an acronym for  Pray Until Something Happens.

That is exactly what we plan to do.  PUSH for Karmyn.  Please join us.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The First of The Month - Watch Them Grow

This is my second post in the meme called First of the MonthThe goal is to capture one thing repeatedly on the first of each month. It can be a landscape, a person, an animal, a project; whatever your focus is, is fine. It can even be a record of where you are each First of the Month.  
My theme is my three grandchildren, Zbub, Mizelle, and Dinkum.  It is called:

Watch them grow!

This photo meme is hosted by Jan @  Murrieta 365

December Post
January's Post

Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Million Dreams

The theme for Fun Monday this week carried me back to the double bed that I shared with my sister Trish.  There was a time that it sat in the unfinished basement where its headboard and the headboards of my other siblings beds were flush against the cold concrete.  It was probably a lot like going to summer camp (and I sure wanted to go to summer camp), except we slept there in formation out of necessity.   Lucky for Trish and me, Mama pestered daddy until he allowed a small addition and some remodeling that added two teeny bedrooms to what had been a one bedroom main floor.  That saved us from the nightly routine of descending those cold basement steps.

In that ancient squeaky old bed I remember waking up afraid.  I would cry “Mama” or run through the house in search of her comfort.  She would get out of her ancient squeaky old bed and walk me me back and tuck me in and softly rub my back.

That is when she would ask me, “What would you buy if you had a million dollars?”

I would start naming things, none of which I can recall this moment.  Mama would listen quietly or maybe nod and respond with a knowing, “hmmmm.”  Then she would rub her fingers across my cheek to make sure all the tears were gone. 

“You think of some more things and tell me the rest in the morning. Okay?”


“Good night, Pameluji.”

“Good night, Mama.”

Looking back at those moments through the eyes of an adult, I think that dreaming is what Mama did before she fell asleep each night.  She had so little.  I imagine that with the million dollar windfall in her mind, she was remodeling the house so that each of her children had a bedroom, a bed, a closet, and several chest-of- drawers filled with well-tailored clothes and footwear. No more mended hand-me-downs.  A new piano would sit in a conservatory where her children and their music teacher would spend the afternoon in lessons.  The evening meal would be savored in a dining room with a sturdy table and matching chairs. Oh! There would be real china and silverware to share with guests. The pantry would be full and there would never be any stress on her part about the next days meals.  College tuition would be paid in advance and her children would all graduate with honors. (She was an idealist.)  Mama, however,  was not so extravagant as to have dreamed about buying her children new cars. Those new shoes were made for walking!

Some nights even now when I have trouble falling asleep I hear my Mama asking, "What would you buy if you had a million dollars?"

With the millions that my imaginary lotto ticket provides, I lie in bed and list all the ways I make life easier for my children and grandchildren.  Then I benefit close friends and neighbors with my fantasy philanthropy.  By the time my eyelids grow heavy, I am writing anonymous checks to worthy charities. Sometimes I fall asleep dreaming of going to summer camp.

Join Molly and the 10 million dollar dreamers of Fun Monday by clicking here!