Memorial Day, 2023

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Memorial Day already. Christmas was only a few weeks ago and Easter was last week. At least that’s the way it seems to me. Time is speeding by faster every day.

I remember the last day of WWII, VJ Day, August 15, 1945. I was about 2 1/2 years old then but it is embedded in my brain. My brother JSG was two months old and mom had spread a blanket on the lawn and she was sitting there beside him while my older brother and I were playing around them. Suddenly all of the bells in town began to ring, fireworks were being set off, and our paper carrier, a boy from down the street, came running and shouting “The war is over, the war is over” and my mom began to cry. She had three brothers fighting in Europe, and my dad’s youngest sister was an Army nurse stationed in the Pacific. Not sure where in the Pacific but she would also be coming home.

Mom’s two older brothers were both Mess Sargent’s (and once when I called them cooks one of them quickly corrected me). They were in separate units in France and then Germany, one of them making sure there were no onions or garlic in his food. He never did like them and never used them after he came home either.

Mom’s youngest brother, Leo, began his fighting in North Africa and fought his way to Berlin, working north through Italy, France and then on to Germany. Three times he was the only survivor of battles and was scarred for life from the survivors guilt. Today they can treat this but back then it was called “battle fatigue” or something like that and there was no treatment offered to the affected people.

According to a family story my Aunt Trudy had the distinct privilege (?) of giving John Kennedy the first pain shot after his PT 109 incident. Whether true or not we don’t know, but it was a tale going around while she was still living, so maybe it is true.

We have had veterans in several wars over the years, beginning with my several times great-grandfather, Michael Cashin, an Irish immigrant who fought with the Union Army in the un-Civil War. My sister found the ship’s log where Michael signed in for his voyage to America, shipping out of Wycliff, County Wycliff. Once I knew the year he shipped out but can’t remember it now. He met a lady named Elizabeth on board and they were married after arriving in Baltimore.

My dad’s parents were from Germany, and Pop came to this country in the late 1890’s, settling first in Jasper, IN where he met and married Anna Klemper, known to all of us as Mom. They built a house in Daviess County, KY in 1904 and raised their children there. The house is no longer there, destroyed after some drug pusher cooked their poison in the cellar of the by then abandoned house. I have so many fond memories of that house where my dad was born. We don’t know if any of the relatives left behind in Germany ever served in the army there, but I have visited Bavaria, staying in a Gasthaus once owned by a Goetz family. The chance of some relatives being drafted into the German army are pretty good, but again, no one knows.

Much closer to today are my brother and youngest sister, both serving in the Air Force, my brother a career man and my sister serving for 12 years before resigning to raise her children. One of my cousins, Leo’s son, was also career Air Force, while two of my brothers were Marine and National Guard. At least one cousin in the Navy, my husband in the Navy, and several in the Army during the Viet Nam era, and an uncle by marriage, career AF, flying helicopters in Viet Nam. There might be others I don’t remember, but to all of them, I send my thanks for their service.

And to all veterans everywhere, Thank you!

I still have problems getting my photos to do what I want them to do, but here are the WWII veterans, top photo Uncles Vird, Leo, and John, next Uncle John somewhere in France, and bottom, Uncle Vird, Aunt Trudy, and Uncle Leo.

I have heard an amusing tale about Uncles Vird and Leo from my aunt. Uncle Vird had a weekend pass and a jeep in Paris. As he was driving around he spotted Uncle Leo standing against a building, more likely leaning against it since he was visibly exhausted. Vird stopped and asked him if he wanted a ride and Leo got in the jeep and leaned back for the ride without looking at the driver. They drove around for a while and then Vird asked Leo if he was ever going to say hello to his brother. At that point Leo looked over and was very happy to see Vird. That was the first time either of them had seen the other since they were drafted. Some time later the three of them met in France, and from there went their separate ways until they finally met again in Berlin. Three of my heroes.


Can you ever get the country out of the lady?

( I started this post a few years ago and it was promptly lost in the Ethernet. Just found it again and decided to post it because I still had a sense of humor, weird though it may be, and since I now have that problem again, but in the other foot, I’m sure there will be another trip to the ER and another painful interlude coming up in the future.)

Maybe. But it isn’t easy. I lived in the country most of my life and have always gone barefoot. In the summer I was barefoot outside as well as inside. Winters I wear socks in the house and only put on shoes when I go outside. Living in town now and in an apartment building I have to wear shoes when I go out, or if in the power chair, just heavy socks.

I sew a lot, making doll clothes and quilts. And with no feeling at all in my fingers I usually drop a lot of pins and needles, finding them when I step on some and sit on others. Most people say “OUCH” when they see that, but I have MS and don’t have much physical pain, so while I might say something like “oops, I found it” I’m never very concerned. So when my foot began hurting a few days ago it didn’t really concern me much. I had already washed my feet once this month, but decided to take the socks off and wash them a second time. I guess it was a good idea to take the socks off, even though they weren’t stiff yet. Imagine my surprise when I saw the foot was red and swollen just around the big toe! So, being an independent person and a DIY’r, I decided to care for it myself and began picking at a small scab. Whew! what a mess. I won’t go into detail here because I’m trying to eat, but suffice to say it was infected!

So, for the next few days I washed the foot, just that one of course since the other one was okay, put antibiotic cream on the area and bandaged it to keep the sock from making it worse! Okay, okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit, but seriously, by Friday it was hurting and I made the decision to have my son take me to a clinic to get an x-ray.

The doctor there was telling me how I would have to begin a wound management program to clear up the infection, how it would entail going every day for treatment, blah, blah, blah. Then they showed him the x-ray. He looked a few times before informing me that I have a sewing needle embedded in my foot, but most important, I had to go to the ER for immediate treatment, maybe surgery. Huge sigh!

While I was signing out of the clinic, he told Mike about it and I could hear him tell the doc that I had said in the beginning it was a sure bet that I had a needle in there.

Back out in the rain, climbing back up in the truck, arguing with the seatbelt about who was boss there, getting help from a laughing daughter-in-love, finally getting the seatbelt fastened in time to take it off again at almost the same time, I finally slid out of the truck and grabbed hold of the walker again. Only one person was allowed to go in with me, so while Mike stayed with me Janette went shopping.

I only remember a few of the details of that visit to the ER, just that the PA who was working on the toe couldn’t get the needle out so he just made the entry bigger by means you probably don’t want to know and sent me home to wait for the needle to emerge. While he was working on the foot my darling son took off for the cafeteria rather than holding my hand. Was I surprised at that? Nope! He’s the one who fainted when his youngest son was born.

Okay, such is my tale of past experiences with needles in my foot. And now that I’m remembering it again, I have to say that I was still at the Roosevelt House at the time and had the horrible indoor/outdoor carpeting that catches everything that is dropped and hangs on to it until someone pulls it out manually (or by stepping on it). I am now in a place with hardwood floors and needles and pins are easy to see and corral with my magnet. Still dropping them but so far have only sat on a few needles that embed themselves in my lift chair. Just a mild OUCH for most of them but none embedded in my derriere. At least not yet.

Party Central

I’m beginning to think this place should be named Party Central! Or maybe it’s just that time of year. This past week we have had the Derby hat parade on Thursday, Cinco de Mayo on Friday, a Derby watching party tonight (our horse ran well but lost ground in the end),!

Tomorrow we will have a live concert featuring the Owensboro Community Band, Happy Hour with live music on Monday,and a Mothers Day luncheon on Thursday. My daughter will be here for that, and a few cousins will attend with my Aunt and a cousin who also lives here. I think we might be the only family with this many people who live here.

Two weeks from today will be the Carmel Home annual picnic with barbecue and burgoo! I’ve talked about burgoo before—the food of kings — at least in Daviess County! Other counties have tried to make it but we have the real thing. Mutton, chicken, potatoes, onions, cabbage and corn, all cooked in huge vats holding 60 to 100 gallons over an open fire and all ground up before going in the vat. The meats are cooked first and then ground while the vegetables are cooking in the broth, tomatoes added when it begins to heat up, and all stirred constantly for 12 or more hours. Yummy stuff!

Cooking the burgoo used to be a big deal with large cooking teams taking turns with the stirring. These days they have automatic stirrers run by electricity to do that part. I’ve never been there for that part because I’m usually at home baking cakes for the booths. It’s the ultimate party as well as major fund raiser for the churches in this area.

I’m going to add some photos of this week if I can find some that won’t compromise anyone here. I think I have a few — a few thousand, that is!

These were taken during the race and while I blundered into resizing the bottom one the top was just too stubborn for me. Now I’m going to sit back and enjoy the rest of my mint julip before getting some sleep — I hope!

Cinco de Mayo

Hopefully the spelling is correct. Today we had a party here commemorating the fifth of May. More like a social gathering actually. Apparently it’s the first time they have done this because no one else even knew what the words meant. They just happened to be three of the dozen Spanish words I knew and I think we had the party because some of the Carmelite Sisters are from South America.

I thought it was the Mexican version of our Fourth of July, but one of the Sisters told me it’s about a battle between 2000 Mexicans and five thousand French invaders who tried to take over Mexico. The invaders lost that battle and the country was saved.

We are also having Kentucky Derby parties this week. Yesterday we had a Derby hat parade, each of us wearing the silliest hat we could find. Now I’m going to try to find a photo, possibly a losing proposition since I have a tough time finding them on my laptop, on the blink again, and I’m using the Kindle this time.

How about this top piece? I think I had a bush on my head!

Tomorrow there will be a Derby party and we will watch the Derby together. One of the workers here has an interest in one of the horses, Confidence Game, I think out of the “Don’t Tell My Wife” stable! Who knows? We might have a winning player here!

1The Waiting Game

Just found this in my drafts. Obviously written a few days after I moved into Fern Terrace and only a few days before I began finding all of the problems that were still being hidden from me. So happy to be in a better place now where my only problem is trying to get my laptop and printer to work together. I might have figured the answer to that problem tonight though.

I’m using my laptop now, mostly a good thing.  I have had a few issues with the internet connection here being so slow and unreliable but today I think I have changed that.  Or maybe I should say hopefully it will be changed on Monday when I will be reunited with cable rather than the antenna they have in the rooms here.  Now I have to see if it will come together okay or if there will be an issue with me having it here.  Time will tell.

I am also updating my cell phone.  The cable company also has cell service now and the price for the next two years will be one fourth the amount I have  been paying another service for the past three years.  I was once a very patient person, actually enjoying the wait in doctor’s offices, places of business, the line to renew my license.  It was a chance to read without interruption or at times just close my eyes for a while.  Not so patient these days when life seems like an unending line to wait for anything and everything.  Move from one line to the next, Kindle in hand for reading or playing a game while waiting, then on to the next line.  There should be a better way of doing things that would leave more time for sewing or quilting.  Taking it with me is only half good.  Too many people wanting to know what I’m doing.  We even have to stand in line waiting for one of the two showers to be free.  Imagine having only two showers for 20 plus people.  I’m reminded constantly of high school.   And lights out at 9 pm?

Well thankfully I am in a private room and can close my door and keep the lights on and the television going as late as I please.  Also, thankfully, there are trained people here making sure we are safe at all times.  Nothing is all bad or all good.  We live with what we have and for the most part I’m happy with it all.  I love not having to wash dishes now, but would love to go into the kitchen and cook once in a while.  Not a lot to do to keep my room up — except for those pesky little threads that seem to be everywhere when I’m using my sewing machine!  Yeah, they come in and clean the room for me but there are just some things I want to do for myself.

Last Saturday, for instance.  I decided to move the furniture around to give more space in the room.  The bed had to be turned around so it is now next to the wall and in the corner of the room.  That meant the lift chair had to be pushed over to the far side of the room.  It never occurred to me to ask them for help or to do it for me.  I’ve always moved my own furniture around because I know where I want it.  Easier to do it myself than to try to tell someone else where and why to move things.  And as long as I have the energy I’ll go ahead and do it.  When the energy fails I sit down (unless, of course, I happen to fall down).  But that’s another story altogether!

In reading over this I realize it looks like q lot of complaining but actually I’m just venting a bit because of the time wasted while waiting in line!  Now to see if any of the photos I took of the room made it to the new laptop.  And then to wait for dinner to be put on the table half an hour after we are called to be at the table.  My Kindle has only failed me one or two times there!

More About Insomnia

A few hours ago I wrote about some ways of preventing insomnia, a tongue in cheek piece that mentioned all lights off, no exercise and several suggestions about teas that are supposed to aid in getting to sleep. If I actually drank those teas they would work all right, just not the way I would want.

So, when I woke from my 2 hour sleep tonight — this morning? It’s now 3:30 a.m. and I have already hemmed a doll dress and swept the floor since waking. Whatever the time, I thought about a time when I DID have all the lights out and knew the way to the bathroom blindfolded. It was on the farm while the kids were all still at home and I really didn’t want to even open my eyes because that would definitely wake me completely. Walking across the living room without the light I was making great progress when I ran into some components of the stereo system that my sweet darling kids had been playing with before they went to bed. I guess it just never occurred to them to put it back on the shelf, but of course I fell and skidded across the carpet. Now if you really want to experience something fun try skidding across an indoor/outdoor carpet in the middle of the night.

I had to turn the bathroom light on to doctor the scraped knees and hands and then left the light on so I could get to my recliner (making my way into the bedroom was out of the question after that). Morning came and my little darlings woke up, saw my knees with some of the green fibers from the carpet still in them and tried to tease me about growing fungus on my knees. Not a great move on their part. They then noticed the overturned stereo and all became quiet as they finally put it all back on the shelf.

Perhaps I should mention that I had been home for three days after having surgery when I tripped. Since they were all teenagers they were able to grasp what could have happened and I was babied for a few days after that. Lights were always left on in every room and nothing was left on the floor for the first time ever. I might have taken longer to “recover” from that accident while the kids and hubby had me spending most of my time in the recliner while they brought me the meals they cooked — well, my daughter cooked but the boys helped clear up and I basked in the service I received while they were in the house.

At one time I tried sleeping pills. They worked okay but had a few side effects that were not so great. I got up one morning and went into the living room to find several bags of items stacked on the sofa. No memory at all of driving to the store and shopping, just bags and bags of stuff. After doing a bit of research on the sleeping med I discovered it was a hallucinogen, and several people who had taken it did things they couldn’t remember while under the influence of that pill. I stopped taking that and would like to say I took all of the loot back to the store for a refund, but well, after looking through it all I found that it looked good to me and was all usable, especially the clothes. I would never have paid that much for them while awake, but really, it would have been embarrassing to admit I had shopped in my sleep so I found so many places to wear them. I think I had better taste in everything while asleep than while awake. And I guess I also put the groceries in the fridge since I found some great cheeses in there along with smoked salmon and a few other goodies.

Wow, not I wish I still had my car. I could always pretend I was sleep shopping. But a car isn’t necessary any more. I have the Internet with all those wonderful shops and zzzzzzzz (quiet now, I’m asleep and Amazon is waiting). Zzzzzzzzzzz

More Wisdom From The Radio

It’s almost 10:30 p.m. here and I’m still wide awake. This is an every night problem for me so it was with vast relief when I turned to the local radio programming and saw an article about how to fall asleep and stay asleep. It also reveals that Kentucky is number 3 in the nation when it comes to sleep disorders. So, I guess that means I’m not sitting here alone waiting for something that will make me sleep.

I read the article with interest and made some startling discoveries. First of all, Johns Hopkins recommends that you turn the lights off. O—-KAY! That made sense until i saw the part that says no turning the bathroom light on if you have to answer the call of nature. Ummm, my doctor told me to NEVER be in total darkness so do I put on sunglasses to try this?

Moving on, the National Sleep Foundation advises turning the thermostat down to 60 to 67 F. I think I’ve read before that a cool room brings on sleep but 60 F? Drag those flannels back out for that.

Exercise. Another Johns Hopkins suggestion. But no exercise for two hours before bedtime. Think about how much sleep you might need for this one. I mean, without sounding crass, NO PHYSICAL EXERCISE. So kiss your sweetheart and roll over and go to sleep. Hey, I’m just telling you what the experts on sleep at Johns Hopkins say.

Now there are several other ideas that involve drinking things — warm milk, tart cherry juice, passion flower tea, hops tea, chamomile tea. Just remember after you drink all of those teas that you can’t turn the bathroom lights on. My suggestion would be to sleep in the bathtub. No comment beyond that one.

So, to sum it up, no lights, cold room, no physical exercise at all, and several kinds of drinks before bed each night and you should sleep like a baby. Just a reminder that babies have to be changed a few times during the night. At least, mine did. SWEET DREAMS!

A Few Words About Chocolate

Maybe more than a few, especially since at the moment I am stuffed like one of my chocolate bunnies. Might be the last one I ate just before stuffing myself more with breakfast.

So, about chocolate. It is part of three major food groups you know. First it’s made from a cocoa bean. Beans are a major source of protein. The next part is a bit murky, since the cocoa bean grows on a tree. Nuts grow on trees, plus a few of my family members, so does that also mean chocolate is also part of the nut family? And don’t even ask about me. I’ve been told too many times by my brothers that I am nuttier than the proverbial fruitcake, but that’s another story.

Okay, back to the cocoa bean. To make it into the chocolate we all know and love (at least I do) it is mixed with sugar, which grows as sugar cane or sugar beets. Beets are one of the super foods, high in nutrition, so I’m going to go mainly with that, but the cane is also grown in the ground as a plant, so it must naturally be part of the vegetable family. So far we have veggies and beans covered.

Third, there is the milk. Dairy, right? Some butter fat is also added in some cases, so that’s a double dose of dairy. There we have it. Three major food groups with the outside chance of the nut family added for extra measure.

Now, in a former life I worked at the district Health Department, and while the Epidemiologist totally agreed with my concept, I ran into a bit of trouble with the Dietitian. She insisted I was wrong, so I ran it by the Director. She listened attentively while munching on a chocolate bar and then agreed with the Epidemiologist and me. Three of us for and only one against. And this was at the 7 county District Health Department. Heavy stuff there.

Now for a new look at chocolate. For Easter I received my weight in chocolate, and folks, that’s a lot of chocolate! Well, waste not, want not as I have heard all my life, so I’ve been eating it. I might not have mentioned before that I am a Type 2 diabetic. Every morning at 5:00 a.m., hours before God gets up, someone comes in and pokes my finger with a needle to check my sugar content. Now as much as I would love to say I am 100% sweetness, according to these morning pokes my blood sugar has never raised above 95. For those who don’t know, that’s about as good as it gets. A few mornings it has been 86 and one time down to 70. Just a little bit low for my comfort, but with my chocolate on hand I don’t worry. Even though I have nibbled on it all night while working on the doll clothes, I just didn’t nibble enough a few times. Orange juice with my hot chocolate brings it all back up to normal.

Now don’t get me wrong here. I am diabetic but also watch my diet and exercise once in a while to keep it in check. I’m NOT touting chocolate as a cure for anything except chills in the winter when a nice steaming cup of hot cocoa is just the thing to ward off the shivers. Of course it also requires marshmallows, but those are just for the sticky mustache you get to save for snacking later. I mean, why wash off something that will hit the spot a few hours later?

So, just in case you are wondering, this is actually a spoof about the cocoa bean and all the wonderful things it can cause! Not to be taken as medical advice under any circumstances. Just my daffy justification for eating chocolate rabbits early in the morning. And as a morning snack. Afternoon snack. Midnight snack. Ah heck, I’ll eat it anytime I see it unguarded out in the open!

Can Christmas Be Far Behind?

When Easter comes it seems as if the year is half over. So, how long til Christmas? Do your own math because I don’t even want to know. I still haven’t recovered from the last one.

I always thought time moved slower when we got older. You know, just sitting around enjoying our golden years, nothing much to do, yadda, yadda, yadda! I even made jokes about it when my mom reached 75 — jokes she didn’t seem to appreciate, by the way. Now I understand. I still joke about it, but usually at my own expense now.

When I was in my teens I told someone I didn’t think I would make it to thirty. That seemed so old, especially when one of my aunts reached her 30th birthday. Imagine that, I thought. She’s ready for the old age home. After all, when my grandmother reached 50 she decided she had done enough and she just sat down and waited to die. It was a long wait since she was 97 when she died, but she literally did nothing except cook and watch television while playing endless games of Solitaire. Looked almost normal to me. I would climb the fence to the pasture that separated our homes and go over to visit her every afternoon during the summer. After I helped with her dishes we watched soap operas on her tv and talked during the commercials about everything going on in the outside world. And since our world at the time consisted of family members who all lived within a one mile radius (about 70 people counting all the aunts and uncles and cousins at that time), watching “When The World Turns”, the only one I remember, and waiting for Papa to come in for supper. I had to be home by that time or very soon after to help mom with our supper.

I remember the day I went to Grandmothers to help with her lunch dishes only to find her washing the only kind she ever used after that. It was the beginning of the TV dinners. Of course, frugal woman that she was, she washed the dinner trays. When they moved to town she had a stack of those trays that was almost two feet tall.

My grandmother taught me to make dumplings though, before she retired from cooking. She made the best and since my mom didn’t really care for them while my four brothers, one sister at that time and I all loved them it became my mission in life at that time to learn to make them so we didn’t have to do without after Grandmother stopped cooking. I’m thinking about those right now after something that they call dumplings were served to us at lunch today. Just little squares of dough swimming in some broth. Not the way my grandmother made them at all. Hers were light and fluffy (and so were most of mine) and something to cut into with your fork and see some really good biscuit looking insides. I did eventually teach mom to make them after I married and wasn’t there for all the meals when the boys wanted them.

I’m writing randomly tonight about things that are all under control so I don’t have to think about what’s going on in the world. I also just heard that one of my cousins has passed away and have tried to confirm this without success. My aunt, who lives down the hall from my room left the dinner table immediately after we heard and while I know I should go down and find out if she has heard I’m reluctant to do that. So many family members are gone now. Most of them died peacefully, but the cousin we are concerned about now lost her youngest sister about 74 years ago. I saw that happen — a coal truck came around the school bus without stopping and hit little Judy, flinging her body into the air and across the fence into a field. I still relive that in my dreams — or most likely in my nightmares, and I wonder about this world today. But no, I won’t go there. My son works in Louisville. I’ve heard nothing so am sure he is okay, but until more is forthcoming I prefer temporary ignorance. To quote Cicero, “I’m unafraid to admit I am ignorant about things of which I know nothing!”

Everyone have a safe week and try to remember the saner times in life. Today’s insanity is more than I can handle today.

Having Fun With MS and other sob sories