Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another try...

I'm still working on getting the hang of making a dvd.  Thank you again, Michael!  (He came over today and tutored me again.)  These are the same pictures from 4th of July, but this time with music and "stuff."  Another experiment, figuring out how to make it the right length to fit the music to the pics, etc.  A lot of the pictures are not great, and there's no real ending, etc.  But, it worked, so I accomplished my goal.

Now I have to work on putting a real project together.  You know, with a beginning, middle, and end.  With a point.  Other than just looking at these adorable grandchildren.   Hmmmm, come to think of it, do I really NEED any more reason than that?

Well, after looking at this, I just realized that it's only the slide show, not the whole dvd.  But, you get the idea (Erin--you're probably the only one looking at it anyway).

Sunday, July 10, 2011



Okay, so Michael came over today and showed me how to do some stuff with my pictures.  I feel foolish that I've had this computer, with this capability (and much more) for two years now, and have never even tried to do this.  Of course, I guess I really haven't had the time until the last couple of months, have I?  I've spent, now, probably 5 hours today on this.  The latest thing I did was upload it to YouTube so that I could share it with a few people.  But, I think the music did not load with it.  Don't know why.  Still gonna be working on that, I guess.  Thanks Michael!!!


I found out that YouTube won't let me upload it with the music attached, because of those pesky copyright issues.  (I guess I should just compose my own music?  I don't think so.)  Soooo, I'm attempting to upload the video directly here.  We'll see how that works.


Here's the video, WITH the music (I hope).  Please remember, this is just a first attempt, trying out different things, etc., with no real overriding theme or plan.  The next one will be LOTS better, at least that's my hope at this point.

Hoping this works.  All I have to say is now I've found yet another way to spend (waste?) my time. Not that I needed one.  Oh wait, how can it be wasted time if I'm enjoying it so much!  Isn't that what this whole retirement thing is about?  Oh don't I just love the R-word!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How many shots does it take?

For the 4th of July, Erin & Jeff brought the kids over for fireworks (still legal here).  My goal for the day, besides the fireworks, was to get a good (dare I ask for great?) picture of the three kids together.  

I started out with just the boys.  Thought I'd get one of them together before we added Kayla.  Such sillies!

I especially love these faces.  This was after we'd reminded them to just sit still and look natural, that I just wanted one "good" picture!

Then we put Kayla in the chair with them.  She wore her new 4th of July dress that I had just finished that morning, and I wanted a picture of her modeling it.

So, we added her to the group...

That was it.  She was done!  So, photo shoot plans on hold, just waiting for another opportunity.
Later on, we noticed they were all together, looking cute, and decided to try again...

Got a kind of good one of Kayla in the dress.

 So, here we are again.  Trying again for that "perfect" shot...

Now that I'm looking at them again, this is probably the closest to what I had in mind.   Not quite, though, but almost...

 Turn around Kayla... Look at Dad.

Tyler was hanging in there, but starting to look kind of sick of the whole thing.

Kayla:  "Okay, I'm done again.  I'm outta here!"

The funny thing is, I wasn't very happy about these pics yesterday, kept thinking about that "perfect" one I wasn't getting.  But now, as I look at them again, I kinda love 'em.  I'm just grateful for digital photography.  At least I can just keep on clicking away in the pursuit.

So how many pictures did I shoot to get that perfect one?  Apparently, not quite enough.  But I'll get that perfect shot some day.  I know I will.  I know it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

RIP Cocoa (3/1/1997 - 4/24/2011)

Cocoa - then and now. When we first knew him, he was a little bundle of chocolate brown fur, with big brown eyes and a funny personality. Yes, I admit that over the years he developed several irritating qualities and idiosyncrasies (is that appropriate to say about a dog?). But his original and primary job was to provide company, entertainment, and distraction for Jessica while I was working, and he certainly has done that for many years. And in the end, despite all his "issues," we loved him.

Cocoa in his youth--what a handsome guy.

This is a fairly recent shot, showing his old man, gray haired face.
He used to frequently have us laughing hysterically when he was young. We called him the "The Hunter." He would sit and stare at and stalk a yellow tennis ball. It would catch his attention, innocently lying on the floor across the room from him; he would sneak up on it, taking maybe 5-10 minutes to creep his way across a small room. He would inch up to it slowly, stealthily, his whole little body so tense with anticipation we could see him trembling; finally, when he was poised a few inches away, he would pounce on it in triumph, and then go off somewhere and proudly chew on and punish his "kill."

He would do absolutely anything for a Milk Bone "cookie" -- sit up, roll over, speak, turn in circles, etc. etc. Happily do anything! All I had to say was, "Do you want a cookie?" and he would go into his whole repertoire of tricks, sometimes without even being prompted.

It's been a few years since we've seen any of these antics. The last few years he's gone deaf and nearly blind, and it's been a long time since he's been enthralled by a yellow tennis ball. He's seemed content just to get a scratch here and there, an occasional cookie, and a nice soft blanket to curl up on. He's also gotten a bit senile, I think, over the last couple of years, and has been more difficult to live with (who of us is not more difficult to live with as we age?). For instance, whenever he was alone, or thought he was alone, he would start hysterically howling, almost screaming, and would keep that up for a minute or two. (One of my friends, when she heard the howling over the phone, nicknamed him "Psycho Dog.") At first, we could just call to him; he would realize he wasn't alone and would stop. But since he's gone deaf, that wasn't even possible; we had to walk over to him and touch him, and he would calm down. Difficult for us AND our neighbors. But, he was an "old man," as I always said, and we just kind of cut him a break, so to speak, and lived with it.

Not unexpectedly, he's had more medical problems over the last few years as he's aged. And finally they have become too much to manage. As I was driving him to the vet's office this morning, for the final time, I realized that he had indeed fulfilled his role; for 14 years he's been company and good friend to Jessica, which was my goal.

We'll miss you, Cocoa -- you were a good boy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Remember This...

I used to love sewing for my girls when they were little. I was never very accomplished, mind you, but fortunately little girls are not very picky, and I felt productive and enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun sewing with my friend Carol. When our girls--Natalie, Sabrina, Jessica & Erin--were small, we used to get together and struggle through sewing little outfits for them. Neither of us was very good, but it was a lot of fun. All of these "girls" are now in their 30's, and all but Jessica are moms themselves now. It has been that long since I've done any sewing at all. It was a long-distant memory, and I never really thought I'd be doing it again. Probably the last time I did any sewing was 1982 or '83. I started school in 1983, and I know for sure I never did anything since then. It was all about school, and then it was all about working and just managing.

So, now that I'm RETIRED, I decided to try it again. I didn't really plan this--just thought about it the other day, and decided to go for it (since I have time, hehehe). And fortunately, I have some little girls to sew for again. And hopefully, they won't be any more picky than my girls were back then. (And maybe this time I'll actually get GOOD at it!) So, I made this little dress for Kayla yesterday. I can tell you that there are LOTS of flaws in it, and I will probably always see them whenever I see the dress, but I think it is pretty cute, and it was relatively easy. Some things seem to have not changed at all--I still an NO good at zippers (if anyone has suggestions for me, feel free). And I discovered that the seam ripper is, indeed, still my best friend. But, all in all, it was fun, and I am definitely going to do more!

So, in answer to the question apparently asked of all newly retired people: NO, I am not worried about being bored!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011


I have worked at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital for almost 24 years. I'm retiring this year, and as the day approaches I find I am having very mixed feelings. So many memories. People, situations, problems, difficulty, triumph, sadness, connection, challenge, learning, emotion, loss, growth, sorrow, happiness. And so much more. All tied to FPH in some way or another.

April 1 will be my last day. Just thinking about walking away from there on that last day... I'm not even sure I can describe how I feel about it. That's probably why I'm writing about it--an attempt to process the feelings. I will be having a little farewell that day, and will take lots of pictures throughout this next week. I'll probably do another post after the fact, and will put up those pictures then. But right now, it's just about all these feelings.

I took the job at FPH in 1987, right out of nursing school, mostly because they had a unit dedicated to treating diabetes patients. I interviewed with several other hospitals, but was strongly attracted by the strong diabetes focus at FPH. I felt very passionate about that at the time, and still do, actually. During my nursing school experience, I had seen several "near-miss" incidents at different hospitals, where patients with diabetes were treated in kind of a haphazard way, insulin doses missed or overshot, diagnostic tests scheduled without consideration of medication needs, etc. Jessica had been diabetic for a few years by that time, and I was very sensitive to the needs of diabetes patients I was seeing in various medical and surgical settings. I was horrified by what I saw during school, to be quite honest. I was very attracted by the idea of a unit and a staff who were dedicated to making sure patients with diabetes were treated appropriately in the hospital setting, that hospital administration as well as the nurses who worked there had made a commitment to doing so.

Of course, over the past two decades I have seen many many changes, but I still recall how exciting to me it was to have that brand new job, after the slog through school. To finally feel the security of having that paycheck and mostly knowing that we finally had health insurance. It was an immense relief. After a few years of working, I realized that my real passion was more focused on people's inner, emotional lives than their physical care. I began a long process of more schooling, with a plan to change careers. I was supported in that by so many people, and my schedule was always accommodated; it was difficult, but I always appreciated the flexibility of a nursing schedule that allowed me to pursue other interests and needs.

My friends at FPH have gone through a lot with me. When Jessica had her stroke in '95, they were the ones, mostly, who supported me, got me through it. Many of them also helped me financially during those first few months, when I had to take more time off than I had vacation/sick time to pay for. And they all helped me emotionally. It was wonderful having someone to talk to at 3 in the morning when I couldn't sleep, worrying about how I was going to manage--a huge night shift bonus is having friends who are awake and don't mind a call.

When Jessica's needs finally made it impossible for me to continue in my second school life, and I realized I was never going to be able to really change careers, it was a huge loss to me; it was largely my friends at FPH who helped me cope, who listened as I cried about my feelings, the finality and enormity of that loss.

When Erin was getting married, those were the friends who gave me ideas and helped me plan how to do things for her wedding. When I was going to be a grandma, they were the friends I talked to about it. They have watched my grandchildren come, and have looked at my endless pictures of them as they've grown. They listen with interest to my grandma stories, as I listen to theirs. Some of them know the kids as well as any family could. Probably because I don't have a huge family of my own, many of these friends have become like family to me, and have beautifully fulfilled that role.

When I had surgery, I was not cared for by just nurses and hospital employees. I was truly taken care of by my friends. There is a lot to be said for knowing that there are people all around you who you absolutely trust to take good care of you.

Of course, as I've aged, the "family" feeling I have for many friends at FPH has changed. Now many of them feel like my children instead of my peers. Because, of course, now many of them are the ages of my own children. I care about many of them like my own children; I want the best for them, have hopes for their lives and their children and their futures.

Part of the tension between looking forward to retirement and having great anxiety about it, I know, is the knowledge that in my ideal world (is there such a thing?) I would still be working another two to three years. I'm working on accepting that I do not live in a perfect world, and I don't get to have what I might want. There are many reasons that this is necessary now, which I won't belabor here. But part of the feeling of loss, I think, is not just related to no longer working; it is accepting that the perfect retirement I'd once imagined is never going to be reality.

So, yes, I have a lot of FEELINGS about leaving FPH. There have, of course, been many changes there over all these years; many people I cared about have left before me, and many new people have come in. A few special ones have become close friends, but mostly I feel the sensation of being more connected to the past than the new. Part of that, I'm sure, is just a natural part of being older. My connections, my memories, are more with the past; that is where my most intense commitments remain. That realization helps me to separate, too. It is, after all, the natural order of things; the old move on and the young take over.

With all of this in mind, I think 4/1 will be a most emotional day, and I doubt that I will get very much actual "work" done at all. I hope that I will be able to express to those certain people how much they've meant to me, without just completely "losing it." I hope to feel a sense of completeness in the transition, a rightness about it all, and not just loss. We shall see...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Patch!

I know I already posted most of these pictures on Facebook, and this might seem a bit redundant. But I still have a few very stubborn non-Facebook friends who wanted to see the pics, and this is the easiest way to do it. I know, I could just show them the actual pictures, but that's just so old school.

Last weekend, I went with Erin and her kids to the pumpkin patch at Live Oak Canyon, near their home. We saw more different varieties of pumpkins and gourds than I even knew existed!Jaden liked these giant "cucumbers."They had these great characters posing all over the place. We thought they were statues at first, until they MOVED! Tyler shook this skeleton's bony hand.Tyler rode this pony, his new friend "Buck."

They both wanted to ride this 4-wheeler train. Looked pretty fun, and rode around the whole farm.
Kayla waited with Erin and me while the boys were riding.
Then we got down to the serious business of picking pumpkins. They both took it VERY seriously.

Even after all that work, we didn't even buy their pumpkins - $65 for four pumpkins seemed a bit steep! It was fun seeing how they grow and picking them out anyway.
I couldn't resist these great sunflowers!

All in all, a fun day!

Happy Fall!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day Jeff. Tyler, Jaden & Kayla are glad you're their dad (and so am I).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Back to Scrapbooking

I'm working on getting back into scrapbooking on a more regular basis, at least once a week. There was a time, a few years ago, that I worked on pages at least 3-4 days a week. Of course, that was when I was working 12-hour shifts 3 days a week, so had LOTS more time off to do whatever I wanted to do, actual leisure time. Now I really feel the constraints of my limited time off, so I've had to work much harder to find time for what I love to do. I've made a commitment, though, that if for no other reason than that I must start using up some of my many many many supplies, I'm going to get back to it. I guess, though, that reason doesn't really fly, since I seem to keep accumulating scrapbooking supplies at a much faster rate than I actually produce any pages. I think I am spurred on by that embarrassing realization as well.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

On a more positive note...

Here are the rest of the pictures from the Sena Zimmer sitting in March. I love every one of them, and am no longer so keenly aware of all the great shots we left behind. The ones we got are great, and capture so well this family I love so much.