Thursday, May 27, 2010

Congratualtions, Brianna!

Brianna is my oldest granddaughter.  
She graduates tonight, May 27 2010, from East Union High School, Manteca, California.  
Surely wish I could be there with you, dear one. 
Know that Tutu (aka Grandma Bonnie) loves you.  

Pray for all those who are graduating from high school and college in this graduation season.
May they keep always the dreams and enthusiasm of their graduation. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Revelations on Music and Cars

My dad was asleep when I arrived the other day.  But this day he awoke on his own after about a half-hour.  In groping for a conversation topic, I told him about my fellow board member at Daughters of Hawaii.  She is an ukulele player, wants to learn to play guitar.  I am a guitar player who wants to learn melodies to some Hawaiian songs.  It's a great fit, and we plan to spend some time together, each benefiting from the talents of the other.

I didn't pick up the guitar until after I was married.  I took piano lessons while in school, and for several months took an ukulele class with my mother at Punahou School.  Daddy was interested.  "When did you pick up the guitar?" he asked.

He looked wistful, then said, "I always wanted to learn to play the piano."  Oh?????  That's a revelation.

"Didn't your mother teach you to play?  She played piano quite well."

"I took lots of lessons." he said.  "Never could learn to play."  His mind drifted off to cars, as it often does.

"I didn't think I could get along without a car." he said.  "I've had a car since I was 16."   Another revelation.

"Oh, did you have a car while you were in high school?"  That would be interesting.  I thought the family had so little money during the Depression that they had trouble putting food on the table.

"Yes.  I had a 1928 Dodge coupe."  Even more interesting.  My dad celebrated his 16th birthday in December, 1929.  OK, maybe he wasn't 16.

"Did you work on your car yourself?"  

 He didn't answer yes or no.    "There was always a group of about six fellows who were ready to work on my car."     He was never much good with things mechanical.  Always had to have someone to work on the boat engines, too.

The educator in me went click-click-click. My father seldom read anything except the newspaper.  Was less than successful in school.  Worked on old bicycles, the ones made before bicycles had hand brakes and gears.  Couldn't learn to play the piano.  Does that mean he couldn't get his fingers to coordinate, or he couldn't learn to read music?  Preferred books with lots of pictures.   Badly wanted to use the computer, but seldom remembered from session to session how to turn on the machine, open a document or send an email.   Has he fought a specific learning disability his entire life?  Something that depends on rote learning, where most of us depend on our reading skills? Does that intensify the trauma of memory loss?

It's all a moot point now, at his age and with his struggling memory.  But the questions keep flying through my head.

Give thanks for time shared.  Give thanks for what we have without dwelling on what we have lost or missed.
Don't forget to pray ....!  

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Birthday follows Mother's Day

This year there was a full week between Mother's Day and my mom's birthday.  She told me last month that "we always" celebrate the two events at once.  But she's 96 years old now.  She has spent too many of those years sublimating her own desires for convenience of other people.  My brother and sister-in-law and their busy schedules.  My living half an ocean away.  My father's indifference.  All those years of boarding school as she was growing up, never learning the joy of honoring each special, small event in one's life.

She was clearly thrilled when my brother suggested lunch at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  I usually use the handicap parking on the other side of the building.  My brother has a better sense of logistics.  In his choice of parking lot, it was out of the car, wait for the guard to unlock the gate, down 4 stairs, and voila! We were in the Pavilion Cafe.  Check out Ian's video of her day and his text version of the event.  Note the birthday card.  It's from a company here in Hawaii that does cards for local consumption.  I've learned the trick.  If it originates in Hawaii, she will probably like it.

The event that Mother was referring to at the beginning of the video, the thing that happened about 1928 or 1929, was a weaving demonstration that she gave while still in high school.  We're not talking baskets or mats here, although both can be done very artistically and can require great skill.  We're talking fabric, threads-on-a-loom weaving.  She was demonstrating, and thinks the demonstration was given at the Academy.  I remember hearing about this demonstration years ago.  I don't remember hearing where it was given.  I also remember hearing that the bedroom in this house that became mine when I was born, and is once again mine, originally held her loom.

I give thanks for my mom and her 96 years of productive life.  I give thanks that she is alert and still able to do  many of the things she loves.

Don't forget to pray ....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Honor thy mother.

Mine has been complaining about the difficult time she is having cutting her toenails.  It's hard to get down there to the toes when you're approaching 96.   Even if your not approaching quite as quickly as she is.

She refuses to go to a podiatrist.  "Do you know they charge $40 to cut your toenails?" she responded when I suggested that Medicare sees proper foot care as essential for  healthy living.  It's not what comes out of her pocket that matters to my mother.  It's the amount billed for service.  Before rate negotiations and discounting.  She is just as concerned about what her insurance companies pay as what she herself pays.

I muttered about a pedicure.  Last Thursday she announced, "I have been letting my toenails grow because we were going for a pedicure."  At 9 a.m. on Friday we were at the nail salon.  She'd never before indulged.  If the truth be told, I haven't indulged very much myself ....

She gingerly climbed into the chair.  This is a tiny bit problematic, as the chair comes complete with a mini-jacuzzi tub in which your feet soak while they are awaiting attention from a real person.  That puts the tub right where you would normally put your body as you prepare to sit in a chair.  As it turns out, these chairs accommodate the less agile by seating from the side.

While my own feet were being pampered, I watched my mother's face.  Cautious.  Observant.  Once, pained.  .Interested.  Ahhhhh, relaxed.

She was pleased that her pedicure was counted as a Mother's Day gift.  She even told Ian and Meda about the gift she received on Friday.  Then she smiled, really smiled.  She smiled again when she opened the Goody Bag from Ian and Meda.   That was after a lovely brunch created by Ian, consisting of corn muffins, OJ and a fritatta full of ham, onion, potato, a taste of spinich, and a politically correct addition of mostly-egg-white  beaten eggs.

The goody bag contained several small packages of chocolate -- dark with mint cream filling.  I heard her say conspiratorily to Ian, "You know, chocolate is actually good for you."  She grinned again.  She has been smiling a lot more recently.  Whew.  We've been trying to make that happen for two years.

Give thanks for the smiles.
Don't forget to pray!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Still wondering ...

... but this week no one else is interested in what can or cannot, should or should not be taught in private schools.

New thoughts. Am I thinking?

This week, about an article for a Groveland monthly newspaper.  About the to-do list for Daughters of Hawaii.  About how long a dementia patient remembers he is afraid of something.  About ways to bring pleasure to my mother's life as she approaches her 96th birthday.  About a birthday card and a gift for said 96-year-old to unwrap.

The heartache of a mother whose only  daughter died this week.  Possibly from a drug overdose.  Probably prescription drugs.  She was brilliant, caring, well-educated ... and only 33 years old.  She leaves no spouse, no children to grow up missing their mom.  What brings a person with so much promise to this kind of an end?  What lessons will those who knew her bring to their own lives?

Give thanks for Cyndi, who has moved onward into a new life.  Pray for those left behind -- parents, step-parents, sibling, niece, friends, professional colleagues, clients.

Hug your children.  Or your spouse.  Or your parents.  Or a friend.  Today.