Saturday, November 23, 2013


Mom with perfect baby--ME!
Most of my 40 years in nursing, I have spent working in OB/GYN. So I have folders, flash drive apps, pregnancy journals, to help prepare for the blessed coming of the newborn-- Pretty much a week to week what to anticipate.

Unfortunately, this last month I found myself dealing with the other end of life with my mother. It was an area foreign to me. Sure, I have dealt with death and dying as a nurse, that is pretty much inevitable-- even looked over the brink myself.  Now it was up close and personal. Fortunately, "Hospice" stepped in with my "what to expect" journal and a fleet of staff, meds, and equipment to assist in making the journey through the valley of the shadow of death comfortable for all of us. As I look at the beginning and the end, there are some similarities. We come into life, sleeping most of the time, being fed and changed, totally dependent on others for our care and we pretty much go out the same way!

I had found a family care home in Elk Grove that I was planning to move my mom to, with the goal that she would be able to join us around our Thanksgiving table. Then I got the call that she had suffered a major stroke and was mostly unresponsive. We got her transported to Elk Grove and what an experience it was over the next couple of weeks. She was surrounded by her family and a loving staff of caregivers 24/7 that were just awesome--the "Palm Valley Squad" (Gellie, Nick, Agry, and Winnie) Her first day there, Gellie washed her hair and put on some make up and nail polish. My mom lifted her hand to admire the polish. Even in her weakened state, she appreciated the primping! 

Then for a few days, we experienced a little "miracle"! Mom wouldn't eat or drink but when I hugged her, she hugged back and just kept patting my back like I was her little girl. Such a comforting gesture in those last few days!

 From my experience, many people, my father being one of them, was adamant that "Hospice" was a dirty word. If you possibly were forced into "doing hospice" it meant you would die the next day. This is just so sad and ridiculous, because truly hospice can often extend your life, but also improves the quality of life that is remaining. I found the hospice staff and also the caregivers were very intuitive about what mom might need even if she was unable to speak or communicate. They were far more experience with this detail than me. She was kept clean, pain free and comfortable. We kept mom's favorite music playing in the background so the atmosphere was very calming. So this whole physical part of dying was smooth. 

The emotional  journey is a whole 'nother story!  On one hand, I knew that my mom can't live forever, and her quality of life was not what I desired for her.  But the letting go to be left an orphan is soooooo difficult.  Somehow going through life, it seems like our parents will always be there for us. We do have a lot of great memories!  No matter where we were staying in our travels around the world, whether is was luxurious or primitive, (primitive being the recurring theme! Even if she had just scraped the dead ants off the toast in Irian Jaya, or the family was stranded at the end of the road in Tradja Land, Southern Sulewasi and were scrounging the markets for canned juice or sifting weavils out of the flour and rice in Borneo ) mom would say: "We never had it so good!" and then she whip up a delicious meal out of practically nothing!  Miss you Mom!! ***

"Her love, her life, and everything that made my mom
 so special to me,
will live on through my memories!"

I answer the heroic question
 "Death, where is they sting?" 
"It is here in my heart and mind and memories."
~ ~ Maya Angelou

***web page changed to purple in honor of Mom!

Monday, September 16, 2013


  I have been running every weekend with a running club, preparing for the 9th annual Urban Cow Race in October. We have been running along Elk Grove's Franklin Creek trail. This is a lovely trail, however, it would be even lovelier if people would clean up after themselves and their pets.


 I don't care if you have a Great Dane or a Chihuahua, POOP is WASTE, GARBAGE, DISGUSTING SWILL!  PICK IT UP & TAKE IT WITH YOU!! Poo in any size or form, fresh or fossilized is not a pretty sight. Who likes to see it, much less step in it and wearing it on our shoes. Not to mention that it is an environmental hazard. Bacteria, worms, and other parasites thrive in waste and eventually its washing away into the water supply.  If you can't have the decency to pick it up, then put a diaper on you dog!! Which, by the way, comes in several attractive styles and sizes! There is also the other option of leaving your dog at home to poop in your own yard!! What a novel idea!!

 RANT 2:

PICK UP YOUR OWN TRASH AND TAKE IT WITH YOU! Coffee cups, water bottles, snack bags, Kleenex, goo wrappers, etc are rubbish and need to be disposed of in a garbage can. So put that energy gel wrapper back in your pocket, hang on to it and dump it. If you don't have any pockets, pop it in your pants. . . that will remind you to take a small litter bag with you next time. 

Rant 3:
If you're running or walking with a group, try not to run more than two abreast, so others can pass you. This is especially important at the beginning of a race. If you are a walker, stay to the back of the pack, instead of starting with the runners, and preventing them from passing by a walking road block.

OK,I am done with my rants and raves. I don't think I am unreasonable! Just a little common sense and respect for others is all I ask!  

 Our community has put in a lot effort for us to have 
many lovely trails to enjoy.  
 Help keep it that way for all of us!!!


Sunday, August 11, 2013


 One of my goals for my summer vacation in BC, was to climb 
Idaho Peak. This peak is 7,457 feet elevation, and gives a panoramic views of the Selkirk, Columbia, Slocan, Kokanee, and the Inter-mountain West mountain ranges. "The hardest part of the journey is the 17km/10mi drive up an old gravel road from the village of Sandon. The road is narrow, steep and bumpy, but can be navigated in a high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicle."  So it was only fitting that I do this in my off road all-wheel-drive-low-clearance Prius.  

The historic "village of Sandon" is a ghost town. At one time it boasted a population of 10,000 and was a prime mining community. Now it it a surreal graveyard for a fleet of trolley buses. But no sooner out of this thriving metropolis, the road began to climb, narrow and washboard.  Bumped along for miles and finally reached the parking lot.  The summit is an easy climb of about a mile with minimal huffing and puffing.

The wildflowers were in full bloom everywhere. 

At the top, the views are amazing. New Denver and Slocan Lake is below you, and mountain peaks are all around.An interpretation sign names all the peaks.

Breathtaking views to say the least!!

Looking down at the town of New Denver on Slocan Lake

Trail to the top

The 3 Musketeers

"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain. . .  Wash your spirit clean." --John Muir--

“You never know what's around the corner. 
It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. 
You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you've climbed a mountain.”  


Thursday, July 25, 2013


It is that time of year, when I head to Canada for my R&R and whatever else comes my way!  This year, I avoided the month of June, since you may recall that last year when I was here it was the rainiest June on record since weather was recorded. What a difference a month makes!!  A wee bit warm, 90's if you think in Fahrenheit! Sounds cooler in centigrade--34!  So have had to head to the Slocan River to cool off. As you can see from the pics, it is pretty rough life!?! In a few choppy areas, I held by breath that the Wally tub wouldn't spring a leak and send it's occupants into the glacial waters.
Shelley & Sue in the Walmart tub!
Fearless leader "Moss"

Joey kickin' back


"Happy feet!"
"A vacation is having nothing to do

 and all day to do it in."

I think I could do this just about every day!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013


“What good is the warmth of summer, 
without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
―John Steinbeck--
You can see from the thermometer that it was an exceptionally warm day here in the valley!!  Summer is on!!! Wouldn't you know it, today was one of the races I had signed up for!  After looking at the forecast, I considered that this would be a great day to sleep in. However, I had told my fitness pal, Danette that I would be there, so grudgingly got out of bed at 6AM to head to Elk Grove park for "Run 4 Independence" race.  When I ran into Danette, she was close to canceling herself, but had a sense of commitment so showed up. By the start of the race it was already near 90.  IT WAS HOT!! and NOT in a sexy way!! However, we slugged through it.  I ran out of water in the first mile and even though the race co-coordinator had been prompted to add a water-station, did not. . . But we just did it!  And were rather proud of ourselves for it. 

When I was standing at the start line with Danette, I was reminded how far we have come!  If you had told us a year ago that we would be running races. . . I would have laughed in your face.  "Surely you jest!"

Danette is one of my heroes in my fitness group. Last year she decided it was time to change her ways. She  ate fast food three times a day. She was a self-described couch potato, but she knew she couldn’t keep on living the same way. I met her in our Employee Live Well program which offers us free fitness classes. When Danette started, she thought she would try it and just make it through at least one class.On her first day, she finished her walk out of breath. And now she is running 5k races!!
Running Club

I too, started staying after work for the employee program-- Zumba and Cross Fitness. The camaraderie really keeps me going and I have some terrific new friends that keep me motivated.When I ran the Women's Race around the capitol last year, it was the first time I had run since I was pregnant with Kevin. (20+years ago)

With trainer Jen

 Can't say that I ever get a "runners high"!  In fact, I think running is a pain in the ass, knees and many other body parts. Maybe one of these days, I will achieve that level.  Right now, it is a whole lot of work.  I have found that being 61 puts me into a division where the competition is not quite so fierce, even at my snail pace. My best placement was 5th, no less.
2013 Women's Fitness Festival

"It's a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do."
"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."

Saturday, May 11, 2013


CLUE 1:. . . as I walk in the back door to the mudroom, I am greeted with dirty laundry everywhere!  

CLUE 2:  . . . Seems to be some new laundry ornaments on the dryer as well!!

CLUE 3:  Someone is "observing lent"?. .. . . .which wasn't that a couple months ago?  Really!?!?! The a waste basket is NOT that far away!


 CLUE 4: I reach into the fridge for some ice cubes for my drink. . . .Yup, the tray has been emptied, but returned to it's spot just in case there will be a miracle of air turned into water!

CLUE 5: Peanut butter on many surfaces. . . . counter, cupboards, dripping down the jar, which hasn't been re-lidded and found it's way back to the shelf where it rightly belongs.


CLUE 6:  Evidently, he has a broken wrist. . . dishes waiting for  the dishwasher!!


My mother's day art! 
And he did clean it all up, mopped the floor, loaded and emptied the dishwasher!!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013


There are many significant events that are linked with this day in history. Although we could have lived with out it, (along with many innocent French people) in 1792, the Guillotine was used for the first time on a highwayman.
DNA Day is a holiday celebrated on April 25. It commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson and colleagues published papers describing the double helix structure of DNA. official Red Hat Society day is April 25 each year. "RHS" is a social society for generally woman over 50. "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me," is their mantra. 

Internationally,  April 25th has been disignated as Malaria Awareness Day. Today, I am aware that it's wonderful to be Malaria-free.
Doesn't he look relieved!?!?

However, most importantly, on this day 21 years ago, I drove myself to the hospital to have my much anticipated #2 son, Kevin Clark. Oh, what a relief it was!!



Heartstoppers Haunted House

Parents are like shuttles on a loom. 
They join the threads of the past 
 with threads of the future
 and leave their own bright patterns as they go. 

Wow!  Look at the bright pattern here!!