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A week ago today two lives changed drastically. Two people that had lived on their own for many years and many miles apart had reconnected and decided to be together.  Larry is a man I had loved from afar many years ago, but it was just the wrong time in our lives for me to make my feelings known or pursuit a relationship with him – at least not the kind of relationship I was looking for with him.

Through Facebook I found him, early in 2017, in Long Beach, California – a very long way from northern Illinois.  A relationship was formed, along with a week spent together in Rockford last fall and a decision to be together was made.  A week ago he arrived in Rockford, Illinois and the adventure began.

I am please to tell you that the first week has gone much smoother than I had imagined.  I am not used to having to shut the bathroom door.  Larry is not used to having any kind of a regime or schedule. The biggest obstacle became the television. He watches anything BUT network shows. Other than the Hallmark channel, I watch network shows.  Three days ago a 40″ television and headphones were delivered!! Whatta guy! On my dining room table that used to be staged very pretty, there is now a tv room/recording studio/computer room and my office. Did I mention we are moving April 1st into a two bedroom? Second bedroom will be storage/recording studio and crafting room.

Through it all we have managed to keep our sense of humor and for those people that have asked me if I was on cloud 9………I am on cloud 909.  To have the senior version of the life I had dreamed of with Larry, well for me it is a blessing. God truly has blessed me with this relationship. I love him a little bit more each day and can’t imagine my life without him.

Before I leave you for today, I must tell you about yesterday’s cooking mishap.  I had decided to make some of my homemade chicken pot pies for the freezer.  I make six at a time and had them all finished and they looked beautiful in their freezing tins. I no more than shut the freezer door and started to clean up the kitchen and I saw sitting on the counter the chopped up chicken.  I had made the pies and forgot to put the chicken in them!! Vegetables yes – chicken no!  So I had to carefully get the pie crust off the tops and stir in the chicken and put the top crust back on.  They aren’t quite as pretty as they were but at least there will be chicken in the chicken pot pies!

Until next time…….still on cloud 909 and loving it!

 

gloriann

 

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December 16th I left my condo and moved into a senior retirement facility. It is a lovely facility and I have to admit, I feel safer here.

Today is February 24th and I just put away, or hid the last bit of “stuff” that I moved. This is fair warning should you come to this apartment……don’t open a closet door, look under the table and bed, or peek under any quilts that have suddenly appeared. If you do……it is at your own risk! Things may jump or fall on you and as far as I know there is no insurance that covers  being attacked by “stuff” or hospitalization due to “stuff” stampede.

I learned something with this move……..when moving with the help of friends with cars and pickup trucks, I probably would never pack in boxes or plastic bins ever again.  I packed most of my kitchen in Walmart’s blue shopping bags. Even using bubble-wrap for the breakables, I could put a lot in each bag. I easily carry four-six of them at a time and stuff many more of them into my car versus a few boxes.  Carrying one box or one bin was hard on the back, arms and shoulders versus having my arms and hands down at my sides carrying the bags. If I were to do it again I would buy Walmart out of bags to move.  Now I know a professional mover will not allow that. They want boxes or bins……but they have the hand carts and equipment to move a bunch at one time.

On February 28th Bella and I will be adding to our family, as my love is moving in with us.  I don’t think he truly realizes  that basically I have gone from a two bedroom condo into a large closet. You will have to stay tuned to this blog and follow our adventures.  Both of us have lived alone a very long time. That in itself will be an adjustment or two or three.  Then there is the age-old question of what to do with his “stuff”. I have heard rumors that we will be renting storage until we can get into a two bedroom apartment here. We will be using the 2nd bedroom for nothing but a big closet/storage room.  Please follow our adventures and know that on February 28th, I will be the happiest woman ever.

 

As I look back on 2017, I have to say to myself……..”Gloriann, it has been quite a year!” I say that not meaning all good or all bad, just quite a year.

The year progressed from Winter to Spring, life was basically as it should be for me…….no drama or unwanted surprises.  Then June came along.  I woke up one morning with what looked like a bug bite on my chin.  It wasn’t a day or two and I could see it was growing.  Regular followers of my blog know the whole story, but I will tell you I was diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer.  It wasn’t the worst of the three types but it was the quickest spreading.  The day after the biopsy another lesion appeared and quickly started to spread also. After four surgeries and three months of follow up I was released from doctor’s care with minimal damage to my face or lower lip. I am grateful as it could have been much worse.

In the middle of the cancer recovery, I lost a very dear, dear friend of mine to Alzheimer’s.  I can still remember the day four years earlier he called to tell me goodbye.  I had a call or two after that but they were not him as I knew him.  The illness had engulfed him.  By the end of July he was gone.

Three weeks later his eldest son drown in Lake Superior while scattering his ashes.  For many of us who knew both men, the shock is still hanging over us like a dark cloud and the holidays were not quite as happy as they can be.

In the fall came my 50th class reunion.  Wow – 50 years!! It was fun to see some folks that I used to sing with in A Capella and others from home room and others from earlier school years.  It was a two night event and unfortunately I was feeling my best but I managed to make an appearance at both.

October had another event for me……… November of 2016 I reconnected through Facebook with a man that I had quite a “crush” on back in my post-high school years.  A relationship was not meant to be back then for various reasons but for me, he was tucked in a special place my heart and thought about many times throughout the years.  We texted and talked all through this year and he came home for a sibling reunion and we agreed to spend sometime together just to see what would happen – although I think both of us already knew.  Yes……there was quite a connection between us.  And now………early in 2018 he is moving back here from California and in with me.  I am over the moon happy and so excited for what the future might hold for us.  There are health challenges for the both of us but we will face them and any other challenges that come our way – together. The good stuff and the not so good stuff – together.  I love the sound of that and I love him.

One last thing to finish out the year……..I moved.  One week before Christmas I gave up my condo and moved into an apartment at a lovely senior retirement center.  I am still recuperating from the move and I have boxes still piled up the walls – but I will have things all situated hopefully by the time my love arrives. Something tells me this won’t be our last stop.

So this year my Gratitude Journal is full. My heart is full.  2017 you brought me more joy than I ever could expect and bit of sadness too.  2018……..you can’t get here fast enough.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope it is a healthy, fun-filled adventure for all of us.

Until next time…….

gloriann

 

 

It is Thanksgiving morning and as I woke up, I took a moment to ponder what it is I am thankful for this year.  One of the things very close to the top of my list, if not the top, is the  squamous cell cancer episode I had this summer.  It was discovered early and eliminated without Chemo and/or Radiation and only minimal disfiguring to my lover lip and chin. Everyday when I look into the mirror and I say thank you God.  But included with that is the dear girlfriend  who went with me and held my hand through every surgery. Also to all of the friends who knew how really terrified I was and offered support through the three plus months ordeal.  I am blessed.

I am also thankful for my little dog Bella. She just turned twelve years old and from here on each day with her is a gift and a blessing.  It is really a myth that little dogs live longer. I had one Yorkie live to be 16 years old, and that is not the normal. My last one lived to be just short of twelve years.  She gives so much love and asks so little in return.  Again, I am blessed.

Now last but not least…….how many of you believe that things really do happen for a reason? I may not have liked it at the time or even understood it, but I really do believe that there is a reason for everything. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” 

Quite sometime ago as a young gal of 19 or 20, my path crossed with a young musician. But it was not meant to be as he was headed on a new adventure with his band and I was getting ready to move to Atlanta. Our goals and dreams I figured were too different and even though I didn’t want to hear it…….it was not meant to be.  Forty-eight years later we reconnected on Facebook.  Through daily communications and perseverance, we were able to spend sometime together eleven months later. You see this wasn’t easy as we live about 1,800 miles apart.

With all this time that has passed, he is still everything I thought he was and more. Yes L.M. I am so thankful that our paths have crossed again and thankful we both kept our minds and hearts open to this new adventure. I do not know of any two people that are more meant to have a second chance.   I am excited to see where 2018 takes us.

So, what are you thankful for this year? Don’t let the day go by without finding something or someone to be thankful for.  If it is someone, I suggest you tell them today. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Let them know that you are thankful they are in your life.

That’s all for now.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Until next time………..

gloriann

July 26, 2017 I lost a dear, dear long-time friend, to Alzheimers Disease. If someone asked me to describe my friend Bob Louis in one word, I couldn’t do it. Bob was a class act, a gentleman and a gentle man. His heart was as big as Texas, a warm sense of humor and a wonderful family man. His children Bobby, Marc and Joe were the center of his universe. He raised them with the good values he himself possessed and most of all to be each their own man, and not to walk in his or anyone else’s shadow.  They were each bigger than life on their own and he was so proud of them.  I met them young in their lives and was fortunate to catch up with two of them because of this sad loss we are sharing. They have grown into fine men.

The first born of  the sons is Bobby.  He literally walked out of his own life in Florida, as a musician and singer with his own band, to move home and care for his dad.  I know what this kind of sacrifice is because I too was the adult child who gave up their life to care for  my mom and dad.  It is a commitment and it is a sacrifice, no matter how you look at it.  Having been associated with our local hospice for 14 years, I tried without butting in too much, to offer suggestions to help him either with the caring of his dad or his feelings and/or emotions that he was dealing with.  I have worked with many many families dealing with a terminally ill loved one.  The things that Bobby was saying to me, I have heard many times before. I hope he knows that had I not cared deeply for his dad and his sons, I wouldn’t have ever said a word or offered support unsolicited, but I did care and even if it was from another state via internet I wanted him to know I was there to help or listen.

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I started writing this a week after my friend Bob passed away.  Normally I write my blog posts in one sitting, but this one was extra special and in it’s own way closure for me, so I wanted to take my time.  Now I am grateful I did write this story and not publish it too soon………….

It is now August 15th.  Sunday August 13th Bobby and 6 others were on a wooden boat in Lake Superior. The purpose of this excursion was to honor his dad’s final wishes and scatter his ashes in a lake that their family had spent many vacations filled with fun and memories. The boat capsized, leaving all of them in the very frigid Lake Superior water.  It was Bobby who helped to keep the other six treading water, including a seven year old child, until a good Samaritan  happened along to rescue them. Before this, Bobby tried to stop the wooden boat that was reportedly still on full throttle even though upside down.  It is not known as of this writing if Bobby was hit by the propeller on the motor or what exactly happened, but he went down under water, never to resurface.    Bobby’s body wasn’t recovered until Monday, August 14th, late afternoon.  Another wonderful human being was lost to us that day.

Bobby had a kind, loving heart like his dad’s.    I don’t think either one of them was capable of hatred or hurt towards any human being or animal.  Bobby started a Facebook page called Angels for Angels, encouraging anyone who was in need of prayer to let it be known on that page and all who were there would include them in their prayers.  Bobby studied theology and believed strongly in the power of prayer.

Someone once told me that I can’t write a story unless I have an ending.  I never dreamed this story would have this ending.  Bobby…….thank you for your friendship the last couple of years.  I remember that day you told me your dad had Alzheimers. I suspected it because of the last couple of phone calls I had from him – one of which I will hold in my heart forever.  Thank you for keeping me always up to date on what was happening with my dear friend Bob.  I was looking so forward to seeing you when you came to have the memorial service here in Rockford for Bob, later this Fall.

Although we who loved you both did not want to give you up so soon – it was heaven’s gain and our loss. The two brightest stars in the sky belong to the two of you now and that will always give me a smile and a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Until we meet again someday…………

 

gloriann

 

 

My great aunt, the one we all called Auntie used to say “It is a great life if you don’t weaken”.  Think about it. You have to stay strong to survive or you will be gobbled up by life.  This episode with cancer has really tested me on all – life, pain, fear, and endurance.

It was the day I had many mixed emotions about – the skin graft surgery. I was not afraid of the surgery itself, or the results. I was terrified of the shots that I would be given to numb both areas, the doner site and the area to be repaired. No – there is not an anesthesiologist knocking you out. According to the insurance companies that is now a luxury item and you want it you pay 100% for it. So I was laying there and as with the other surgeries the week before I knew there would be at least six shots of anesthetic to my face and probably as many to the doner site.  There were 14 to be exact. Eight to the face and 6 behind my ear where they got the tissue to graft.  Several of those shots that went into where the cancer was extracted and they were excruciating to put it mildly.  My friend Candy was there and she had me breathing through each one and by the time we were finished I felt like I had given birth! I couldn’t have done it with out her.

Now that I was numb the surgery began. Again I cannot say enough about this surgeon and his staff.  Each were wonderful in their own unique way.  I am home  and waiting 2 weeks for the stitches to come out. During this time I may write a few letters to people in power.

This idea of someone sitting behind their desk playing God with mine or anyone elses life doesn’t set well with me. How dare you!  How dare you make me go through that barbaric torture of all of those shots  because you don’t want to pay for general anesthesia.  How dare you sit there and pick and choose what you are going to pay of my claim when I have faithfully made my payments every month for a policy I can’t afford to begin with. Well I could go on this rant for pages and maybe it will be another topic for posts at a later time.

As for now, I am grateful to God that at this moment, to the best of my knowledge,  I am cancer free and my face was able to be repaired. Also, thank you to friends and family for the support shown to me during this very scary time.  So until next time……..I wish you peace and good health.

gloriann

It started July 11th, 2017.  I was having a biopsy for what I originally thought was a bug bite on my chin. I took my friend Candy with me for moral support. I was told it would take 7-10 days for the results to come back. They came back  Friday, July 21st.  The nurse told me I have squamous cell carcinoma!  I always wonder what I would feel like at the time someone tells me I have cancer.  Had the nurse continued and said but the good news is you just won a million dollars…….the only thing I would have heard was cancer. Nothing else.  I was told someone would be calling me on Monday to schedule me for a surgical consult.  The call came and I was told August 15th. The hell you say!!! I calmly asked, if the consult wasn’t until then, when would I have the surgery. I was told they were scheduling around the end of November!  I remained civil as I know this person on the phone was only doing what she was told, but I asked to have some one from the surgical staff call me. What they didn’t know was another growth had come up – close to my lower lip, since the biopsy, AND the original sight was just about double the size since the biopsy.   About 2 hours later someone from the surgical staff called and told me to come in at 1:30 the next day – Tuesday – for the consult and I will be having surgery at 7:10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

At the consult with the doctor it was explained to me that this was going to be done using the MOHS procedure which basically  allows them to take as little skin as possible, but yet had a far better success rate that radiation.

Let the surgery begin!!  Round one not only was removal of cancerous tissue on lesion one, but also biopsy on lesion 2.  I was sent home for a couple of hours while my tissue was examined at the lab. I received a phone call that tissue was not clear and yes lesion 2 was cancerous.  Back for more shots to numb and more tissue to be taken off of both lesions.  Sent home for a couple of hours to wait for the call and it came.  Lesion 1 was clear but more had to taken on lesion 2.  Back to the clinic for more shots and more surgery.  Each time the lesions were dressed as if I wasn’t coming back and hopefully this would be the last time.  I went home and waited for the phone. It rang and now both lesions were all clear.  I was given a time to come in on Thursday so they could stitch up the small lesion.

My concern with the small lesion was that it was so close to my lip line. Was he going to have to take part of my lip to close this.  Honestly as concerned as I was about this, I really would ave gladly made the sacrifice to be cancer free. As it turned out, I am still 100% kissable and these are the tiniest of stitches I have ever seen which means minimal to no scarring. Again, at my age, my looks are not the most important concern anymore. It is called living!!! That is my goal.

Lesion 1 was about as big around as a quarter and about 3/8″ deep.  We are letting the tissue kind of naturally fill in and then in one week he will do a skin graft. The doctor told me he can take the skin from just about anywhere – that he usually takes it from the neck.  I am doing the math…….that is six more shots to the face and about that many to the neck.  I am going to ask if he can take it from my arm, as I am used to having shots there and it is not as tender.  I will let you know.  I wished I could have a couple of martinis before I go! Candy is going with me again – thank you, thank you!

So that is where I am at  as of 7/30/17……..in a holding pattern and waiting for what I hope to be the final surgery.

When I speak to groups regarding care giving for the terminally ill one point of the many that I try to drive home is that don’t let the patient go into the examining room alone.  A second pair of ears is always, always good.  Just as in my case, if the patient hears one bad thing and twelve good things, what do you think they will remember? They will remember the bad thing and not have heard another word. I went through this with my mom.  My mom spent more time riding on the “what if” bus because she didn’t hear the positive things that were said versus one not so good thing. You know that bus……what if this happens, or what if that happens or what if, what if, what if! We have all been on it at one time or another.  It is human nature and ground in our DNA to do that.  I am trying desperately to not get on that bus,but instead get on and enjoy the bus ride and not worry about where the bus might be headed. It is easier said than done – and when you are by yourself it is 100 times harder.

I have every confidence in my surgeon and the place I am going for the care of this.  We are so fortunate in Rockford, Illinois to have someone who does this MOHS procedure. Thank you God!

My Bella has her nurses hat on and she is taking good care of me, and I am blessed with many wonderful friends who are loving and supportive. I hold them all close in my heart.  I will continue to blog this journey so there will be another post coming next weekend. Until then I wish you good health and the strength to endure…………

gloriann