Friday, May 10, 2013

Same Old

I just went on my blog for the first time since I wrote it.  Some of you wanted an update as to how I am feeling.  Unfortunately, I am still the same, so dizzy I can hardly walk without my walker.  I will likely get back to blogging when this dizziness goes away.  Thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Special Post

Hey Guys.........Just wanted all of you to know that I am going on an extended hiatus with this blog.  I have been way too busy to do it justice and now I am not feeling so well, so am really going to take a long long rest. 

I will continue to check my e-mail from time to time so if you want to get in touch with me (and I hope you do once in a while) please just send me an e-mail and I will be sure to answer it within a few days.  I say a few days because I doubt that I will check it daily, but I will check it.  I will  even come by to read your blogs, but am not likely to comment.  This is not a forever thing, I just need a rest. 

Thanks all of you for all of your good wishes.  I'll let you all know when I'm back.  Love to all,


Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Great Month

Can you believe that it has been ten days less than a month since I posted?  This has been a crazy, but fun month, just filled with activities.  As you know, I am more or less using this blog as a means of a journal for me and my posterity.  I need to get what I have publised into a book so it will be easier to read and a better way to have it all stored.  I started a written history of my life some time ago and was able to get as far as 1987 before I truly got writers block.  I think I just couldn't think of anything interesting that happened to me after that date.  I know that somehow I need to finish that and link up to the beginning of this blog......then I will truly have a good history.  I just hope that you guys who read this, all twelve of you, won't get too bored.  Reading someone else's history is not that interesting.  I know because I am having a hard time reading very far in Laura Bush's  autobiography that Sue gave me for Christmas.  I really admire that woman, which is probably why Sue gave me the book and I will read it, but I can only take it a little at a time.

I love to have company so I was very thrilled when Nancy Lee, my niece, who lives in a suburb near Dallas, told me she was flying out again to visit me and to go to the "Reunion" Concert.  She stayed for six days and we had a wonderful busy time.  There are always so many people she wants to see before she goes back, so we did go to Fallbrook to see my nephew, Freddy.  The two of them are, very close, because they were raised together for quite a few years. 

The "Reunion" concert was amazing.  We were so happy we got to hear them in person as they don't perform in this area that much.  We also went out to dinner with the Pikes as Nancy really wanted to take them out to a nice place.  We ended up going to the number one rated steak house, Sullivan's, for a wonderful dinner, but I ended up ordering soup because I had a tooth ache.  I do have an appointment with the dentist this next Wednesday and I just hope I don't have to have it out.  It isn't bothering me too much right now.

Before Nancy left, we started looking for cars.  Yes, Dick has been talking about getting a new one before our old Bishop left town.  He is the one who works for Garff Motors, which is centered in Salt Lake.  He got a promotion to go there and work in the business office there.  He was the district manager here, and had to supervise seven automobile agencies here in the Southland.  They were pretty well scattered, some in our County (Riverside), some in Orange County and one in Los Angeles County.  I don't even know how he could do so much traveling and yet be a wonderful Bishop.  I guess his wife could tell us..........he was never at home much.  They left last Wednesday after their escrow closed and they had to be out of their house.  We got one just in time because we bought it last Monday.  We were going to buy a new one, but ended up buying a 2011 Cadillac SRX.  Yes, we are back to driving Cadillac's again.  We absolutely love this car and it only has 40,000 miles on it.  I'll try to get Dick to post a picture of it.  He took it just before dark, so hope it turns out well here.

Other that going to various Doctors and labs, that is about all the excitement  for this time.  I may not post for another month.  Who knows?  I don't expect much to happen in the next few weeks.  We are definitely going to slow down somewhat and rest up a bit.  Today is the first time we haven't had anything to do for a long time.  My very best to you all..............


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More of the Same

It has been only 22 days since my last post.  I'm getting worse by the week.  I don't know whether it is just because I don't like to post anymore or what, but I just can't seem to find time for the computer anymore.  I have managed to read a few of your posts but haven't even commented, really. I just don't like this computer, for some reason.  It does crazy things to me, or maybe it is vice-versa, anyway we don't like each other very well. 

I did get my MRI and then went to the pain clinic, where Dr. Reinhart gave me an epidural.  It sure didn't seem to work as fast as the ones I used to have when I went through the same thing with my left lower back.  But now, two and a half weeks later, the pain has diminished so much.  It still isn't all gone, but I am happy with what I have and just hope that it will last me a few weeks.  When it starts to hurt really badly, I will go back for another shot.   I also went to my hematologist and had a blood test and my hemoglobin was up to 11.6 so I don't have to have an iron infusion unless it gets below 11, so I am in petty good shape.  Probably as good as it gets from now on.  I still have to sit down a lot because I can only stand on my feet for about ten minutes.  I can get quite a lot done in that time.  I've been doing a lot of baking and cooking, which I love, but I must say, I hate it when I'm right in the middle of making a sauce, for instance, and have to turn everything off and sit down.  It takes me about 3 hours to bake a cake, for instance, when it used to take about an hour.  Still, I am really not complaining.  As long as I can keep going, I'm a happy camper.

At the end of last month, I had to give a book report to my book club and I must say that the book I had to read was a rather tedious one.  It was about the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  I must have done a pretty good job because the people that didn't make it that week told me that they were really sorry they didn't come and a couple of them said they were going to come over to my house so that I can give it to them anyway.  I'm not so sure I want to do that!!

On the 5th of this month, Sue and Dave (my daughter and son-in-law for those of you who don't know) came to pick up a new car, and I was so happy to have company again.  I especially love it when any of our kids come to see us.  They stayed until early Friday morning.  They had to go home early, because one of the guys that used to be in Dave's ward (he is the Bishop of the singles ward, which has two stakes in it) died.  He was only 36 and died from complications of an aneurism that he had two years ago.  So sad to die so young.  I really hated to see them go.  I think Dave got a little bit bored while he was here, because mostly we just visited and stayed pretty close to home.  Dave is used to doing something every minute.  Now that he is retired, he is finding it hard to relax for long periods.  He did sit out in the sun by the pool and read a book, but they were here for three whole days.  Usually when they come, their sons all come (three of them) and they play golf every morning.  I think he didn't want to go alone and Dick stopped playing golf years ago.  I was just glad to have them as long as I did.

Last night we went to a Family Home Evening at one of our friends.  We have a group of us that meets for FHE once a month and it really is fun.  We have such a wonderful group of friends in our ward.  (A ward is a congregation, for those of you who are not familiar with that term and a stake is composed of a number of wards)  

This morning we went shopping at Costco.  There were so many things I wanted to get that they didn't have in stock...............I just hope that they haven't stopped carrying them.  I like to buy some things in bulk, like the three pound cream cheese blocks, because I make lots of cheese cakes.  That is one of my specialties.  If any of you want me to send you the recipe, let me know.  I just realized that there aren't too many of you that are even interested in baking.  It is so amazing to me that women today seem to love saying "I don't cook!!" and for those women, there certainly is a lot of things to choose from at Costco.  So many things that are all ready to eat, all one has to do it warm them up.  I was stunned at how many there were.  I hadn't been to Costco for a very long time, so found it quite changed as far as their stock is concerned. 

Well, gang, that just about does it for this time.  As you can see, I have been just having a great old hope that all of you are too.  Out of the twelve people that always make comments on my blog, there were only seven of you that did last time.  I must be losing my grip. 

Sue, Dave, & New Car

Monday, January 21, 2013

What a Busy Week

It has been eleven days since I posted last.  That is lots better than the last time I posted, so hopefully I'll be doing better in the future.  I have so much to post about this time, I hardly know where to start.  I knew it would be a busy time, so when I went to the doctor I asked him if a prednisone blast would help and he gave it to me and it really did help.  I would have been absolutely miserable if I hadn't had anything.  The only thing is, I wish I hadn't taken it quite so early because it did wear off and now I am in constant pain again. 

On Sunday the 13th we had to skip church to go to our granddaughter Charlottes second birthday.  That was quite an event for us because she is the one that we don't get to see very often.  We drove to Redlands to her maternal Grandmother's for the party.  The drive is about an hour and fifteen minutes from here.  It was from 12:00 noon until 3:00 in the afternoon.  It was very enjoyable and they had so much to eat I was almost too full.  We had to leave fifteen minutes early so that Dick could get back to the church so that he could be there promptly at 4:00. when our last session ends, so that he could do the deposit.  He no longer has a finance clerk so he has to do it all himself.  It was sorta funny, because everyone was there in their jeans and Dick and I were all dressed up.  I, because I figured I'd have to go in and find me a ride home.  That way, we could go directly to the church, but as luck would have it, we made very good time, so Dick was able to drop me off at home before he went to the church.  I was glad because I was ever so tired.  My prednisone blast was working great though, so I was in no pain. 

Wednesday the sixteenth my niece Nancy flew in from Dallas  to go to the Four Freshmen Concert and to  their big day in Palm Springs where they had their star placed on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame.  Nancy joined the Four Freshmen Society so she too is a big fan of the Freshmen and she flew in to Reno to join us last year at the Convention there.  We really have had a great, but super busy time, since she has been here.  She just left for home today so she was here for five fun filled days.  I can tell you right now, I am one tired cookie and I only have tonight to relax because tomorrow morning I have to get an MRI, so that I can go to the pain clinic in three days.  I surely do hope they give me a shot and not just a consultation on that day.  At any rate, I will try to recapture our five days. 

Thursday:    Nephew Freddie and his wife, Chris, drove over from Fallbrook. which is almost a two hour drive from here to visit with Nancy for the day.  Those two cousins are very close and were raised together so it was nice for them to get together.  We had a nice luncheon that Dick fixed for us and after visiting for awhile, we all drove (in separate cars) to Riverside so that we could meet our daughter, Nancy, who was named after neice Nancy Lee.  Those two are pretty close too, because Nancy Lee lived with us for such a long time.  My sis, Mildred, used to be very generous with Nancy and her sister, Carol, by letting them stay with us every summer.  I don't know how she could stand to be away from them that long, but she did.  Nancy Lee used to take care of Nancy Anne(our Nancy)  When I named Nancy Anne after Nancy Lee I never knew there could be such confusion.   We had a very good dinner, and visited there for awhile and then drove back.  Freddie and Chris took off for home directly from the restuarant.  We did have a great time all together.  That was indeed a very full day for all of us.

Friday:      We had a visit from a guy named Ron, who was the husband of Nancy's best friend, Irene.  She and Nancy had an apartment together when she left living with me.  Unfortunately, Irene died a year or so ago, not long after Nancy's husband died.  Ron has been very lonely since Irene died, and he drove down from Reno to see Nancy for just a few hours Friday.  He would like Nancy to marry him, but Nancy just isn't interested.  I think Ron talked most of the time he was here,  just on and on.  Nancy keeps telling him she is not at all lonely, and has no intention of ever marrying again, but he just keeps on trying.  Of course, Nancy has all of her family living close around her so I'm sure that makes a difference, to say nothing of her many many friends from church, where she is a very popular and busy lady.  He kept going to the bathroom every few minutes and finally admitted that he had a bladder infection so as soon as he was finished eating, we took him to the walk-in clinic where he got a prescription for Cipro and we took him to the drug store to get it filled.  When we got home, I was quite surprised when he went directly back to his large trailer home that he drove down from Reno.  I'm sure he expected to be able to see a lot more of Nancy than he did.

Saturday:  What a day this was.  We went to a Four Freshmen Concert which we loved.  We met a group of friends beforehand to have lunch.  It was fun and the concert was terrific as usual.  We then came back to our house where Dick fixed a lovely dinner for all of us.  We didn't have too much time after before we had to go to another concert at the McCallum Theater where we saw and heard The Manhattan Transfer.  All I can say is that it was very loud and no one could understand how I could sleep through half of it.  I was so darned tired and to tell you the truth, I didn't care for it very much.  I was glad to get home and to have a good nights sleep.  Imagine, two concerts in one day!

Sunday:      It was Stake Conference but we missed it.  We always go, but the big day for the Four Freshmen in Palm Springs was here.  We went over to Pikes and they drove us to  Palm Springs where the Freshmen were to get their star on the Walk of Fame.  We had a special invitation, so we were able to sit down for the event.  It was all roped in, but people had just a single walk through and there was traffic as usual in the street.  They had a pretty good P.A. system and it turned out to be a very nice program along with it.  They introduced some special people, Jim Pike among them, and they spoke about how much influence the original Four Freshmen had on them and their groups.  They had Jim from the Lettermen, someone from The Four Lads, one of the guys from Manhattan Transfer, and they introduced a few more people.  All in all, it was a very nice affair, and Jim was glad they went.  I'm hoping they will go with us to the Four Freshmen Reunion in Fort Wayne, Indiana  next year.  They rejoined the Society and are planning to go unless they are touring.  Nancy is meeting us there too.  She is also coming back February 22 for the Reunion Concert with Jim Pike, Gary Pike and Ric de Azavido.  The Reunion is Jim's new group and they are really terrific.  They sing all the Lettermen songs.  Of course Jim and Gary sang with the original Lettermen during their Capital Record years.  Nancy used to work for Capital Records and they knew some of the same people there.  After the Star Ceremony we went to the Hyatt Regency Hotel where we were invited to a private party for the Freshmen and we had a great time there.........lots of food and drinks (diet coke for all of us)  After the party we drove home with Jim and Sue and we stayed there for a couple of hours visiting and stuff.  Nancy taught Sue some things she didn't know on her I-Pad.  She  and Sue really hit it off.  She also took a picture of Jim's wall where he has nine gold albums and two single gold records.  It was a very full day and I was plenty eager to get to bed.

Monday:      We took Nancy to the airport today where she caught her flight to Dallas and she phoned me from the airport when she arrived at 5:30 p.m. our time.  We are quite ready to go to bed but first Dick has to try to post some of the pictures Nancy took.  

So sorry, we had such neat pictures but neither Dick nor I can figure it out.....

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's been almost a month.

I could hardly believe it when I looked at my last posting.  In six more days it would have been a month.  I still don't feel like doing this but I am getting ashamed of myself.  I had good reason not to do it last month when I was so terribly busy baking and getting ready for Christmas.  Unfortunately the reason I haven't done it since we got home is that I really hurt myself and I don't even know how it happened.  I was sitting in my chair perfectly comfortable when all of a sudden I got the most horrific pain in the right side of the small of my back.  It was the worst pain I have ever had, childbirth and kidney stones included.  I was literally screaming and I can stand an awful lot of pain.  Dick came running and rubbed and massaged it until I could stop crying.  Unfortunately, it is still there.  I haven't left my chair for quite some time.  When I have to go to the bathroom, Dick helps me get to my walker, and sometimes he has to go with me all the way anyway.  I truly am having trouble walking.  I just decided that I am going to go back to the pain clinic and see if shooting more cortisone into the right lower back will help.  I got tremendous relief when I was having great difficulty on the left side and those shots would last me for six weeks.  Too bad it didn't last.  After a year or so, they stopped helping at all.  I haven't ever had it on the right side though, so maybe it will help.  I am going to make an appointment tomorrow.  But no more complaining here.

We did have a wonderful Christmas though.  We drove to Sue's early on the 24th and were so happy to be able to see and be with her WHOLE family.  It was so neat to be able to be with the great grandkids as there is nothing like Christmas when kids are there.  We truly enjoyed our short visit.  Short, because we left of the 27th and drove down the 101 to Nikki's and had our own Christmas with them.  Again, I got to see ALL of her family too, which meant two more great grandchildren.  It was great to be able to be with both families.  We left there on the on the 28th because we had to get home to set up for our New York New Years Eve party. 

The party itself was a great success as it always is.  Dick didn't take any pictures at all.  I was disappointed because I wanted pictures of all my friends.  They are dying off too fast, but many are in their eighties so what can you expect?  We had two die last year of our 24 total, so we were able to invite two more.  We invited the Pikes, Jim and Sue.  I am really surprised, to tell you the truth, because they had three other things they could have gone to, and also, once you are invited, it is for life, so you are expected back, year after year.  They have pretty well set down roots here and plan to be here for the rest of their lives.  One of the couple has to be in their 70's or 80's.  Jim is the same age as Dick, 76.  I am nine years older than Dick and Sue is nine years younger than Jim, so that makes her the youngest one of our group.  No, we didn't get any pictures taken, but all you have to do is look back to my last post and you will see some that we took last year.  The surroundings don't change from year to year.  The set up is just the same.  It's the only way we can get 24 people in here.  Even the Christmas tree is the same every year.  The food is still the same too, as we don't change our menu, everyone brings the same thing.  We did have one new dish this year.  Sue made a delicious corn cassarole, and everyone raved about it.  The only thing that changed was the circle time question.  This year it was "What time in your life did you consider yourself an adult, and why?   It was a fun question and we did get a lot of good answers, most of them funny enough to laugh at, so the tone was really light and fun, unlike it was last year when we were all in tears at the end.  As it was  last year, by 9:35 every last person was gone and all the furniture was in place (a lot had to be moved from the garage back in the house).  So all in all, it was a wonderful party and everyone is looking forward to next years.

I am really ready for my chair.  Sorry, no pictures.  I keep telling myself, and you, that at least I am going to learn how to take them.  I'll never learn how to transfer them.  I have a weird computer. 

Love to all...................................Darlene

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baking Up a Storm

Right after I finished the last blog we went shopping for some more inside decorations for Christmas, and most especially for New Years Eve.  Every year we have 24 people coming for what we call our New York New Years Eve party.  Our house will only hold 24 people.  It is pretty fun, actually,  and all the same people come each year.  The only way we can invite anyone new is for someone to either move away or die, as everyone is invited for each New Years until either Dick or I die.  One of our friends lost his wife  last year and another one lost her husband, so that left two that we could invite, so we invited Jim and Sue Pike.

 So far everyone is coming.  It is pot luck and every year everyone brings the same thing, so our menu never really changes.  Everyone really looks forward to this party each year, so nothing ever changes with everyone coming unless they get sick. 

We eat at exactly 6:00 p.m. and after we are through eating, everyone helps with moving all the tables away and then we have circle time, which we borrowed from Sue.  We ask everyone a fun question and after Dick and I have had our turn, everyone all around the circle answers the question. This year we are going to ask a question that will have all of us laughing, which should be fun.  It also gives us a chance to know something about everyone that we have never heard before.  I hope it will be a success and you will  know all about it in my first post after the New Year.

This is the main table which seats only eight.  This photo was taken in 2010

Looking across the main table to two of the four card tables we set up

This is the main table that we had last year 2011

Setting up for circle time

A shot of our decorated coffee table from last year

I have actually been very busy this month, which is why I haven't posted before.  I was quite amazed when I found out that I hadn't posted at all this month.

The first week in December was a very busy one.  Monday night was a High Priest party at the Pikes.  Tuesday was a birthday luncheon at the church for all the birthdays in December.  I was going to be smart and bake something on Monday for both parties, so I baked a choco brownie cake for the evening party and a cheese cake for the Tuesday luncheon at 12:00 noon.  I don't know where my brain was but I forgot to put the timer on for the cheese cake and promptly forgot about it.  When I suddenly remembered that it seemed like a long time, I went to the kitchen, looked at the cheesecake and it was way over baked!  I was so mad because I didn't really have time to bake anything else, so knew I was going to have to do it Tuesday morning.  The choco brownie cake turned out beautifully, as it always has.  I am going to bake one tomorrow morning and divide it into two 9" cake pans.  I think I will give you the recipe as it really is a wonderful chocolate cake:

Choco Brownie Cake:

1 cube butter at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
3 1/2 Tablesoons cocoa
l cup water
Cook the above ingredients in saucepan on medium just until it comes to a boil.
Then pour over 2 cups flour and 2 cups of sugar which has been sifted together and placed in large bowl of mixer.

Mix well and then add in order given:
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda just sprinkled into other ingredients
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pour into either a greased and lightly floured 9x 13 pan or two 9" round cake pans, that have been greased and lightly floured
Bake for 25 minutes @ 400 degrees.

Icing for above:
1 1/4 cubes butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
Cook in the same pan as you boiled in above.  When it comes to a boil, pour into large pan that you have put 1 lb pkg powdered sugar.  Mix thoroughly with mixer and add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup chopped walnuts.  You should ice cake while it is still warm.  I usually take it out of the oven and put it one rack if I am baking it in the one large pan, or on two racks it I am doing it in the round cake pans.  Then I ice the one large cake with all of the icing, or if doing two small cakes, I divide the icing in two parts.  If I am doing two small cakes, I put them on large dinner size paper plates or if I do the big one, I just ice it right in the pan.  Of course if you want to do a big round cake you ice the whole thing in the regular way.  I always use the same mixer for both the cake and the icing, so of course I have to wash both the mixer and the pan before I make the icing.

On Tuesday I just made my brownie recipe (from scratch, of course) and iced it with the above icing.  Both affairs were really nice, but I was almost too tired to really enjoy them.

I had really decided to rest all of Wednesday and I completely forgot that we had promised a couple of friends of ours who had asked us if we could take them over to Palm Springs to see the Festival of Lights.  This couple has lots of problems.  He has fallen lots and the last time he fell he broke his pelvis, so it has been a slow recovery.  He is almost 91, and she is quite blind.  The doctor has told him that he cannot drive anymore.  I felt so bad when she called us to see what time we were going to pick them up.  I was really too tired still, so we pomised them we would have them over for dinner on Monday and then we would drive them over to see the lights.  This guy that has these lights every year but he has a big huge gate around his whole place and the things to see are really   inside.  He has 4 acres and he had a lot of Santas and robots plus other types of decorations.  Do you know that just about 5:00 when they were supposed to have come for dinner, she called and said she wouldn't be home until around 8:00.  She had gone to Loma Linda for her husband's medicine and she had asked her next door neighbor if she would drive her.  Her neighbor had a lot of other towns that she had to go to and Rosemary just had to go along.  So we tried to got Don to come over for dinner anyway.  We had the table all set for them, but he decided to wait for Rosemary, so they came the second night and had lefovers with us.  Our left overs were pretty good though.  We had left over roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, and choco brownie cake for dessert.  Then we went to Palm Springs.  The gates were all lighted all around the property and we could see the tall Santa and a huge lighted pole from the front gate, which was also beuatifully decorated.  I don't quite think it was worth the drive, but we did stop on our way over in Cathedral City where one street is always decorated each year.  They call it candy cane lane and of course even the streets are decorated with the candy canes all lighted up.  They are the size of the street lamps.  It really is worth the trip over and we always go there each year.

Wednesday we went visiting teaching and I had to make two carrot pineapple cakes to take with us.  Then this morning I had to make two more carrot cakes to give one to another lady we visit and home teach and then the other one went to some friends of ours who had previously brought us some cinnamon rolls.  We stopped there and had a piece of cake with them and then went shopping.  We did manage to find a beautiful wreath for our front door that we will try to put up tomorrow.  We came home and I made another oatmeal thing with some left over pumpkin which I think Dick was cutting to flash freeze when I made him come and post the pictures we took last year of our New Years Eve party.  That pretty much brings us up to date.  You can see why I am tired and tomorrow we are baking 12 Danish Pastry tea rings which take almost all day.  I am also baking another choco brownie cake.  All this stuff is for our family.  Saturday we will be delivering a big box to our oldest daughter, Nancy.  She also works a good half day and we will be taking it early Saturday morning to her office in Anaheim.  At least we won't have to take it to her home which is in Huntington Beach.  We will stop at one of our favorite resturaunts in Riverside on the way home.  Sunday Dick will be at the church all day long doing some last minute tithing settlements and Monday morning about 5:00 a.m. we will be leaving for Sue's in Saratoga for Christmas.  After a couple of days in Saratoga we will go to our third daughter, Nikki's in Oak Park, which is near Agoura Hills.  We will barely get home sometime Saturday, to set up for our New York New Years Eve.  It makes me tired just reading this.  I'm finall finished, yes I am...........with love to all, ..........................Darlene