a death and 53 years with the same tiara


I remember my first day of Kindergarten as if it were yesterday. I didn’t want to be there.

I was in the morning class and on the first day of school  our parents got to ride the bus with us. I remember I didn’t want to get off the bus. The moms and a few dads walked us into the classroom. I was shy and as we stood in the  doorway I was hiding behind my mom and hanging on to her skirt .As my mom turned to leave I started to panic and that is when a freckled face little blonde girl came over and said,  “hi , will you be my friend and sit with me at my table?” I followed her to the table and over the course of the year we became best friends.

Alison was her name and after kindergarten she moved a million miles away from me never to be seen again.  Our school was being closed so once again I was faced with going to a new school alone. I don’t remember much about the  new school as I was only there a month or so when my parents moved us out into the middle of nowhere land! So once again on the first day of going to my third new school my  mom went inside with me and walked me to the classroom.

From the office we walked down a long hall towards more hallways of classrooms and as we walked the principal was asking me questions. We turned the corner to the first grade hall passed the  first two rooms and that is when I heard a high pitched screeching scream behind me , yelling, “oh Cindy Lou ! Oh Cindy Lou you also moved a million miles away and found me!

That year for Christmas Alison got us both tiara’s and we wore them to school every day!

She was my number one best friend for years. I loved her more than the moon. Many years later I even talked my husband into naming our youngest child after her.

Alison and I don’t talk often but we keep tabs on each other and I still have that tiara she gave me all those years ago . When I am twirling under the moon light feeling of feeling sad & lonely or when I just need to boost my self esteem a bit I put it on and then I feel invincible!

14 years ago after moving back to Washington I connected to another group of friends. Most us went to at least high school together but many of us went from first or second grade all the way through high school together. For years we would meet once a month for a potluck and we would always wear our tiara’s. When going to the potlucks I always wore the tiara that Alison gave me. Sometimes I would add daisy’s or other flowers to it just for. This group of grown women gathered to inspire and help each other in times of need or to just be supportive and to have fun. We gave each other royal titles. I am known as the Queen of Garden Chaos and Pranks.

Robin Austin

Its been a few years since we have all gathered and early last week we all got a note that all Queens were requested to paint there toes red and put on our Tiaras at 3 pm on Saturday May 27th to honor our
Paparazzi Queen and friend Robin Austin. 

With my tiara covered in rosemary and lavender I twirled under the sky and thanked the universe for sharing Robin Austin with me! Tomorrow I will get my toes painted red ~! I will also go visit Alison.

Summit

I am in worse shape than I thought I was. I am cold, I am tired, and I am sore as fuck. Excuse the foul language but I have to wonder what the hell I was thinking. I feel as if I had a temporary lapse in my sanity! I met Gary, Rafi, and Lori at the trail head at 0400. I was the only one in this group that had climbed Saint Helen before she blew her top. The others had all climbed her last summer. The others were ages  28,  32, and 40. I manged to hold my own but my thighs and rear end were burning all the way up and on the way down it was a crazy crazy ride as we voted to do some Glissading on the way down. More on that later. 

We stared the  2-3 mile uphill climb in the dark.  It was chilly but no wind or snow was falling.   After the 2-3 mile climb there was a break in the woods and we were out of the treeline. Now it was windy!   From there, it’s rough and rugged steep  2000- 2,500 vertical foot climb over several miles of snow , rocks, boulders.  It was impossible to avoid being on all fours in some spots . It was slick and icy. The final stretch was a steep 1,000-foot climb on icy snow. My thighs and ass were burning in pain. 

Once at the top we had some lunch, I twirled in the sunlight and the boys danced and Lori  laughed at us all while snapping photos.  With the tiny amount of power I had left on my phone I  got a few photos. I think the  cold drained my battery much faster than normal?  As I stood and took in the beauty of the Cornices  (over hanging snow) at the crater rim I blew a kiss and asked the universe to deliver it to someone special. That would have been around  0930.

As I mentioned earlier we voted to slide back down the mountain, I would love to see drone footage of this part of the trip. The technical word for sliding down a mountain is Glissading. When I was a younger and much more adventurous girl I did a lot of Glissading . Imagine for a moment that you are seated on the top of a mountain  covered in deep and heavy snow. You  sit down directly on the icy snow and give yourself a push off. Using your pick ax and your feet to maintain control as you slide down a mountain at some crazy speeds. Did I mention my ass is sore! We managed to  make it 2-3  miles down without having to stand up!  Did I mention I think I lost my mind temporarily? This was better on my knees and it brought  back some fun memories but I am cold tired and sore .

The round trip climb was just between about 12 miles.  

The elevation gain was 5699 ft. The highest point was 8364 feet. It only took us 5.5 hours to get to the top and we got down  much faster  I was back to my car by 1330 .  sat there for  20 minutes warming up and then I  dictated this post using google and I am going to try to get home in time to solve a mystery at an escape room this evening.  Wish me luck!

I had a double successful day!

Cheese balls & Kleenex

I had left my duty station at  Walter Reed Army Medical Center in DC and was now stationed at Fort Lewis Washington. I remember feeling lucky as Fort Lewis was fairly close to Puyallup, Washington which was were I had called home most my life.

I can’t remember if Peter and I had just gotten married or if we were about to be married. What I do remember is that I wanted to take him to meet my great grandmother Mabel Palmer. I called the nursing home and made plans to visit. I was excited to see her as I had not been back home in a while. While on the phone with my grandmother I asked her if there was anything I could bring her, she requested a box of Kleenex ,some cheese balls and some yarn for her to crochet coverings on wooden hangers.

I was so excited to introduce Peter to my grandmother they shared a love for music. As a child when I would visit my grandmother I would lay on the floor and listen to her play Piano. Peter also loves to play Piano. When we first met he tried to drag me out to places with pianos so that he could play. I knew the two would instantly bond.

I had not seen my grandmother since she had moved into a nursing home. On the way to visit we stopped and picked up a box of Kleenex, some cheese balls and a few skeins of yarn.

When we arrived I instantly gave grandma the cheese balls and the Kleenex and introduced her to Peter. She thought he was very handsome. We were in her room chatting for a 15 or 20  minutes enjoying the cheese balls when a staff member came in and said, excuse me miss, that is not your Grandmother… Your grandmother is over there.  

Oh my goodness, I just stood there not sure of what to do. I could not ask this lady to give me back the cheese balls and Kleenex as I had handed them to her and she was so pleased that we had come to visit.

Peter still teases me about taking him to meet my grandmother and then introducing him to someone else instead. I think he tells this story better than I do. I had forgot the yarn in the car so I was able to give my grandmother something. It has been 30 years since this happened and I can’t seem to remember if my grandmother was annoyed that I gave away her cheese balls and Kleenex. I still have a some of the hangers she made for me with the yarn I gave her. I also have so many fond memories of spending summers with her.

barking dogs…. a confession

I was working at the assisted living facility in Lakeway, Texas as a medication aide. My job consisted of getting to work at  0500 and making my rounds giving residents medications. Many residents needed medications multiple times a day. By the time I  finished the morning rounds it was time to start with the afternoon medications. This was a job where I needed to be well rested , alert as giving the wrong medication at the incorrect time , wrong dose or with a conflicting drug could be dangerous or fatal. I had to be on my A game!

I was used to going to bed early so that I could get a good night sleep . Things had been going pretty well until some new people moved across the street and down a house.  Their backyard was just kitty corner from my bedroom window.

I generally went to  bed around 2200  and at 2300 I was  awakened by a bark bark bark bark. It sounded like a herd of dogs outside my window. I got up , got dressed and I went down the street to find the barking dogs. I rang the bell of the new neighbors house and  told them that they needed to bring they dogs inside as they were barking continuously and that I needed to be up early. The dog owners told me that their bedroom faces the other way so they cannot hear them bark. I asked them nicely to please bring the dogs inside but they refused. So every night for 3 weeks when the dogs woke me up I would get up, get dressed and go ring the doorbell to ask the dog owners to please bring the dogs inside. By the end of the three weeks I was tired and  sleep deprived. I was using ear plugs but the noise echoed from the dogs backyard into my window. So i decided to get up one last time. I walked to their house . But this time instead of ringing the bell I just stood there outside the gate. The dogs stopped barking. I started to go back home but then they started barking again. So I walked over and opened the gate to the back yard. I noticed a 50 lb bag of dog food on the ground with a circle cut out of the center  for the dogs to eat out of and a huge tub for water that was empty. I looked around the backyard and then I looked at the doggies and I don’t know what came over me but I said, “Go now , be free! ” I walked home leaving the gate wide open.

The next day a friend called me and told me she found a  lovely dog without a collar. She had wanted a dog! A few days later another friend called me and said she had also found a dog and if she didn’t see any signs up she would be happy to keep it. So both dogs ended up with good new owners and I got to sleep!

And now for the confession! Both my friends put up signs that they found the dogs and every morning on my way to work I would take them down.

I never did see any lost dogs signs so I figure those dog owners really should not have had dogs!

The photo of the dogs in this blog are not the dogs I set free.

CQ

Yesterdays post about my time in the army triggered another Military Memory where I got in trouble for doing what I thought was the right thing to do. I was working the night shift at the welcome center at Fort Lewis which is where all new soldiers went to in processed. A family of 5 came in, Both parents were active duty. They were sure they would be able to wanted to get paid but sadly the pay checks were still going to the bank IN Germany, (which they had closed out.) We have to wait until the funds are sent back before we can issue payments. They had less than $20 on them . I ordered the family a pizza , paid for a cab to a local motel 6 and covered the room for a week. I was told I was not allowed to spend my money this way and was given weekly CQ duty for 3 months! For those that have not served in the military CQ duty is 24 hour duty doing pretty much nothing or doing stupid useless shit! This is a photo of people pulling CQ duty! Thankfully I got to transfer to out processing shortly after this experience.

Demoted

Cynthia Freese

In the late 80’s I was working in the military finance office in Washington DC. We had a shut down and people were calling me all day long to ask when they would receive pay. I politely gave them a very special number to call and told them to ask for George. Yes, I got demoted and fined for giving out the private number to the white house but I have no regrets.

confession of a 50 year old crime

When I was around 6 I heard that witches needed crystals to cast spells. My great grandmother Mabel had lots of lovely chandeliers with what I thought were crystals hanging from them so I decided to take /borrow a couple to do magic with. I am sure she wondered what happened to them or maybe she knew.

I use to love all the rainbows in her house from the lamps and stained glass windows. I am going find a way to hang these so I can have her rainbows in my house! I have had these 50 years and they have made every move I have made.

My life is a script from a Korean Drama! Part 3

Molly doesn’t live here anymore
Mom didn’t believe that children needed many things, and dad went along whether he agreed or not. “A nice neat simple life”, I remember them constantly saying,” We can’t have the house looking like Romper Room now can we?” I was told from the time I was a small child that it just wasn’t healthy to get attached to material things. Doing so was an outright sin as well as being considered greedy.
The closer it got to my ninth birthday the worse I felt. The pain in my stomach was so bad I was sure that it felt just like someone was stabbing me with a knife. Later I learned that was not what a being stabbed felt like at all but we won’t go into that here. I new that if I were to die at that minute I would go straight to the burning pits of hello for what I was thinking about doing was certainly a huge sin.
The BOX
Every year a week before my birthday my parents would come to my room with a box, I was to put all the gifts from my previous birthday into the box. I would have about an hour to do this chore. After placing everything into the box my parents and I would go over a list of charities that were collecting toys for less fortunate children. Once we had picked one my parents would call and set up an appointment for us to deliver them. I never really minded this family tradition, until my ninth birthday.
Great Grandma La Gra had give Molly to me the previous year. Molly was the perfect friend. She was about 15 inches tall with long straight, dishwater blonde hair. Her skin was like porcelain even though she was made of plastic. He lips where painted a soft pastel shade of pink. Her cheeks were blushed as if she were just kissed by a cool sweet breeze. Molly’s dress was white cotton with little pink roses on it. She wore bobby socks and little white sandals. She was not an expensive doll but Molly was more than just a stupid toy. Molly was my best friend. Oh how I loved Molly, I really didn’t want to put her in the box.

The Big Sin
The box sat outside my bedroom door for a couple of days. I had put a few of my other gifts from the previous year inside the box carefully. Then I hid Molly and when asked about her whereabouts I lied! I told my parents I had not seen here and that I was concerned that she had run away.
After a fifteen minute lecture that seemed more like three hours on the topic of how children today don’t take care of things. I thought I was off the hook and that they would move on. I was so wrong! Dear ol’ mom offered to go help me find the missing doll. My heart dropped all the way to my big toe. I thought for sure I was going to vomit. I can honestly say I don’t think I ever felt so panicked! What does one do when cornered, confess sins or keep mouth shut! Mom would find Molly in minutes and she did! Molly was now in the box and it was time to take the box to the children’s hospital.

I remember thinking on the drive o the hospital that I would rather give a kidney or any other part of my body that someone should use if I could only keep my best friend. But I knew it was pointless to argue. Once we arrived at the hospital I asked if I could give Molly to someone myself. My parents agreed as long as I promised not to pull anything. If I could have donated my parents to charity on that hot summer day in late June , there is not a doubt in my mind that I would have.
I walked from room to room visiting children passing out the items in the box. All that was left was Molly. I walked into a room where there was a girl about my age. She looked scary; I quickly covered Molly’s eyes! Some horrible person had lit her on fire. She was covered with scares; it scared me to look at her. Molly whispered to me to run! That is when the girl looked at me and smiled. It was a gentle smile. When she spoke her voice was soft and scared. She asked. “What is her name?” Molly I replied. Then out of the blue I handed her my best friend and said, “I brought her to keep you company.” She smiled and took her carefully and said, “Why thank you, it has been rather lonely here and with the burns the others say I am scary. “Molly will be a faithful friend,” I told her, “just love her and she will love you back.” and then I ran out of the room. I could not believe I had just given away my best friend. My life was now over I would die from loneliness within the hour.

Well 13 years later, I was still alive; I had not died of loneliness. I was now twenty –two married with a son. Life had gone on. I got an urgent call from my father someone had telephoned him with a message for me. An old classmate was trying to locate me? I wrote the number down but I didn’t remember ever being friends with an Annie Svennson or any Ann for that matter. I stuck the paper with the number in my sweater pocket and went on about my day! Two weeks later my father called again and said, “Please call your friend, she keeps calling here for you.”
Calling people on the phone was never something I liked doing. To make call required a lot of guts! One just never really knows what the person on the other end of the line is going to say. After a few more calls from my dad I finally decided to suck it up and give this girl a call and ask her what the heck is up! Well I dialed the number counting to 10 between dialing each number! Yep, this was back in the days where you actually dialed a phone! One ring, two ring I still had time to hang up, when I heard a man say, “Hello this is Dave Svensson,” I asked to speak with Annie and he said, “you must be Cindy, she was hoping you would call” I explained that I had not been called Cindy since I was a child and that he should call me Cynthia. He said, very well and told me he would go get Annie. There was a silence l and I really wanted to hang up. Then I heard a voice that was vaguely familiar, “Can you meet for lunch?” she asked.
Red Robin at 1:00 they really did make the best burgers, I got there right on time and starving! I told the hostess I was expecting to meet someone. The hostess asked me my name and then she told me my party was waiting for me. As I walked towards the table I stopped short. My feet wouldn’t move. Oh my GOD! There she was, not Annie but Molly! I slowly made my way across the room to the table and stood in amazement and just starred. The hostess handed me a letter. Unable to speak I sat there still and in shock. She looked just like I remembered. How did she find me? I picked her up to look at her and in my state of shock I forgot about the letter.

A few minutes later a waiter stopped and asked if I was ready to order. “Order, order what?” I asked.
I picked up Molly and the letter and went out to my car. I sat starring at the envelope. It was off white with a bit of lace. On the back it had a wax stamp seal. It smelled like Lily of the valley.
I carefully opened the envelope and on the inside was a letter written on a perfumed piece of Victorian style stationary. Dear Cindy, Thank you for sharing your best friend with me when no one else would be my friend. I enjoyed her company and I think she enjoyed mine. I have a husband and my own daughter now so I thought I should return her to you, I noticed many years ago that on the inside of Molly’s dress in dark pencil were the words , if lost please return to Cindy at WA2-4917. Cindy if you want to hear about some of the adventures that Molly and I shared gives me a call at LE7 -1928.
The story of Annie and Molly doesn’t end here. I wanted to hear about the adventures they shared and for three years we were the best of friend. Three years was all we had as Leukemia took Annie away from me. This time the pain was much worse much closer to being stabbed in the stomach and the heart.
To comfort her 5 year old daughter Christina I once again parted with Molly. I told Christina that Molly was an old friend of her moms a great listener and that she would be her friend through thick and thin. Christina was delighted to have a friend that had shared so much of her mom’s life. For a year I spent almost every day with Christina, playing and sharing stories with her that her mom had shared with me. A year was all we had when Leukemia also took Christina.
It’s been 40 years since I started writing all this stuff down. I have found that having friends and spending time with them is the most important gift of all.

When birthdays roll around and I see gifts in boxes I am instantly reminded of the dreaded birthday box and all the friends and family I have lost to Leukemia over the years.

My life is a script from a Korean Drama! Part 2

BIG flashback to 1986. I was freshly divorced, and broke. A friend told me about an ad she saw in the paper which might be a way for me to earn some quick money. I called the number and was told to come in and fill out some paperwork, schedule some lab work and an interview . If I passed everything I would get a call. Just two weeks later I got a call to go in for the procedure. It was a rather horrible experience but I left with $8000 which was plenty to pay my rent for a few months and figure out what was next for me.

I had a few years of accounting under my belt so the Army seemed like a great way to get out of town on someone else’s dime so I signed up to be a finance specialist.I could go in with some rank and I could get away , far away from where I was.

So much has happened in between 1986 and 2016 I won’t bore you.
2016 however, is the year my youngest offspring asked me to sign up for 23 & me. Peter had signed up a year earlier and the offspring wanted to know what part of their DNA make up was from Dad vs Mom. I hesitated as I knew I had a secret but then I caved on the 23 & me topic and the kiddo got the results and answers to the questions he had.

A few months later I got a surprise, I got an email from 23 & me and the subject line was: You have a new DNA relative
The rest of the email was simple. Relationship : Daughter
We predict that Jane Doe is your daughter. ( I am not listing her name here as it has been almost 2 years and I am just now finally coming around to been open to considering what comes next. )
DNA match 51.9 ( the offspring that requested that I do 23 & me is a 49.9 match? )

You might have guessed the procedure I did back in 1986 was egg donation. I had gone on with my life not ever thinking about it again. I never dreamed that I could be contacted 30 some years later about having a daughter that would want to meet a biological mother. It’s not like I had given up a child for adoption I just gave some eggs.

Here I am in 2018 being asked to go and meet a family that wants to thank me for my gift, A 32 year old girl waits for me to decide if I want to meet her and I can’t seem to figure out what I am afraid of.

Some days I really think my life is a script from a Korean Drama. Part 1

Some days I really think my life is a script from a Korean Drama. Today I visited my past. I went to say goodbye to my very first boyfriend. He was just one year older than me and we met only because he dialed a wrong number back in 1979. When I picked up the phone the voice on the other end said , “Hey there can I talk to Ray? I responded rather cheerfully , “No Ray here how can I help you? ” He said, “I just need someone to talk to.” I said, “Well you can call me Ray today if that helps.” We talked for 3 or 4 hours and then he asked me what number he had dialed and if it was okay to call me back. I think we talked every day for weeks before we ever shared our names. Months went by before I got up the courage to tell him where I lived.

It was a short coming of age romance and we parted on good terms. I only bumped into him once more about 20 years ago. Him and a girlfriend where going to build a house across the street from where Peter and I were living. His girlfriend at the time had a fit . She was not going to live 5 houses from his old girlfriend.

He is in Hospice care and his sister called me yesterday and asked if I would come visit. At first I did not want to go.I wanted to remember the 19 year old boy that I fell head over heels for or even the 31 year old that I had bumped into while walking through empty partially built homes in my neighborhood.

I am glad I went. When I walked in he smiled at me and said, “hey Ray, I needed someone to talk to and I thought of you. Thank you for coming. ” I was surprised at how nice it was to visit and to share some funny stories with him and his wife and daughter. Once you have loved someone they really do always have a part of your heart. I told him that he would always have a spot in my heart and that I have only fond memories of him. Well almost only fond memories. There was that one time…. We laughed and cried and hugged and I am happy that I was able to say goodbye to someone who taught me a lot about love.