Category Archives: Musings

I Hate These Phone Calls

I love the “greatest generation”.  My parents generation.  They grew up during the depression.  Fought wars, worked hard, knew how to do without, played hard, etc.  My dad was a perfect example of this generation.  My mom too.  Over the last few months, I have lost 4 aunts and uncles on my dad’s side of the family.  Uncle Mel was the most recent just last month.

I have a couple good friends whose parents are from this generation.  Yesterday I found out one of my friends mother had a massive stroke.  I am waiting till it gets a little later this morning to call my friend for an update on her mom.  I also need to call her will some sad news.  Another of my friends called me early this morning to let me know her mother-in-law passed away.  I have known this woman for about 16 years and like most women of this generation, she was feisty and strong so I am a little stunned that she is gone.

I really hate seeing the passing of all these people I have come to know and admire.  But this is the reality of life.  They had to say goodbye to their parents generation and so it goes.

I’ve Been Waiting

Good morning.  Say, guess whose birthday it is.  I remember when I turned 40, I had some ask if that big birthday bothered me at all.  It did not.  I kept waiting for it to hit me.  I knew a couple of friends that were very upset turning the big 4-0.  But for some reason, I loved turning forty.  It is a great age.  At least for me.  It is an age where you are wiser, you know what you don’t know, and you don’t really care that you don’t know it. 🙂  It is also an age that you really stop caring what people think of you and you become more who you are for the world to see.  At least that is how it was for me.  Yes, I loved turning 40.

So now I am waiting for this birthday to bother me in some way.  Today, Konnie Jean Staab-Miller turns 50!  I am so happy to be doing so. 🙂  Maybe it has something to do with 4 years ago, me wondering if I would ever get to be 50.  But I don’t think that is it.  I don’t feel 50.  Oh my body sure does.  Between the scars, arthritis, “issues”, weight gain, gray hair,……Oh I wear every bit of my 50.  But inside, I still feel like a silly 16-year-old.  Well ok, I am not as shy, and I know what I don’t know.  When you are 16, 26, even 36, you are JUST SO SURE of yourself.  Now, my usual answers to questions are, “Not sure, possibly, maybe, etc.”  But I feel 16 inside because I still get extremely happy when I get to spend time with my highschool sweetheart, I still dance around the house while doing my chores, I still love animals (more than some humans) 🙂 I still crank up the radio when my Elton comes on.  I still have tons of useless music trivia    in my head. (Just can’t remember what I did yesterday).  I still respect and admire my mom, my sisters are still my best friends, I still try to torture my brothers, (they return the favor).  Some things really don’t change.

But at 50, my kids are all grown and I am happy to be watching them form new lives, happy for my grandchild and will wait patiently for more.  Happy for the life LL and I have formed ourselves.

I guess I am just happy to have another birthday.  Must say, when LL and I were talking about it last night, I said it only hits me a little when I think about it this way……in twenty years I will be 70!  LOL  Well Happy 50th Birthday to me!!!

 

So What Is The Matter With My Brain

Am I the only one?  I guess I could blame it on Chemo Brain.  (which doctors are finally acknowledging exists).  I could blame it on being a hermit.  Having less oncoming stimulation from outside sources.  I could blame it on society.  What is in the news.  Weather, shootings, fiscal cliff, etc..  I could blame it on health concerns of family.  But am I the only one who can not seem to focus on mundane activities for any length of time?

Ok, maybe it is just me. 😦

Lately, I am overwhelmed with the mundane.  Oh I know my brain doesn’t work as well as it use to before cancer, surgeries, radiation and especially chemotherapy.  I know damage was done.  Especially the chemo.  I am not really complaining because, Hey, it saved my life.  But I always remembered everything.  My talent and occupation when working with people with autism was very focused.  No detail too little.  O.K.  I have never been good at remembering names, but lately, almost everyone is new to me.  This has been going on for years now.  Nothing new since the treatments.

But lately, this holiday season, I have been not so much confused, but just plain overwhelmed.  My baking was less in amount, but things I have made for years did not turn out.  Not only did I not decorate the house as much this year, I could not find half the decorations. 😦  I can’t stomach watching cable news.  Any.  Not the right-wing Fox, the left-wing MSNBC, CNN.  If I have to see Boener or Obama blame each other one more time about who is not doing their job…..I am going to scream.  I can not take seeing one more time a mall or school shooting.   Hell even firefighters being gunned down.  I can not focus on that SHIT!  O.k.  My mom raised me better than to use that word, but that is what it is.

Facebook is covered with “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” crap.  Not very comforting or appropriate at this time.  Also, “If you are a REAL american,…….”  “If you are a REAL Christian,……”  Fill in the blank.

Needless to say, I am not watching much news, not reading much Facebook posts, etc.  I was hoping I could then focus on real life.  Get back to being functional.  But the truth is, it all seeps in any way.  Hurricanes still happen, shootings still happen, people still insist on making conservatives and liberals characatures and the bad guys.  Brothers-in-law are still sick, and I still can not focus on mundane SHIT!  (I know Mom, I said it twice).

But with all of that said, I had a lovely Christmas.  I love my family.  I love this country.  I love my faith.  And I love this world.  Just wish I could remember what I did 5 minutes ago.  LOL

 

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Good Morning.  It has been really rough here for the last couple days.  Of course the shootings, first here in Oregon earlier in the week, then the shooting in Newtown on Friday.  But in personal land here at the Miller house, things have been hard.  Yesterday, LL, Bailey and I visited my brother-in-law Monte at his home.  After such a serious surgery, I was happy to see that he is doing so well.  But LL has another brother looking at cancer in multiple sites and it does not sound good.  He came home from the hospital last night.  He will have to wait a few days for the results on exactly what kind of cancer it is.

LL and I hope to go visit him today.  After that, it is our annual Christmas with my sister Kathy.  The last few times I have seen her, I forgot my camera.  I hope to remember it this time.  I am not sure, but perhaps we will go have dinner together.

Friday night, I went to our town square for a candlelight vigil for the victims of both shootings.  I believe now is a time that everyone needs to set aside differences, gather together and pray.  At the vigil, we had 3 pasters of three very different churches leading us all in prayer.  We sang Amazing Grace.  We cried.  We hugged.  To be honest, as I was walking home from the vigil, cold, dark, Christmas lights lining almost every house on our street, I was very aware of the sense of peace.  The first calm peaceful feeling I have felt ever since Bailey and my brothers-in-law starting going through these health scary issues.  I guess that is what God does best.  He doesn’t always take the pain, fear, etc. away.  But when I reach out to Him, he always gives me peace and security.

So have a very Peaceful Sunday today.

Seeing The Writing On The Wall

I was listening to NPR on the radio a few days ago.  They were doing a segment on the letters of Jefferson.  His writings along with all our founding fathers were so eloquent.  To say they could turn a phrase is an understatement.  Of course, this led my mind to wander.  I started thinking about how beautiful the actual documents and letters look.  The penmanship is so perfect.

Something happened during the years between my older siblings and then Doug’s and my education.  Teachers for a few years taught math differently, taught reading and writing different from years before.  I remember very little time in those early years of learning cursive, working on technique, form, etc.  To this day, if you look at my sisters Karen and Kris’s handwriting, also David’s……it is uniformed, slanted,….perfect.  Doug’s and my handwriting look very different.  In fact, I believe if a handwriting expert were to examine my writing, they would not be able to tell if I am left-handed or right-handed.  Not only does my words in a sentence slant one way, then another…..even in the same word, my letters go both ways.  I have a 4th graders handwriting.  Oh, I don’t dot my I’s with a heart, but in every other way, well it is pretty sad.

As beautiful as my siblings writing are, it can’t hold a candle to the generation before us.  My mom’s writing is still lovely and my dad took pride in his penmanship.  All his writings were beautiful, but his signature was a work of art.  Makes sense because he was an artist.

But what I came away with mostly after listening to the NPR story is that we are losing something very precious for future generations.  The Hand Written form of correspondence.  Think of how wonderful it is that we have the declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson’s own hand.  Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  All those beautiful letters featured in Ken Burns Civil War documentary.  My mom still has papers with my grandma’s and greatgrandma’s handwriting.  You get a sense of the person’s character.  Their trials, pain, etc.  What do we have now?  E-mails, memos, texts. 😦  When is the last time you wrote a letter?  I remember the last one I wrote.  A few months ago, I had to write a letter to Social Security on Max’s behalf.  The printer wasn’t working, if it was….I would have typed up the letter and printed it.  But I hand-wrote it.  It was such an anomaly that I remember it.  I do from time to time, write a thank you, get well, thinking of you type card.  But beyond that, my poor handwriting goes unnoticed by everyone.

I hope somehow years from now, people will be able to read e-mails from loved ones in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I hope people will be able to read word for word, the great speeches of this generation.  But it won’t be the same.  It won’t be from the hand of the author.

So Who Is To Blame?

Why am I the way I am?  Yes, a person is born with certain traits.  I was born the baby of six.  That affected who I am.  I know I was very spoiled and indulged in ways my siblings were not.  I remember at a young age, maybe 8 or 9, going toe-to-toe with my dad at the dinner table on subjects like death penalty, racism, etc.  Unless I was disrespectful, this dialogue was encouraged.  So I think what forms a person the most is their family.  But a close second is a great teacher!

I had many great teachers, too many to list.  But my favorite was John Meier.  He was my 7th and 8th grade teacher.  He was also the school Principal.  So many reasons that he is my favorite.  One of the reasons is…..I was his favorite. (along with Dean, a boy I grew up with).  We were definitely the teacher’s pet.  How do I know this?  Well all the students knew this. Kind of hard to miss.  Back in the day, 1970’s, teachers did not worry about waiting for purchase orders.  They just got into their own car, went to town, (Silverton), to get what ever the school needed.  North Howell had accounts at all the stores in town.  And back in the day, a teacher did not worry about driving students around in their car.  So at least a couple of times a week, Mr. Meier would get the school secretary to watch the class and pick a couple of students to go with him.  Just for the fun of it!  And it was ALWAYS Dean and I. 🙂  Why would he choose us?  We were his favorites and everyone knew it.  Oh, I should have been kind and said….”Mr. Meier, take Ruth, or Cis, or Lisa this time”.  Yes that would have been kind.  But Dean and I knew something that none of them knew, (because they were never chosen).  After running the errands, Mr. Meier, who had a sweet tooth, would stop at the bakery and buy us maple bars.  I wasn’t giving that up for anyone. LOL.

With that said, there is another reason Mr. Meier is my favorite teacher.  Good teachers teach a student facts.  A great teacher teaches a student how to learn, find answers, question, and give them a love of learning.  That was what Mr. Meier did for me.  Let me give you an example that I still remember.

Mr. Meier taught two grades in one classroom.  My class had only 8 students.  He taught all subjects.  But his masters were in history and science.  His love of history, current events, geography, etc. brought a focus in our classroom.  We listened to Paul Harvey during our lunch time, we read the first section of the news paper everyday, we spent far more time learning history, politics, geography than we did on any other subject.  I am sure my language studies, Math, etc. suffered because of this.  But boy do I still love history, the world, current events!  But it was his way of teaching that made him extraordinary.  I was in his class during the time of the Ford/Carter elections.  Mr. Meier was a big time republican.  I remember him asking me…”if you could Konnie, who would you vote for?”  I said, “Oh Carter definitely!”  He asked why?.  I said something stupid like, “I think he is cuter”. 😦  Well, Mr. Meier said that I was smarter than that, and he wanted me to come back to him in a week with a better answer, in fact, he wanted a paper on it.  So I used that week to read the paper more thoroughly, (no internet then), talk to my parents, go to the library, and in a week, I gave him a paper on why I would vote for Carter.  After reading it, he did not tell me I was wrong, why he disagreed, any criticism at all.  He just said, “Well done!) 🙂  That is a good teacher.  No, Great teacher.

So along with genetics, my parents and siblings, my religion, my husband, circumstances, etc.  You can also blame John Meier for who I am. 🙂

Changing of seasons

Linus was always the wise one of the bunch of Peanuts.  Something is definitely changing in the air.  Still nice days here but that late summer, early fall feel is happening.  Kris and I both felt it on our two walks together on Monday and Wednesday.  On my Tuesday walk I started in Mt. Angel but walked a couple of miles out on a country road.  The dry fields, the bugs and grasshoppers on the surface, even the type of farm equipment driving by me, all indications that the season is changing.

I love all seasons.  Well, not so much the rainy season in Oregon which is half the year, but this time of year is my favorite.  The days are still warm, but the mornings are starting to be colder.  From this point until the end of October or so, I enjoy each changing day.  The foliage, the garden, the apples, pumpkins, kids back to school, Halloween decorations, etc.

So for the next couple months, until the rain fully settles in; my walks will be longer, the crock pot filled more frequently, apples and tomatoes will be the star of most dishes.  Canning and freezing will be the focus of my chores, and just a wonderful feel of contentment.

 

Puttering

I like mornings like this.  Really did not get a very early start.  Normally up around 5:00 or so every morning.  But last night, I was up at 12:30 and had issues until sometime after 3:00.  So LL woke me up after 6:00.  Yesterday was his first day working at his new job.  Today is the first day that he is going out-of-town.  Just for one night and two days.  Central Oregon. So I took him to Salem and dropped him off at the office.  Not sure if we will do this every time he travels.  But even doubling the trips to Salem in the car, it uses less gas than the pick-up.

After taking him to Salem, I drove to Mt. Angel and watered Mom’s flowers, then walked a few miles before heading back to Silverton.  Any time I get this much done before 9:00, I am a happy camper.

This past weekend, LL and I moved furniture around.  Removed t.v. from living room and set up middle bedroom as a t.v. room.  So today I am going to deep clean the living room.  Because of it having less use, I am looking forward to it staying cleaner longer and be more presentable when company drops by.  The reason we did this is that LL has a hard time watching our old t.v. from across the large room.  The new t.v. room is cozier.  We decided that either we needed to do this or buy a larger flat screen t.v. for the living room.  We decided to go the more frugal option. 🙂

After the living room is cleaned, my plan is to do some cooking.  My vegetables are piling up.  Some things will be blanched and frozen, some veggies will be stir fried and will eat for the rest of the week.  Not to mention the huge salad I will make.

I guess the next two days are really just puttering days.  Oh just remember something else that needs to be done.

Last night, while LL was still at work, I heard a huge commotion out in the chicken coop.  Max and I got a flashlight and all three chickens were ok, but something upset them and was trying to get in the coop.  So I hope to clean the coop a bit and make sure the doors and fence is truly secure.  Poor things, their feathers were really ruffled.

Go TEAM!

Decisions.  When making important decisions in our life, LL and I have always been a team.  Whether it was a decision for the kids when they were young, or decisions still for Max.  Day to day decisions, I pretty much made, but important things like health, schools, etc.  we made those decisions together and usually we were on the same page.  Same with financial, job, homes, large purchases, etc.  Never have we separated our lives.  We have never had “his money”, “my money”, “your pickup, or my car”.  Although there are times we have both said “Your son, or Your daughter”, usually when the kids were in trouble. 🙂

Our life has evolved somewhat.  We don’t sit down and pay bills together.  I take care of paying household, he takes care of the rest.  But it is with our money from our accounts.  I still make day-to-day decisions for Max, but yesterday was Max’s annual I.S.P. meeting and LL always attends and we make those big decisions together with Max.  It’s a rhythm.  We don’t have to say, “you are in charge of this, I am in charge of that.”  We just know.  And when one of us make a bad decision, it’s nice to know the other is not going to hang it over the other’s head.

LL and I are in the process of making a pretty big decision right now.  One that will bring changes for both of our day-to-day life.  Not ready to be specific on this blog just yet.  But this is when our difference in personalities become more apparent.  LL is more confident and can go with the flow when changes occur.  It would not surprise you that I am not very confident, changes are hard for me.  The glass is half full to LL.  The glass is half empty for me.  Oh I can be pretty positive in my outlook, but I am always mulling over the “what ifs”.  LL is aware of the “what ifs” but is never paralysed or even hesitant to embrace something new and meet it head on.  This is why he has always been a good provider, why he was able to get his degree in his forties while working more than full time.  This why he is good at public speaking and has never met a stranger.  And because I am not confident and don’t like change, I am not good at any of those things.

But because we are different in these ways, I have prevented us with my cautiousness from making some bad decisions, and because of his confidence, our life has been better in almost every way.  So I think we make a good duo.  We are a team.  Respect and humor are our best traits when it comes to our marriage.  I will let you know more details later, just needed to share where my mind is lately.  Have a great day.

Morning has Broken

Mornings.  I love mornings.  I wish mornings would last all day.  I am a morning person.  I am an early riser even when I am dog tired.  Why?  Because I do not want to miss Morning.  LL is not a morning person naturally.  He is up early out of necessity.  Bailey is the same way.  In fact, all three of my children take after their Dad when it comes to being Night Owls.  But I never minded that fact.  I always took advantage of the quiet house in the early hours.  Time for coffee, watch the news, making the kids lunch, setting up Max’s schedule, etc.

Now I have no “To Do” list for the mornings.  Sometimes I make LL’s lunch if there is yummy leftovers, but mostly I do not.  I have no children to prepare the day for.  My mornings can start out leisurely or fast, get things done pace.  I really have no reason to get up early.  I could sleep till 7:00 or even 8:00 and probably still get the same amount of things accomplished.  So why don’t I?

I think I don’t want to miss mornings because it is full of potential.  Early mornings are I time I can sit, mull over what I want to do for the day, maybe even read for an hour before the sun is even up.  Anything and Everything seems possible at 5:00 in the morning.  That time of day I am still a success!  I haven’t eaten gluten, or blown my diet, I haven’t accidentally said something that may have hurt someone’s feelings, I haven’t forgotten to be somewhere…..yet.  Every day should start new, and the early morning is a clean slate.  So for some reason, I want that clean slate to last as long as possible for the day.  So I get up early.

The very best morning of the week for me is Saturday.  Not Sunday?  No, not Sunday.  I love weekends.  I love it now more than I did when I worked full-time.  I love weekends because I am never lonely on the weekends.  I get to spend lots of time with LL and Max.  I usually see Kane and Bailey too.  At some point during the weekend, if we are not camping, LL and I go visit Mom.  There might be an event, or LL and I might go have a drink or appetizer at a local pub.  And of course, you know how I love the camping weekends.  So Saturday Mornings are really the morning for the weekend.  The whole weekend still has potential on Saturday mornings.

I never will understand those who can sleep the mornings away.  I am sure they have no understanding of me either.  And guess what.  My early morning is now over and I must get on with the day.  Make what ever mistakes I might make in-between successes.