Friday, June 6, 2014

Family Sadness

This is a sad day in our family...

My older sister, Marie, passed away in her sleep...sometime during the night or this morning.  I don't know the particulars...two of her daughters lived with her so I imagine the discovery was made this morning.

Marie was 91 years of age.  She lived on Hawai'i island or the Big Island as it is commonly known.  She is survived by her 8 living children: George of Texas, Marvid (Mahealani) of Washington, Dayna of Hawai'i, Mary Beth (Mapuana) of Hawai'i, Steven of Texas, Michael Alan of O'ahu, Amy of California and Loralee of Louisiana.  Her daughter, Lois, was killed in an auto accident in 1976...also numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren survive her.

Marie was the oldest of the girls in my family.  Brother Ernest and sisters Harriet, Ethelwynne and Viola preceded her in death.  Also surviving are brothers: Edmund-Paul (Paul) of Hawai'i, Edwin (Eddie) of O'ahu and Samuel (Sam) of Florida; sisters: Puanani (Nani) of O'ahu, Violet-Elizabeth (Betty) of California, Ernestine (Ernie) of O'ahu and Agnes Naomi of Utah...also numerous nephews and nieces...

Marie survived bouts with cancer, however her health had been declining in recent years and had two hospital stays in the last couple of weeks.  She was sent home a few days ago and was under hospice care.  Most of her children had been with her for the last few days including a granddaughter from New York.  Maile was the daughter of Lois who died in the auto accident.  So I would think they will be returning for Marie's services.

I will not be able to go, however my sister Ernie told me she and her husband would probably go to the service...so she will be there for me.

Marie and I were not close, in fact it has been many years since I saw her last, yet it still hurts when a family member passes, especially a sibling.  I have some fond memories of times spent with her and her family during my growing up years.  I also remember a trip that my former husband, John, and I made back to Arkansas to visit his family.  Marie and her family lived in El Paso, TX at the time.  Her former husband, David was in the Army stationed at Ft Bliss.  I believe he was deployed at the time, he could have been in Viet Nam yet I am not certain about that...I just remember he was gone.  My dad was living with Marie at the time.  Marie worked as the librarian at the Post library.  We stopped to visit and stayed for a couple of nights.  I wanted to go to Juarez, Mexico so the kids and my dad went with us.  It was a fun time being there with all of them.  One of the things I remember about her too is that she always dressed very well.

She is no longer hurting and that is a comfort.  My heart goes out to her children and immediate family.

Along with the passing of my sister, our family has another situation going on...

A grand nephew is missing on the Big Island.  He is the son of my niece Puanani Mahoe...Pua's mother was my sister Harriet who passed away in 2005 (?).  He went opihi picking one day last week and has not returned.  The Coast Guard did a search in the area he had gone, however did not find anything.  His family has been searching on their own.  They found his ATV that he used to get out to the area and there was someone that came forward and said that they had seen him start to climb down the cliff.  To go opihi picking, one must go to an area of the coastline where there are steep cliffs.  The opihi are washed in by the high waves and cling to the side of the rocks.  It is very dangerous work to go to pick opihi...they are tiny black limpets or sea snails.  They are delicacy in the Hawaiian culture and served at traditional luaus. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T985HiQsw04

Here is a you tube that I found...one must be constantly watching the waves...it is easy to be swept away by a wave.

The family will continuously search, I am sure, until they find something.  My heart goes out to them.  He is a young man with a wife and family.

My heart is heavy for my extended family...yet the assurance that God cares is a blessing.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hello, Remember Me

Thought I would drop in and do some updating about what has been going on in my life...

Patriot Guard Riders activities keep us busy.  Since the first of the year there have been 38 missions, most of which we attended.  The majority of them have been out at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery (SVNC), a distance of about 40 miles from home.

I've also been sewing like crazy...finished two lap size quilts for our two youngest granddaughters...finished a rag quilt for our youngest grandson...made a flag bag out of suede for a PGR friend....have another one to finish.  Made an oversized patchwork quilted tote bag for each of my sisters, Nani and Ernie...and getting ready to do another craft fair in June with stepdaughter Jenni...making more bags, some zipper pouches and whatever else I can think of to make.

I've taken over the dining room table to do my sewing, etc.  I desperately need to clean up my stamping stuff, like get rid of a lot of it, so I can have room in my craft room/office for my sewing stuff.  I was scratching up the table with my cutting mat and sewing machine so bought one of those cutting boards made out of cardboard like material to cover the table.  My mom had one of these and it is what she used to cut her fabric on when she sewed.  I use a cutting mat and rotary cutter.  I am reminded of my mom on a daily basis as I work on my projects. 

We have a new member to the family, a great grandson.  On April 10th, Thatcher Ray Lane was born.  He is the son of Nathanael (grandson) and Melissa Lane.  He was about a week early so weighed 7 and a half pounds at birth.  They live in South Carolina, although Nathanael has been transferred back to Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, NC.  He was stationed at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina.  Melissa and baby will stay with her folks for the time being.

Of course, last November 10th Jude Wesley was born to Denise (daughter) and Stephen...he was 9 and a half pounds.  So in 5 months time we added a new grandson and a new great grandson...Denise became a new mom and new grandmother...second grandchild for she and Stephen...

I had my one year checkup with the doctor who did my cataract surgeries, a couple of weeks ago.  My eyes are very healthy and in fact they are doing so well, I don't have to use the eye drops for lowering the pressure in my eyes.  That means that the glaucoma is not an issue now...will have a pressure check in 3 months.  I am so thankful to not have to worry about glaucoma affecting my eye sight.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Denise & Stephen

Twenty-Five years ago today, my Denise married her high school sweetheart, Stephen.  The day was cold and rainy...it was an evening service.  I remember there being an exception made for the service.  First off, the teens had an all nighter at the church and would be finished about noon.  We were there before hand.  As soon as they left, we started decorating the sanctuary and the room where the reception would be held.  We had about 5 hours to do that.  Usually weddings weren't held on a Saturday evening because of the next day being Sunday and having to have janitorial staff there late getting ready for Sunday.  Stephen was home for a few days and the kids wanted to be married before he was shipped out, so an exception was made. 

We had the help of two of our kids...Jason and Jenni came along to help decorate...and our friend Rita Kissee was there too.  We started with getting the sanctuary decorated and then worked on the reception area.  That room were Sunday School rooms so it didn't take too long to get it ready.  The decorating in the sanctuary was simple too.  The colors were Wedgewood Blue and Silver...perfect for an evening wedding. 

It was a beautiful ceremony with family and close friends in attendance.  Pictures were taken before going to the reception...the guests had been directed to the reception area.  It was rainy off and on through the evening.  We served cake and punch, coffee and I think nuts and mints.  We wanted to keep it simple because of the hour.

Denise looked so beautiful in her dress that had been made so lovingly by Janie DeBoard, a friend from church.  Her only attendant was her maid of honor, Toni Williams. 
Denise and Toni worked together at Marshalls.  They found out early in their friendship that they both had Hawaiian blood.  Another friend from work, Katherine, sang a couple of songs and helped Denise with making the bouquets for she and Toni...all out of silk flowers.  Stephen's best man and ushers were friends he had made at BIOLA, that he attended before going into the Army.  Some of the children of our neighbors were also part of the wedding party.

They had a limousine to take them to their hotel...it was raining pretty hard by then.  Funny story about where they spent the night...Stephen's father and step-mother had also rented a room at the same hotel...

They went out to the coast for a couple of days and then Toni and her husband offered their apartment to Denise and Stephen for a few days.  They were going to Idaho to visit family.

Stephen was home for a few days then left for his first duty station in Germany.  Denise was at home for a few months and then on Father's Day June 1987, she flew out to join Stephen in Germany.

They have enjoyed being in a few locations during their 25 years together, 3 children have blessed their home and God has richly blessed their lives.  Stephen made a promise to me the night before he flew out.  He has kept every word of that promise to me.  I could not be happier to have him in my life.  He has done exceptionally well caring for my daughter and their family.

The years have gone by quickly...I am a blessed Mom, knowing my only child has been well taken care of...she has a hard working husband, who loves her deeply...and they have given me some awesome grandchildren...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our Government at Work

Just have to do this second post...a little bit of a rant...

Yesterday I received a letter from Kaiser Permanente telling me that my monthly premium for my Senior Advantage coverage was increased.

Here's the letter:
Dear Violet E Townsend,
We are writing to tell you that starting January 01, 2014, your new premium will be $___ per month.

This new amount is a change to your current late enrollment penalty amount based on the annual change to the National Base Beneficiary Premium.  Each year the National Base Beneficiary Premium changes, so will the amount of your late enrollment penalty.

If you have questions about the information in this letter, or if you would like more information about how the national base beneficiary premium affects the late enrollment penalty, call Member Service Contact Center at....

So I called the number for the Member Service Contact Center.  The person I spoke to tried to tell me because I was late in enrolling in Medicare I was being assessed a penalty.  I told this person that I signed up for Medicare in May of 2007, two months before I had my 65th birthday.  So then she tells me to call Medicare and gives me the phone number.  Actually the number was included in this letter I received yesterday.

So I call Medicare and here is what I find out...this is priceless...

September 2009 I was dropped by Kaiser's Senior Advantage Plan because I had been late numerous times with my monthly premium.  I re-enrolled in October 2012.  Because I did not use my Part D of Medicare for 3 years, I was assessed a penalty which was included in my monthly payment.  What I didn't realize is that that penalty is ongoing...so for as long as I remain alive I will be assessed this penalty.  I had no coverage for 3 years, bought no prescription drugs during that time...yet am being penalized for not using the coverage...

How insane is that!!  The Part D coverage was ongoing even though I did not use it so am now having to pay for something that was never used by me for that time period...

Okay...that's my rant for today...

Small World

Gerry went to an American Legion meeting last night.  A lady that was there asked if he was from Hawaii.  He was wearing a shirt that had "Aloha ke Akua" on the front of it.  He told her no, that his wife was from Hawai'i.

She wanted to know what island...she is from O'ahu...he said his wife was too.  Then she said she graduated from Kailua High School...he said his wife did too.  She graduated in 1965...I graduated in 1960.

She gave him her contact information.  I don't recognize her maiden name, supposedly she has an older brother.  I emailed her last night, have yet to get a response from her.

I'm excited to talk to her...love finding people from home and who graduated from the same high school.

So we are fellow Surfriders...what could be better than that...small world...yeah...

Update:

Spoke with Faynette today.  We have so much in common.  We lived around the corner from each other when we lived in Kailua.  She was neighbors to a couple of families that I babysat for.  There are 2 sisters that live in our mobile home park that are both Kailua High graduates...she is sure she knows the younger of the two.

I went to the Ulta store in Citrus Heights this morning and took some of the residential streets to get home.  I was in the neighborhood where she and her husband live.  She wants me to go to the next American Legion meeting with Gerry (if he goes) so we can hang out and "talk story".

Enjoyed our telephone conversation so much!  Looking forward to meeting her in person.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

PGR Mission Today in Truckee

Gerry and I continue to participate in PGR missions.  There was one today in Truckee for a sailor.  He was killed in a helicopter accident in Virginia a week or so ago and his service was today.

We got up early, leaving Sacramento about 7:20am to drive to Truckee.  It was a beautiful drive, although very cold.  The outside temperature was in the 30's as we got to Donner Summit at 7,000 plus feet and in the high 20's when we got to Truckee.  We were meeting some other PGR members to set up American flags at the high school where his service was being held.

First, we had some breakfast.  The 3 guys we met had hearty breakfasts.  Gerry and I had eaten breakfast so we had something light.  Arriving back at the high school, we met up with our contact person and then started setting up the flags.  A fire department ladder truck was already there and they were in the process of setting up a huge flag.  We set up 5 or 6 large flags facing the street and were going to line the driveway with flags.  Unfortunately, the ground was so hard and rock was being hit about 2 or 3 inches into the dirt.  We went ahead and got all the flags together, about 60 of them.  People were starting to line up along the street.  One of the guys suggested asking the people if anyone was interested in holding a flag.  Everyone that was standing out there walked over to get a flag.  They were lined up on both sides of the street.  It looked so impressive.  I took my tablet with me intending to take some pictures and then didn't do it.  I did take some for Bob with his iPad.  He is the one that does the flagging.

The military honors part of the program was done in the stadium and then the actual service was moved to the gym.  The stadium was packed.  The guys formed a flag line down on the field.  There is something about seeing numerous American flags blowing in the breeze that causes one to get teary eyed.  I always do...at every mission we do.

There is a group called "Westboro Baptist Church" that pickets military funerals, protesting the United States participation in war.  Word was out that a group would be in Truckee to protest this service.  Some did arrive, however they were not able to get to the high school.  Supposedly CHP blocked them at the freeway exit.  Actually the PGR was formed to create a buffer between the protestors and the family of the fallen warrior.  As many PGR that were in attendance today, the protestors would have had a difficult time getting anywhere near the service.

We had quite a bit of help in getting the flags taken down.  I think everyone was tired.  The PGR guys that rode up on their bikes went to the funeral home and was part of the escort to the high school.  There had to be a 100 plus bikes.  That is also an impressive sight.

We were going to go into Old Town Truckee to eat after we were done.  We did drive down, then decided to just get back on the road and head home.  We stopped in Colfax and had some lunch then got home about 4pm.

It was so cold when we first got to Truckee then it warmed up and we were taking jackets off.  The temperature rose rapidly as we came down the mountain and it was pushing 70 degrees by the time we got to Colfax which is about 3000 ft (I think). 

There has been a huge high pressure system sitting over California, giving us cold nights, warm days (in the 70's) and no rain.

It is such a rewarding experience being a part of these missions.  Gerry and I look forward to being a part of them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I Am Still Around...

Hi there,
I haven't posted to my blog since July of last year.  I have had some issues with my desktop computer.  Today my stepson installed a new computer for me.  I am hoping that I will be able to post again without issues.

A lot has happened since I posted last so will try to catch up in the coming days.

It is late so need to call it a day.  There is a lot to learn with the new computer, it has Windows 8 on it so will be spending time figuring out how everything works.

Aloha,
Betty