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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Saying Final Goodbyes

Saying final goodbyes...so hard to do...especially when it is a loved one  There have been 3 deaths in the last few weeks...2 family members and a high school classmate.

The first part of June, our daughter-in-law died unexpectantly.  Our son woke up on a Sunday morning, walked out to the kitchen and found her sitting at the kitchen table.  He tried to wake her and couldn't so went to get his daughter.  She was gone...the coronor was called, the fire department and police arrived.  Gerry got a call from son and he rushed out of the house to go to Roseville.  Our oldest daughter came over and gave me a ride to Roseville.  The family had a graveside service for her then friends and family were invited here to the clubhouse at the mobile home park where we live for a potluck.  What a difficult time that was, preparing for her service, saying our final goodbyes.  I don't know if our son has received the final autopsy report...those take a while to prepare.

This morning I received a phone call from a niece telling me that one of my older sisters passed away yesterday.  A while ago, she had been diagnosed with having pancreatic cancer.  This is a fast moving cancer and she wasn't given much time to live...hospice had been contacted.  Although it was expected, hearing that it had happened was shocking to say the least.  I had not seen this sister in a lot of years and had lost touch with her.  My younger sister stayed in touch with her and in fact the two of them were very close.  That sister took the news very hard.  My heart ached for her.

Then one day last week I received an email from a former classmate...another of our classmates had passed away.  What was so sad about this passing, it was someone that I had hung around with in junior high and high school.  She had been a close friend...of course contact had been lost after graduation.

Hearing the news of my sister passing away was a little strange to me...I was taking my morning shower when my niece called.  She left a message and I called her back.  I had been thinking about my siblings while in the shower...thinking of each one in order of age and where they all were...I later wondered if God was preparing me to receive the news.  I thought to myself I should call my younger sister and tell her what I had been thinking about...

Thankfully there are memories of each of these...those memories should hopefully help to make the sorrow I feel bearable...

We have no idea how much time we have on this earth...it is important to make each moment count with those that are dearest to us.

Sybil, Vi and Pat...you are free of pain now...your memory will live on with those of us who will always cherish the time we were able to spend with you...and will be missed so very much!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Busy Sewing

These are pillowcases that I made for our bed.  This fabric was in a box in my closet, have no idea when I purchased it or what I purchased it for.  They are really easy to make.  Made another set, forgot to take a picture of it.
I purchased a yard of this upholstry fabric (barkcloth) from my friend, Barb Sasaki, Sasaki Bags of Kailua-Kona, HI.   I have always loved this pattern.  I made a tote bag for my neighbor, Sally, and then made one for myself this afternoon.  The background is black with red hibiscus and bird of paradise.  The colors are gorgeous!! 

This is the other side of the bag.  I have some fabric left over, enough to probably make a couple of zippered pouches...Want one?  Let me know.
Last summer I started a quilt top, my first one...ever...had to put it aside because of my cataracts and not being able to see.  A few weeks ago, I finally got the rows sewn together...last week I purchased everything else I needed to finish the quilt.  I got the borders sewn on earlier this week and now need to put the sandwich together to finish it...I'm avoiding that part...once I got the borders on, it changed the whole look of the top.  I have it hanging in the doorway of the closet in my craft room.  Didn't want it to get wrinkled and have to press again.
Here's a close-up.

I sold 4 tote bags, the 3 that were listed in the previous post plus one like mine that I just made.  Sally, my neighbor, bought 2 of them and Didi, my Hawaii friend Jalna's sister, bought two.  I have squares put together to make 2 more...will get around to those in the next couple of weeks.

I've also made some flag bags for 3 of the PGR guys...those were simple to make.  I am enjoying so much being able to sew again.  Card making has kind of gone by the wayside...lol!

Saw the optometrist yesterday at Kaiser and got my new glasses ordered.  I need glasses to read and do close up stuff...should have those in a couple of weeks or so.  Otherwise my vision is excellent...was able to read the 20/20 line without any problem...my eyes have healed very well from the surgeries...still have to use the drops for the glaucoma...the pressure reading yesterday was very good...will get that checked again in October.