The Past Five Years
(Hobbies/Interests, Activities, Special Accomplishments, Family)
Submitted in 2014
I’m sure we’re all asking ourselves—where did the time go? I begin with a theme I’ve followed and that is at our age we must live our passions and mine have been to learn as much as I can in order to help others. My colleagues always told me I had a gift of seeing into systems, people, events in a visionary way i.e. I could be 100% accurate in determining factors influencing various paradigms as well as interpersonal relationships—Rod taught me a lot about relationships. I look at wealth in a different way than some, I measure it by the number of lives I’ve touched in a positive way and the energy I’ve spent helping those much less fortunate—material wealth has just come my way. My ‘material’ blessings are many-- from a rare woolen Arabic hedja/dress costing thousand (a gift from the son of the 2nd. wealthiest oil man in Saudi Arabia-- to numerous artworks including an ornately hand-painted 5’ fan from Vietnam. My relationship blessings are too numerous to mention as my kids and husband are absolutely awesome!! These ‘material’ gifts are all thank you gifts for having given these students hope. They decorate our home and remind me of all the world’s cultures.
Rod and I have had a marriage of no regrets (he’s the sexiest, most intelligent and smartest (there’s a difference between intelligent and smart) open-minded person I’ve ever met!), and our chosen obligation to care for each other extends into our death—50 years in 2018! We’ve had our health issues as many our age do, but we’ve faced them with reality and good judgment. I’m still pharmaceutically free as prevention has always been my goal in health. I do resistance/strength exercising (monitored by my physical therapist) and walking and gardening frequently—my gardening turned into a small business as I have literally hundreds of varieties of Dahlias, Calla Lilies, and Tulips throughout the year along with my ornamental grasses and other seasonal flowers. My bouquets are gorgeous and my organic vegetables are happy. I’ve been marketing with a few other small farmers like myself, and we help one another in marketing. My newest group affiliation is with women in my area who formed a garden club. I hope to add a few consignments of flower stock to a few local flower gardeners who market their flowers directly to wedding businesses next year and/or delivery service to local restaurants. Our gardens are a neighborhood model for organic gardeners and landscapers having added great value to our country property that overlooks the Willamette Valley in its panoramic views. Rod has his art classes and gem faceting classes. We both love retirement, though I kept my position 3 Saturdays a month as I so enjoy being with younger teachers new to the field of University/College teaching—and, of course—the international young adults I test. In U.S. economy, we feel fortunate that we can remain retired. Having lived in Oregon (God’s country) for over 40yrs. and remaining both mentally and physically healthier because of it, we will die in Oregon.
My passion to help others less fortunate extended into utilizing Facebook platform to inform others as news in U.S. is no longer factual nor balanced as a result of 1997 FCC ruling allowing sensationalism ‘news’ (like soap box operas)lies and distortions of all kinds. So I use Facebook to inform and insert my opinions which I could never do as a teacher/professor. At first, I was completely ostracized and shunned, and some were so nasty I had to defriend them—one had terrible porn on website. In summary, I taught many to face their fears with strong conviction and appropriate factual resources. My apologies to some of you who took my generalized postings personally—I’m an amateur social anthropologist describing the U.S. socio-political climate so use my Facebook postings to over 1300 Facebook friends (still adding when I can find time to do so) as a teaching platform while advocating for others and the list of those requesting my fb friendship is too long to mention. I don’t have time for Farmville and other Facebook activities. I discovered in discussions on Facebook, that many Americans do not understand how government works and can work for you. I also saw that there are far too many people reading/comprehending English literally i.e. taking one’s reply or written post literally, failing to understand the full message. It takes critical thinking for the brain to discern when to think holistically and when to think literally—all brain science of which I’m very knowledgeable about. When the listener fails to ask the author’s intent, it sometimes signals a mental health issue. I also marched in the historic Occupy Movement. This movement has become mainstream as more Americans become aware of cultural factors causing failure in our economy resulting in our infrastructures receiving D’s by professional scientists and investigators from around the world i.e. roads, electrical grid, investitures in clean energy—all infrastructures whereby the U.S is failing and now becoming a third world nation in most measurements. When I first began Facebook postings, I was amazed to find Americans around the world thought so differently from Americans living here re. U.S. socio-political climate so few in U.S. agreed. But now, MOST Americans agree with my postings, so CHANGE IS HAPPENING right before our eyes.
We ‘oldies but goodies’ have witnessed many changes in our lifetimes; amongst them is the computer that links all of us together. Even in Costa Rica, the rural hotels/motels/resorts had free Wi-Fi—(hint) don’t SKYPE someone when you’re tired as you’ll look like something from the ‘living dead’! Rod and I have a few properties in Canada that we visit yearly—used to be more often. So being aware of other cultures and interacting with the peoples in their cultures vs. interacting with American tourists has always been my goal in all travel. Such interactions allow one to see how much we have in common with others, and I do compare all cultural aspects from one nation to another. One facebook friend stated that not only was I highly informative and intelligent, but also funny. I guess that is what led to my requested donation of writings (at the request of the non-profit)to a few non-profit socio-political organizations in U.S. one of which has over 7 million members now and it’s not a religious non-profit.
I stay really busy with my Bible Study classes taught by my retired senior Lutheran Pastor Wilder who was a former National President of Evangelical Churches (or ministry— I forgot the complete name of the organization)and lunch with friends weekly. I also volunteer our Golden Retriever at my Mother’s care center as he was trained and I did further training with him to visit the elderly in need of comfort—he’s a therapy dog. My Shepherd is my service dog and is highly trained not to bite, but to viciously hold someone in place until police get there to apprehend—I’ve had a few slightly scary incidences whereby I was glad to have her with me. I’m on my local parks/rec board and do fundraising for our dog park for which my dogs love going to—like kids going to Disneyland. I volunteer at my county’s elections working alongside seniors from all the major parties in Oregon. I also began an every-other-month tea group whereby we retired ladies frequent Portland’s numerous teahouses. Last year on my birthday, my friend Margie gave me my ‘official’ Queen of the Tea Party crown and all 20 of us celebrated our teahouse experiences as we celebrated my birthday and the birthday of a lifelong friend of mine. My submitted picture is of our latest tea party which took place at Portland’s Tea Zone—voted the 2nd. best 2012 teahouse in Portland and there are over 72 teahouses in Oregon so competition was strong. We actually made it into Portland that day even though the icy roads kept some of our other friends home. The group depicted here are my friends of some 40 years and still going! In February we will celebrate Valentine Day on Feb. 8th. and donate our monies to a non-profit that educates and houses severely emotionally disturbed kids—we all like donating to charities in the U.S. and even more so—locally.
A huge part of Rod’s and my life together has been my family of origin and of course, our now adult children. I do most of the caring for my mother who is now in a care center. My sister Tina is 4hrs. away and sister Kendra is a teacher working 24/7 as most teachers must do these days, so I keep busy in her life too. My Mother has several properties which must be managed and cared for, so I’m becoming more of a property manager and transporting her wherever she needs to go as she remains the landlord. I feel very lucky too in that my adult children are so highly successful in their chosen professional careers. My daughter Tessa and her husband are very wealthy by U.S. standards. Vanessa has her own very lucrative business and Geoff is regional manager of a top prescriptive natural remedies pharmaceutical corporation in America. They travel together often, having close friends in Europe. They keep busy, but have a strong marriage and many friends. They too are dedicated to helping others less fortunate. They entertain frequently for local charities and are always involved in fundraising that helps those who are less fortunate. Tessa’s new dressage horse is already a regional champion and he’s gorgeous. I look forward to her showing him in ‘horse ballet’ at regionals next summer. Women equestrians are truly are a ‘breed all their own’—very independent and strong minded, kind and considerate of others and highly competitive. These are my daughter’s ‘hallmarks’ for sure, as she also heads the Board of Trustees for her local college supporting students and faculty with her grants she writes, and was chosen to be one of a small group of Ford Foundation sponsored Oregon leaders.
My son is still saving for marriage which will occur this coming summer or early Fall, and his fiancé is now back in school fulltime becoming a dental hygienist. She graduated as a Dental assistant and wanted to go into nursing, but discovered she liked dentistry so is now pursuing that goal. My family looks forward to their wedding. For a gal raised by a single mother living on the streets—she’s a real success and is very spiritually blessed. My son is a Civil Engineer and his design and management plans are recognized at federal levels. Our family is closely knit and we gather together often—luckily we’re all within driving distances.
In reviewing my life (and the last 5 years of it)—I have no regrets! I have blessed memories of all. In closing I’m quoting a famous American of yesteryear: “So we've won. At least for now. But we have to remain vigilant, always prepared to do it all over again. As anti-slavery leader Wendell Phillips said 160 years ago, the eternal role of active citizens is "unintermitted Agitation." This directly applies to the 98% of the world’s peoples oppressed by inequality of wealth.