I guess I need to vent…

…so sorry.  I don’t mean to burden my readers with this.  Dale is tired of hearing it and I don’t like to go to my children because I don’t want to prejudice them about extended family.  They can make their own decisions regarding who they want to let into their lives. 

This is ongoing and so sad for me.  My siblings don’t get along.  I enjoy being with my sisters and my 93 year old mother.  I don’t hold grudges for things in the past, and if I did I would have plenty of reasons to not want to be with my siblings. 

My oldest brother doesn’t understand mother’s disability and chooses to think she is able to remember that she just told us something.  If she was able to remember things like that, she wouldn’t repeat herself.  It really bothers him.  He wants us to make her stop.

The other brothers annoy mom in different ways.  They are sometimes over-bearing and bossy.  She likes to feel like she is the boss in her own home. 

My sisters and I all agree that mom needs lots of help and support.  They can be a little alarmist about some things that happen and that is always hard for me.  I like to put perspective on things that come up and try to see things in a different light.

What I don’t like are the emails that go back and forth.  They are often harsh and sometimes bad language is exchanged.  Mother would not approve. 

We all have the same goal, just different ways of seeing how to get there. 

I hope things are resolved before someone is not here anymore.  I have my doubts, they don’t seem to care much about each other.  As far as I am concerned, I have been hurt so often that I am a little shy to get too involved with the bickering.

Funny Gifts 2010

So I created a new list of Funny Gifts for the Greatest Abersold Family Tradition, to be held Christmas Eve 2010 at Mom and Dad’s house in unincorporated Thurston County, Washington.

I started by taking last year’s list and shifting the list one spot.  I had to do a little shuffling with the list, as my original list had Kurt giving a gift to himself.  I arranged the list so nobody gives a gift to a person they have given a gift to since 2007, the year we revived the tradition.

The list is as follows:

Porter gives to Grandma
Hayden gives to Dale
Kurt gives to Hayden
Mark gives to Porter
Carolyn gives to Grandpa
Leslie gives to Carolyn
Dale gives to Dixon
Dixon gives to Leslie
Grandma gives to Mark
Grandpa gives to Kurt

Didn’t want to create controversy…

…but I have.  Sometimes you feel strongly about something.  You speak your mind and find out someone out there doesn’t agree with you. 

It used to be that you spoke out only to those people around you and then they could disagree or agree with you face to face.  That makes it a little easier to explain yourself further. 

I blogged about my grandson who is strongly affected by playing video games.  I also posted on facebook saying that I hate video games, a very strong word charged with emotion.  I should have said I strongly dislike video games, somehow that just didn’t convey my feelings.  Two of my extended family members disagreed with me.  That’s fine, I just wish I could have explained myself better, but that would take a face to face with questions and explanations. 

The thing that bothers me was the tone that was set.  They obviously use video games for entertainment and were trying to justify that to me.  I’ve already stated that people will believe what they want to believe even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  I believe there is plenty of evidence for me to see that my grandson shouldn’t play video games ever.  If you want to use them, fine, you don’t need to convince me.   Nothing will ever justify the use of video games to me for this child.  This child has behavior problems that worsen when he plays video games.

You don’t have to justify or explain yourself.  I will not think that you are a bad parent/grandparent if you allow your children/grandchildren to play video games. I have never liked video games, much to my children’s dismay.  I always felt like they took time away from other worthwhile pursuits such as reading, playing outside and doing things together as a family.  I am sure that with a few controls such as type of game and amount of time spent that video games will not harm most children.  However that does not hold true with this particular child.  He shouldn’t ever play video games. 

I think when Leslie told me that he was sneaking into a closet with the Nintendo DS and playing it, I realized that this child has an addictive personality and he needs to stay away from anything that has the ability to be addictive.

They may be okay for you and your family, they are not okay for this child.

Read All About It!

My daughter Leslie just called and told me about an experiment that she has conducted.  I am going to start this by saying that results may vary because children vary so much.  If you want to try this your results may not be so dramatic. 

Her number five child has always had some behavior issues that we had not been able to figure out.  For the longest time we thought he had a sensitivity to milk, and he still may have, but she just discovered that playing video or computer games causes Turner to act out in ways that were not acceptable.  He would not want to go out and play, not want to be with people and just be generally miserable.

He had played a lot of video/computer games lately because they have been so busy.  She put a stop to it because school started and things needed to be very regimented at their house (five children in school and music lessons).  It took about two weeks, but she said he is finally starting to act like a normal little boy.  She needs to write in the blog the problems she has been having.  He would find a Nintendo DS and then sneak into a closet to play it.  That sure sounds like addictive behavior to me. 

Now the Wii is put up for the school year and the DS’s are put away.  She has to log-out of the computer every time she uses it so he can’t play any games.  

I am glad I didn’t have to deal with those kinds of things when my children were growing up.  I am not as perceptive about things as Leslie is, I’m sure if we had had those kinds of games I would have let my children play them. 

This is good to know.  Don’t let your children play video/computer games.  Ever!

I am a listener.

Being a reserved person has given me one thing that is often very useful.  I know how to listen to people.  You may think that listening is something that is natural, but I think that talking about yourself is more natural than listening to others. 

I enjoy telling people about myself just as much as the next person.  But I find that it is easier for me to converse with others if I ask them questions about themselves.

This is a great way to get to know people in a place where you don’t know anyone.  Take for instance the cruise we just went on.  We didn’t know anyone on board and yet in a few days we were able to converse with many people that we had met on board.  In fact we made it a point to be seated or to sit by others, we rarely sat by ourselves. 

This was a little hard for me, since it always makes me a bit uncomfortable.  The ice is usually broken by the question “where are you from?”  Since most people on board the ship were from other places. 

Dale often would bring up our recent service as missionaries and a little about what we did on our mission.  Some people would ask questions others didn’t really care.  One lady was surprised that a Mormon could serve in the army.  We like being able to let people know that we are Mormons and we aren’t weird, just different. 

One thing we noticed was how rude the native New Yorkers were when we got off the ship.  I had to crawl right back inside myself until I got home.  It’s a good thing we live here in Washington where people know how to be nice to each other.

Where were you nine years ago today?

I can’t let this day end without reference to a day 9 years ago that is forever in my memory.  I have a few days that I can recall with perfect clarity, the day my dad died in 1960. The day President Kennedy was assassinated.  September 11, 2001. 

We were getting ready to go to Sun Valley Idaho to attend the wedding of a nephew.  Dale called me in and we watched, horrified, as the images of that terrible day were shown on the television.  I watched as the second plane hit the second tower.  I couldn’t speak, it was horrific.

The world has changed, and not for the better.

What retired people do.

We are in a hotel in Newark, New Jersey.  Dale is still asleep, we are, after all just arrived from the Pacific time zone.  Why am I awake?  Because I can never sleep in.  Never?  Apparently not.  I thought last night as I was going to sleep at 12:30 am that I would be able to sleep at least until 7:30 or even 8.  But when I opened my eyes this morning it was 6:00 am.  I would love to be able to sleep in just so I can stay up until 10 pm without feeling groggy.

Retired people are supposed to sleep in.  I can’t ever.  I guess it is a blessing in a way.  When I wake up I am super awake and want to start doing stuff.  Poor Dale would probably like to sleep a bit more.  I try to accommodate him by lying in bed when I wake up at a ridiculous hour, you know those hours before 5 am.  But when it is 6 or 6:30 I need to get up.  I would like to see if I could sleep until 7,  just to see if it is possible.  This trip will be a good time to see if I can do that, just once.

Taking care of mother.

We just got back from a trip to visit family and friends in Utah.  As I am able to visit my mother often I see her getting older and as she does she seems to be loosing more and more of her cognitive abilities.  She doesn’t have Alzheimer’s or dementia, but we have noticed a marked decrease in her short term memory.  That means she doesn’t remember little tasks that we have to think about all day long.  For her it means not remembering if she has taken medication, not remembering how long she has been wearing the clothes she has on, not remembering if she has washed her sheets, or when she last cleaned her house.  I am understanding where a lose of short term memory really is a problem.  Most of her day to day things we have set up so she can be independent.  My sisters bring her food or take her shopping or out to dinner.  My niece cleans her house for her.  She gets lots of calls to check on her, to make sure she is safe or has taken her medications.  When we were there one of my sisters noticed the sweater she was wearing was quite dirty.  So she asked mom if she could wash it.  Then my sister noticed that moms bed linens were not looking that great, so she stripped the bed and we washed it.  Mom looked a little upset until I told her that it wasn’t good for the environment to just wash one thing, and then she was okay.  Her house looked fabulous when I walked in (thanks Courtney), but now we will have to be doing laundry for mom. 

The other thing I saw when I was there was how much she loves her little backyard garden.  She was so pleased that her children had worked on it for her.  Lynne bought a new rose bush and planted it in the corner, she also planted herbs after she had taken out all the matted grass.  I noticed mom had a cut rose in a glass on her table.  That is when I decided that we need to make sure she always has flowers in her garden.  This fall we are planning a trip to visit again.  I am hoping that I can plant some daffodils, tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.  We can change up what is in there according to the season.  I am hoping that she will be able to go out and cut a flower to put in a vase for most of the year. 

My sister told me a story about how irritated my brother is by mother repeating the same five stories over and over again and he wanted my sister to make mom stop.  I was pretty steamed over his attitude.  I guess he has forgotten all the hours that mom listened to his childish conversation.  I wonder if she ever thought to her self, “if he tells me that one more time I am going to scream”.  

Mother took care of us and raised us by herself.  I am happy to be able to help with her care now that she needs me.  I wish I was closer so that I could do more of the day to day things.  I don’t mind that she repeats herself.  I try and steer the conversation so that we can talk about her childhood and I have heard some wonderful stories about her growing up years.  She repeats those as well, but that way I won’t forget them.  It is as if she is telling me what is most important to her.  I suppose I should write them down.

A quarter of a century

That’s how long we’ve lived in this house.  We moved here this month 25 years ago.  I am a little surprised that a military/gypsy family like us has lived in one house for so long.  I need to clarify.  We haven’t lived in the house that long.  We were gone for three years while we lived in Berlin from 1989 to 1992.  Dale retired from the army in September of 1992 and we have been here ever since.  We also spent 18 months in Germany on a mission, but we still considered ourselves residents of Lacey Washington. 

We thought it was just about time to paint the inside.  Yep, first time, from top to bottom.  Last summer we had the extreme fun of removing the popcorn ceilings and then having the ceiling retextured.  We also took out the wood burning fireplace and replaced the brick surround with wallboard.  Dale has been working on the outside front of the house taking off the old sealant and resealing the cedar lap boards.  It looks great by the way.  The outside back deck balusters and railings were being worked on when we decided to paint the downstairs and re carpet before Kurt moves in at the end of the month.  It will be a race to see if we can get it done.  The carpet guy is coming on Tuesday to measure and give us an estimate.

I can’t believe it has been a quarter of a century since we moved in.  I think it is just about time we painted.  Hopefully we won’t have to do this again for another quarter of a century.