So many choices, so little time

My parents were very diligent and took great care with photographs. Essentially their photographic life started for them after WWII. At first they used corners on each picture, and my Dad carefully lettered the page. Later they moved on to using self sticking albums. Later still, they added slides, a case, a projector (built like a truck), and screen. Again each is labeled. They treasured these memories. Once when the family was living overseas in Karachi, Pakistan and the idea that we might have to be evacuated arrangements were made to keep the albums safe.

All of this is now at my house. And I need to think about what to do with this history.  In truth, I favor looking at the older family photos. Starting to piece together my parents life in Europe before 1945. I found some documents with photographs on their ghetto cards. These ID cards were required by the Germans. The scanned images are poor, but with a bit of work I can see my mother around the age of 14 years. I need to get in touch and see if I can get a better scan. When I started my family genealogy in the 1980’s I uncovered a family photograph from my father’s side taken when a family member visited. As often the case after a visit a photo is placed in an album and the others in the photograph never sees the image. Luckily, in talking to this cousin my father was able to see the last photo of his mother and family before the Shoah.

My parents documented their extensive travels. These beautiful landscapes hold less interest for me. Maybe I should catch the travel bug while I still can travel. When the family scatters, group photos only happened at times of celebration. A few weeks ago my family gathered to celebrate a wedding. So nice when the occasion is such a happy one. My brother’s marriage now extends my family into Argentina. The last time I studied Spanish was in 9th grade (some 55 years ago). I wasn’t any good at it, and rolling those R’s near impossible.  I am trying out Duolingo and Babbel. But if I am serious I will check out some of the other online learning programs. So far in Duolingo I can only drink aqua or leche. I can eat una manzana or él pan. Just  figured out how to put in accent marks on my iMac. But probably there are more interesting things to eat. Don’t want to live on bread and water! Has anyone had a good experience with a language program for conversational Spanish?

Am I spreading myself out too thin? Sometimes I feel like I should just stick with one thing, but then I get pulled in another direction. You can probably tell from the way this post is flying all over the place. Maybe I need to figure out just what I want from my life. I just retired from babysitting my grandkids. Another story for another day. Not good.   Photography connects many of my directions. Learning, travel, connecting, collecting memories, and family genealogy. This I share in my blog. I sometimes share on my Flickr site, but Facebook needs my attention if I want to connect with my local peeps.  I will try and wean myself off of following FB and use my time differently. Continuing to search my genealogy ties draws me into the Holocaust and my Second Gen family friends. Such a great group of friends. I just want to find out my parents, and grandparents’ story. Now I’m thinking of Spanish? Will I ever travel again? Then I need time to do my yoga stretches and my therapy exercises to get rid of my plantar fasciitis.  I need to kick up my activity level just to stay in shape. Libby has been getting the short end of the stick since my plantar fasciitis kicked in. No daily walks, just play time in the backyard.

Ok I’m a bit panicked. I have spent the better part of this month reorganizing my photo collection in Lightroom CC. Thought I knew what I was doing, but somehow keywords for 6000 images were deleted. Finally got it back, backed up the photos, and the catalog, and right now my images are not synched with my catalog. I know this is more tech info than most want to know, but I wanted to add images to this post, and I can’t. Time to walk away from the computer and hope that the backup problem resolves soon. 15 more minutes to complete second backup. Technology is great when it works! Sorry no images today. Got to figure out Lightroom synch.

It all takes time. I just hope I can figure out what I want to accomplish and have time to do just that! That’s all I can ask of myself.

There is always something…

Recently I watched a You Tube of SNL Weekend Update with Gilda Radner. It ended with the remark, “There is always something.” Oh is that true.

My plan was to move, get unpacked and invite friends and neighbors over. Moved on Halloween, and unpacked. Thanksgiving came and we celebrated with some family. A couple of days later I witnessed the birth of my newest grandson Wyatt. Holidays arrive with the usual compliment of busy merriment, but with an added wrinkle. A stabbing pain sends me to the doctor where I learn I have a kidney stone. Pain occurs when stone is moving, so my pain comes and goes. Procedure to blast stone does little, and the urologist surgically removes the culprit on Valentines Day. After 6 weeks I am kidney stone free, and test look good. Just need to be sure to keep up my fluid consumption and watch my diet for sodium and oxalates. Never even heard of oxalates before.

Kidney stone episode fades and up pops another pain. This time plantar fasciitis. Now I am sporting a boot. All kinds of advise comes my way. Ice, tape foot, drink sour cherry juice, freeze a water bottle and roll foot. Trying it all. Still need to research sour cherry juice, though.

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Libby and I outside a coffee shop

I feel bad that my Libby hasn’t taken any walks for the last week. So for a change of scenery we enjoy the good weather and relax outside.

Trying to put my new camera to use. I’m learning about the features while sitting outside with my cold drink.  I will be writing about my latest in an upcoming post.

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I hope their selfie caught the newest slogan. Made my photo more interesting.

My mother always believed that it was better to stay away from doctor’s offices whenever possible. Ready to start taking this advice Mom!

Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

Decisions

It’s time to find my own way in the world. The past few weeks have past quickly, and I feel driven to make some important decisions.  Time to face the fact that life has an end, and I need to make the most of my time.

My garage filled with my parents belongings. It was hard to leave the house and pass by the totality of their possessions. My need for order sent me into a frenzy of organizing. The large items such as the huge California king bed, frame and damaged furniture went curbside for trash removal. Usable furniture found new homes with some new refugees. Since my parents entered this country as refugees with empty paper suitcases this felt like a good call. Some items I brought into my home as my mother would want.  My bedroom has three lamps brought over by my Great Aunt Shoshana from Shanghai after World War II. I have seen them in my mother’s room my entire life. They now sport new lampshades, and I enjoy seeing them on my nightstand.

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I saved some items of clothing from my father and mother. Vitas, the hospice organization that helped my mother in the last week, sent me a note that volunteers can create a memory bear out of these materials.  I finally gathered the items, wrote a bit about why the items were chosen, and I will ask for 3 bears (one for me, my daughter, and granddaughter) be created uniting clothing from both my parents in one bear each.

Getting my garage cleaned out is almost done. I have been thinking of getting a new car, and I want to be able to park inside. After 8 weeks I finally can park my car in the garage. Yeah!  Kind of narrowed it down to 3 choices.  I am looking for a SUV. Toyota Highlander, Subaru Forester or Subaru Outback. But I need to test drive them to see how I like the feel. Think I will be checking cars out this week. Been looking at all kind of cars in the parking lots. And silly as this sounds, color has importance in my decision also. Maybe I should get a hybrid. You never know about the price of gas. Probably will make this decision this week.

My parent’s passing has also brought new factors into play.  I have lived in my house for 31 years. There was no way I could think of moving away from this area after I brought my parents to Sacramento 9 years ago. Now we should decide if we want to remain here in Sacramento, or leave the city, state, or country.

At the end of 2016 I was planning on remodeling inside and out. Now before I take on expense and aggravation we should decide where we want to live. After some thought and dreaming we ruled out moving to the Bay Area.That would be bucking the trend: moving from more expensive to a lower cost of living. Wanting to find a place on a single level I checked out a Del Web retirement community. I saw some nice 2 bedroom layouts with about the same square footage, and a small landscaped yard. Plenty of activities to do, and a monthly fee for participation. This also didn’t quite seem right. Too much like following my parents path. They sold their houses and moved to Del Web in Sun City West, Arizona. For me this would not be as drastic since Roseville is only 20 minutes from my home. But one reason my Mom moved was to get my Dad involved with activities. This doesn’t work.  And do I want to live in a retirement community for “active seniors”? It isn’t completely off the table, but it may be near the edge.   There is the condo route, and there are only a few that meets my single story garden cottage feel that I am looking for. Increase in property taxes, and high HOA fees are a negative. Staying where I am, and paying for a landscaped yard, doing all remodeling and hiring a gardener and an occasional house cleaner will probably be cheaper. That is as long as we stay in California. I ruled out Florida as a permanent house change.  Maybe a short term rental would work. I wouldn’t want to worry about a property on the other side of the country. I decided that I didn’t need to make a decision this quickly anyway.

Vacation plans have us stumped.  I need to apply for passports just to be ready to travel. Probably start with a trip to the coast, or Lake Tahoe.  A new car will get us on the road. Maybe Libby will join us, or go visit her dog hotel. Many of my friends have taken some fun sounding trips. Any suggestions for a photo loving, laid back trip.

Have you found yourself in this position with many decisions to make, and also have the freedom to make them?  How does this make you feel? I move from excited to stressed. Procrastination in not the path I plan to take. Now I need to relax and enjoy the change.