Sunday, March 29, 2009

100-Yr.-Old Woman Crossing Guard--Amazing!

I read a delightful story in the PLAIN DEALER Thursday morning, March 26, 2009, about Anna Lark, a 100-yr-old woman, who works as a Cleveland school crossing guard every day! She said she didn’t want to just sit at home doing nothing and this gives her a reason to get out of the house. I think this is great! It’s amazing to me how she is able to stick on a schedule still and hold a regular job like this. Oh, and she walks a couple blocks to get there, even in the winter! Cleveland winters are cold, snowy and icy! I can picture myself helping at an animal shelter or the zoo when I retire. I just hope I am in good enough health by then to be able to do it. This is the kind of news I like hearing and reading!

I thought about how my dad was at age 89. There was no way he could have worked a regular job like this lady did at that age. For one, his legs were so bad that he wouldn’t be able to walk without a walker (because of the diabetes). I can’t picture a city hiring a school crossing guard that used a walker. Then there would be the sleeping problem—he used to fall asleep during the day and wouldn’t wake up for hours! When he was taking Toprol, he could even be in the middle of doing something and just fall asleep. He would doze off while reading the comics, cleaning the litter box, and even fell asleep while shaving in his chair one day! An alarm clock wouldn’t help keep him on schedule because he was so hard of hearing that he wouldn’t hear it! He was very happy to stay at home and always said he was never bored because there was always something to do! He never regretted taking early retirement at age 62 and I intend to do the same. Hopefully, it will work out.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thanks For Taking Me Down Memory Lane by Bradford P. Miller

Here is another review of "My Funny Dad, Harry" I received from Bradford P. Miller, author of Lessons From Rocky posted here with his permission.

My parents have both passed away, my father from Lou Gerhigs Disease. Reading Karen's experiences takes me back to the joys and struggles we experienced as my father's health declined. I strongly recommend Karen's Book to anyone going through the process of caring for a parent. It's a challenge for which we all need support.

--Bradford P. Miller, Author, "Lessons From Rocky"

(By the way, if you like dogs, you may want to read his book about lessons he learned from his dog.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Please Vote For This Blog

I was so excited and happy when I checked my emails Sunday morning and found that Justin Germino (Dragon Blogger) nominated this blog about my dad, for the Best Diarist Blog at Blognet Awards. Justin Germino is the blog where I first found out about that site and who won the February 2009 Blognet Award so I am very honored that he nominated this blog. This is the site where I won $150 just for leaving a comment! It's really worth spending some time there!

He made a video which even explains how to vote that is on the home page of You have to register and then you can rate and comment on as many blogs as you wish as often as you wish. Each month prizes are awarded (some cash, some Entrecards) to those who participate. You can also nominate blogs that you like. There is a short review of my blog and 10 stars under it where you vote (10 being the best ever).

Click here to go vote for my blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Year Blog Anniversary--I Made It!

Time flies when you’re having fun! I started this blog on March 1, 2008 in an effort to promote my book and didn’t know if I’d have enough material to keep it going for a year or not, but it looks like I have. I’ve also sold some books through this blog which I am excited and happy about. I have “met” some very nice people through their kind, reassuring, comforting and humorous comments which has been very encouraging to me. I don’t remember how I came across blogger, but am certainly glad I did. It is so easy to use and this blog has a PR3 rating (don’t know why or how).

I love continuing to write about my dad this way and have thought of some more things that I wish I had included in the book, but I wanted it to be a short, quick, easy read that people would enjoy and not get bogged down by. I was also trying to get it published within the year so was eager, maybe a bit too eager in hindsight, to get it done. I’m not a plodder yet, although my dad certainly was. I expect one day, I will be too but I’m not there yet!

I try to post something new each week and so far I’ve been able to do that and will try to continue that practice. Time will tell. Thanks for visiting. There’s sure a lot here to catch up on if you’ve just recently discovered this blog.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Do I Look Like A Bum?

As my dad got arthritis in his fingers in his old age, it became harder and harder for him to button shirts and unzip zippers. I used to tell him to just leave his shirts buttoned except for the top couple and pull them over his head like I do (it saves time). He wouldn't hear of it. He had to have his shirts buttoned all the way to his neck. He always had to have long sleeved shirts--even in the summer, so t-shirts were out. I did find some shirts that zippers instead of buttons which were easier for him to use because he just hung a paper clip on to the zipper pull thing to make it easy for him to grab.

Thursday morning on the bus when my zipper puller broke off of my favorite L.L. Bean winter parka, I immediately hung a paper clip on the little piece that was left as soon as I got to my desk at work. I used to encourage my dad to get new clothes because he'd wear things so long, that they were torn and worn out. Sometimes I would tell him he needed a new jacket because he looks like a bum. I have to admit, my L.L. Bean parka is on it's last legs. I look at it and think of dad because it is definitely worn out. The down feathers fly out threw the tears in it. My tousle cap that I keep in one of the outside pockets is peeking through a hole in the bottom of the pocket. There are rips all up and down the sleeves.

I did tell my husband two Christmases ago that he could get me a new L.L. Bean winter coat. He got me a short jacket, which is good, but not warm enough for our really cold winter days. Gerard also bought me a very nice looking leopard coat and I also have a nice furry coat I bought for myself for Sundays a very long time ago. The leopard one has hooks that pop open sometimes and does not close all the way up to my neck. Plus, it only has two slit pockets in the side. It's fine for Sundays, but not for waiting for buses every day. The furry one I bought is also just for Sundays and also has only two pockets. It does zip up all the way to my chin but isn't as warm as my L.L. Bean parka.

Why do I hang on to this coat? Because it's warm, comfortable, has the hood, has lots of pockets which I like: 1 on the inside, four slit pockets on the outside, two of which zip, and two big upright pockets that have flaps which button. That is a total of 7 pockets!!!! I love it this coat!!!! So far, I haven't seen one like it and until I do, I'm sticking with it. Even when I do replace my favorite L.L. Bean coat, I'll keep this one for my cats to curl up in. At least they could still get some use out of it. It was worth every cent!

UPDATED 10/4/09: The day has come. It now belongs to my cats. Check out their post about it on their blog here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Harry's Most Fun Project--The AWANA Grand Prix

Every winter I think about the fun we had with our AWANA Grand Prix race and how dad would help kids with their cars and help me by setting up the track he made and weighing the cars before the race. It's similar to the races the Boy Scouts and Boys Brigade had. He would bring along his little tool box with oil for anyone who forgot to oil their wheels and bought a special scale just for the race. (The scale was stolen when I was having my estate sale.)

Harry Built The AWANA Track
My dad loved helping with it and really, he was the one who made it so good. First off, he spent hours in the garage and the basement building a track for us to use. (I donated it to a campground after we stopped our AWANA program.) He followed the instructions AWANA made available to those who wanted to build their own track. He also made the light gadget at the finish line so that it was easy to see which car came in first. When the first car hit the finish line, the light above that track would go on and all the rest would be blocked. This greatly helped because the first year, we had to have flaggers who tried to judge which car was first. There were a lot of ties called because you just couldn't tell and we wanted to be fair about it. Even with the lights, if it was a tie, then two would go on.

Maintaining The AWANA Track
Even after the track was built, he would spend hours testing it to make sure all the lanes were the same and all the lights worked properly. He would use the cars he had made for my mom and me to have "trial runs," switching them around on different tracks to make sure the same car won no matter which track it was on. If it didn't he would fix it. (I don't know how he did that part.) He had a great sense of fairness and was willing to help anyone. (I was thrilled to find these cars in my dad's basement when I was clearing out the house.)

Providing Assistance In Making The Race Cars
Again, Harry showed his sense of fair play realizing all kids didn't have parents who knew how do make a car or who had the right tools to use. Some kids didn't even have anyone who wanted to help them so he included a little note in each kit offering his assistance with his phone number and address. Parents would arrange a time to have the kid bring the car over for him to cut out the way they wanted it. The rules said the car had to be designed by the clubber, but they could have adult help with cutting it out and putting it together. He would ask the kid if he/she wanted any weights in it and would put them in too according to how heavy the clubber wanted it to be.

The Race Board
Harry never did anything halfway. It may take him what seemed like forever to do a job, but when it was done, it was right and it was great! He took pride in his work and often would spend days and days just thinking about how best to do something before he would start. Once the track was finished, he went a step further and made a "Race Board" to hang the names of the ones in each race so people could see who will be racing against whom. Then as I sold the car kits and got a list of the numbers, Harry spent hours printing the name and car number on the pieces of cardboard to hang on the race board. It was very helpful in keeping everyone aware of how far along we were and whose turn it was next. We let the clubbers each come up and set their car on the track themselves. It was just a great way so everyone could see who was racing and who belonged to which car.

The "Hermit" Socializes!

"Socializing" was not in my dad's vocabulary. He liked working around the house, in the garage or planning his next project. That's why his involvement in the AWANA Grand Prix was so amazing to both my mom and me. He thrived in helping me run this event and seeing all the cars the clubbers brought in eager to race. After the cars were displayed on the table, he took pictures of ALL of them. Pictured here are just a few. Dad was in his late 70s and early 80s during this time. Such an amazing, wonderful human being!

AWANA CLUBS (AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed which comes from II Timothy 2:15)

If your Bible believing church is looking for an outreach ministry to families, I highly recommend AWANA. You can visit their web site for more information about the International ministry whose goal is to reach boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him or find a club in your area at

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.