Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Little Tribute to Rose Estelle Hancock Gamble

My mom's friend, Rose Gamble, passed away last Tuesday, January 17, 2012. When I got home from work yesterday, my mom told me that she had a call from her friend, Gaylene, with the news and letting her know that there would be a viewing and funeral for Rose in Glendale, CA. The viewing was scheduled for today and the funeral mass and burial service will be tomorrow.

My mom was clearly upset and wanted to attend the funeral. I told her that we couldn't go to the funeral because she has dental surgery scheduled for Thursday, but we could certainly attend the viewing. When I got home from work today, mom and I went to the viewing (or visitation). It was at the very massive and very beautiful Forest Lawn in Glendale. I can say that Forest Lawn is probably the most difficult cemetery I have ever attempted to navigate. Their maps are dreadful and the directions are lacking. I've attempted many times to fulfill photo requests there, knowing where the graves where located, but the maps are not user friendly. Even had to enlist help from grounds keepers and my success rate was only ever 50%. Luckily, today's viewing was in the main building at the entrance to the grounds, which I found out only after arriving there.

I really had no idea where on the vast grounds the viewing was being held and when we arrived, the information guard shack was vacant! There was a sign posted directing questions to the Mortuary Office, yet I couldn't find any sign of that office. The only signs posted were for the various churches and chapels on the grounds. Anyway, after driving around, I finally found some employees at the Human Resources office that told me where the Mortuary Office was.

We found the viewing and as my mom and I approached the room, a lovely young woman saw us and immediately called my mom by name. It was Rose's granddaughter. She was so kind and so very charming. I can't even say enough good things about her! She remembered meeting my mom when she had stayed with Rose after she fell and injured her hip (like my mom had a few months prior). My mom and Rose met in the senior apartment complex they lived in and they had many things in common. As lovely young women in the 1940s, both girls enlisted in the armed forces during WWII to serve their countries (Rose in the US and my mom in Canada). Both girls were very proud of their service and very supportive of the troops and the veterans (especially female vets). Both girls were honorably discharged from their service and went on to be contributing and productive members of society and both ended up in Los Angeles to raise their families, and met spending their golden years in the high desert of California.

As it turned out, Rose had raised her family in the same city my mom and I now live and will be buried in our city cemetery next to her late husband. It was very nice to meet her children and grandchildren and the family friends that were at the viewing today. It was an open casket viewing, and Rose looked incredibly beautiful. Her hair and make up were perfect and she was in her uniform! On her lapel, was a badge with the picture below of her. You know, nearly 70 years and three children later, Rose could still fit into that uniform! Not to mention it was still in great shape. I was surprised though that it was a light brown or dark tan in color. As I only really see black and white photos of that era, I just assumed the uniform would be green.

You didn't have know her well or know her for a long period of time for her to leave an impression on you. She had something about her that made you remember her after your first meeting! She was a wonderful lady and may she now be in peace and free of any pain that her final days may have brought upon her.


ROSE (ROSIE) ESTELLE GAMBLE Rose Estelle Gamble, 92, was born on July 25th, 1919 in Savannah GA and passed away in Victorville, CA on January 17th 2012. Rosie enlisted in the Women's Army Air Corp (WACC) in 1943 as a medical dental technician during World War II. She was honorably discharged as a Tech Sgt. in 1945. She was proud to be a part of the armed services and supported the troops throughout her life. She traveled to Washington D.C. when they had the dedication of the memorial wall for the Women Veterans of America. She married Bernard (Buss) A. Gamble in 1945 and settled in Los Angeles to raise her family. She was preceded in death by her husband Buss in 1990. She is survived by brother John; daughters Carol, grandchildren Charlotte, Lorraine, Edward; Susan, granddaughter Rhonda; her son Thomas, grand-children Carly and Scott and 6 great grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held at St.Bernard's Church, 2500 West Ave, 33, Los Angeles, CA on January 26th, 2012 at 11:00AM, with burial following at Forest Lawn, Glendale CA. In lieu of flowers, make donations to American Women Ventrans Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave., North West Ste. 200, Washington D.C., 20036 (

Published in the Daily Press on January 24, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Frustration with The HIPAA Law

How can I equally respect and hate the HIPAA law? Right now, I hate it more than respect it, but I do appreciate the law in the big picture. I can tell you that I had to jump through hoops to get my own grandmother's records (as limited as they were) and now I've been trying to get insight on her paternal aunt who also died in the same facility that my grandmother died in. Considering that the law deals with privacy and insurance, I'm thinking that the people I'm interested in, didn't have insurance during the time they were "incarcerated".

I just want to know what happened and how she ended up there, but I am not "eligible" to receive that information as I'm not considered the closest living relative. I've attempted to reach out via other sources to a great granddaughter of my grandmother's aunt, but haven't had any luck there. Possibly, the "descendant" isn't really into the gen research and doesn't know or care, but that doesn't mean others feel the same way. Therefore, how do we handle this?

So, if you're not not a direct descendant, how do you obtain this information if the direct descendants don't really give a damn? The laws really do screw things up. I'm talking about a woman that died in the early 1950s and not someone that recently died. But, it is someone from my bloodline and I want to know that history. Why is that so difficult? This is bugging the hell out of me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Martin and a Song of the Week

It does often seem true that the good die young. Maybe that's because they are truly brave and can take a stand against injustice. They have a voice (like we all do) but seem to be driven to make their voice heard without fear of the consequences. Where would we be without people like that?

Fear is a killer. It kills dreams. It kills people. It kills society. It kills humanity. Fear also causes us to "conform". We fear failure, rejection, labeling, gossip, you name it. For example, some may fear any of the above, so they marry an abuser rather than be labeled a spinster. I once knew that person. She was married to an abuser and called me a spinster when I was 26 years old. Some fear their dream life and instead settle for a job (which is not a life).

To me, conforming does not lead to a happy and successful society. Rather, (and yes, Americans might gasp and this thought) a socialist society. A society where you are told what you should want, do, like, love and so on. A society that might think you're odd if you don't belong to the "right" church or political party. The society that might think you are less valuable because you didn't finish college. All a bunch of crap, really. And maybe, one day, society will appreciate the value of diversity (truly and not just lip service) and appreciate those brave enough to break the stigma molds that we seem to accept as the norm.

Now that I got that off my chest (as they say), I want to acknowledge Martin Luther King. A man that accomplished SO much in such a short time. It truly boggles my mind when I think about what he did in his life compared to what I've done. He was brave and held tight to his beliefs. He did not back down and took a stand for so many of us. He had a dream, and I'm sure so many of us do. The difference is he acted upon his dream and how many of us can say we do. Go out and be inspired by the man that dared to live his dreams in the hopes that we could lives ours. Maybe if we all do one little dream thing, we can somehow help make this a better place and contribute in a positive way to the lives of others. Hey, we never really know how some little thing we can do can really impact someone else. Think about it.

My Song of the Week is one that I can't hear without emotions being stirred. Ever since I was a kid, this song brought tears to my eyes. Enjoy and live your dreams. Life is short and too valuable to not live!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Saturday in the ER

It wasn't exactly how I had planned to spend the very first Saturday of 2012, but I've learned over the years that we must be flexible. I had a "fun" day planned of getting the oil changed in the car and then getting the car smog tested. A California smog test is required on older cars every other year, your car must pass the test in order to get your vehicle registration renewed. And yes, the renewed vehicle registration is required if you drive a car with California plates.

At the ghastly hour of about 4:30AM on Saturday, my mom woke me up and told me she didn't feel good. Her entire left side was numb. She wanted me to call an ambulance. I got my sister up and we agreed that we would take my mom to the ER rather than wait for an ambulance that would probably take her to the ER anyway. I brewed a cup of coffee in my Keurig, took my mom's blood pressure (it was rather high) and off we went.

It was early, and not many people were in the ER, so they took my mom in immediately and let both my sister and I go in with her. Normally only one family member is allowed in the ER with patients. Then we waited and waited and waited. The nurses came in and hooked my mom up to the monitors and IV. Questions were asked and reports written, then more waiting.

I grabbed my smart phone and checked in on Facebook and noticed that an author I follow had posted the most hysterical article from the Huffington Post. I began reading it to my sister and we were both laughing so hard that I wasn't speaking well due to laughing. My sister asked for the phone and she attempted to read the article. She began laughing so hard and then we were both crying. She finally asked me if we were laughing because the story was funny or because we were punchy. I said, "both". The article was about a guy being arrested by Madison, Wisc. Police for drugs in a park. The guy had just recently legally changed his name to Beezow Doo-Doo Zoppitybop-Bop-Bop! The article is hysterical and you can read it here.

During our laughing fit, one of the nurses came in to run tests. My mom had blood work done, urine tested, CT scan, chest x-ray, EKG and her arteries checked. In the end, she was fine. No sign of stroke. The ER doctor said it could have been a small stroke known as TIA and said that they tend to heal themselves within 24 hours. Therefore, if she had that during the night, they wouldn't be able to diagnose it, as they have to see it happening.

Eight hours later, we were free to go. Came home and gave my mom a cup of coffee and some oatmeal. After she ate and had coffee, she went to bed and slept for several hours. She is doing fine now, thank God.

Yesterday, a friend shared a link on my Facebook that once again had me laughing. Yes, Beezow Doo-Doo Zoppitybop-Bop-Bop reappeared in my life! This time it was a little hysterical clip from the Jimmy Kimmel show. All I can say is that I really wish I could have seen the judge grant that name change. I wonder if he/she was able to keep a straight face!

Wordless Wednesday

This week's Wordless Wednesday photo is one I found in my late aunt Sadie McPhee's photo album (which I have). This is a picture of three of my (late) maternal aunts, Patricia McPhee Dolan, Clara McPhee McPhail and Sadie McPhee.

Based on the clothes, I believe this picture was taken in the 1940s and that would then mean it was taken in Toronto, Canada.

L-R Patricia McPhee Dolan, Clara McPhee McPhail, Sadie McPhee

I love how glamorous they were! Whenever I see old pictures like this (especially from war times) I am always so amazed at how glamorous and put together people looked during the war and during a time when many things were rationed. How did they do it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

My mom in Canada, probably during the 1940s. She doesn't recall the details of this picture and there is nothing written on the back. I do love it though and use it currently as my personal Facebook profile picture.

I curated my second Etsy Treasury of the year. This one features members of another team I belong to called 247 Treasury Team. They are also a very supportive team, but they are all business. I like them very much, but don't yet feel the same connection to the members as I do the EAWT Team.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My First Etsy Treasury of 2012

The last time I created an Etsy treasury was in mid November. I guess I became overwhelmed with the holidays, working and taking care of my mom and pretty much vanished from the land of Etsy.

I started 2011 with two big whopping sales and ended with five. I really would like to do much better than that this year. I don't think my items are hideous but maybe they're not functional. On the other hand, a plastic mustache on a stick doesn't seem functional either, yet it has been very popular on Etsy and people seem to buy things like that. Either, I am totally out of touch or I am out of touch! I must be out of touch.

I decided to participate tonight in my EAWT team treasury challenge. Here's the treasury I created. Now lets see how many views, comments, and hearts I get. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to be a finalist in the challenge! But, the point of sharing this collection is so that you can see some really cool vintage or vintage inspired handmade items! Check them out and maybe you'll find something you really want or would like to give someone as a gift (sorry but no plastic mustaches on a stick here).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Don't You Just Love People?

Some lovely guy flipped me off today in the Target parkng lot after I honked my horn at him. Go figure - I honked at him after he didn't look or stop and just pulled out right in front of me. I seriously thought about chasing his sorry ass down, but, really didn't want to WASTE the energy on such a jerk. Just said a silent "prayer" that someone returns the "nice treatment" to him.

New year and a new me!

Hello 2012, PS I Love You, and 52 Things

I start every new year feeling so optimistic and hopeful. I set goals and achieve some and some that are more realistic than others! I have this goal to win a lottery. Well, maybe that isn't so realistic, but it sure would be nice. It sure would help replace the income I've lost in 2011, especially now that I've taken on being a caregiver for my mom. Well, as long as my mind is functioning, I shall continue to dream of the day I win BIG! I did have a goal to travel to Illinois in 2011, but things came up and that trip didn't happen. I actually had that trip planned in 2010, but didn't make it then either.

However, this is a new year and I have added the trip to my newly declared "52 Things"! This time, there is no pressure. If it doesn't happen due to upcoming circumstances, I will not kick myself or feel disappointed. I turn 52 this year and have started a list of 52 things I want to do that I've never done, and taking a trip to IL is one of them. I want to meet family in person and gather data and pictures and stories! I want to go to the courthouses and check the records of my "famous" great grandmother, the notorious Effie Beck Cloos Roby! She had quite the past. I want to find out how my grandparents Red and Lola met and when they married. I would LOVE to find pictures of Lola, as well as her sister Bessie and their father George Cloos, their mother Effie and so many others.

This past Friday, December 30, 2011, we went to Palm Springs (PS) for our annual Christmas visit, dinner and gift exchange with good friends that are really family. Earlier this year, my dear friends purchased a new home on a golf course and we got to see the new pad. It was fabulous and so was the day and the visit. We drove around the country club and chatted, played dice, exchanged gifts and had good food and laughs.

I made vegan lasagna and vegan German Chocolate Cake! It was so good and rather decadent! So that is now something I've checked off the "52 Things" list. For the cake, I used this wonderful recipe and the frosting was from Fatfreevegan! Man, it was so good, and I say that as someone who long ago, lost interest in cakes.

While we were in Palm Springs, I realized yet again, how much I love it there and have added a home in PS to my list of things to accomplish this year! I LOVE Palm Springs. The vibe and the architecture speaks to me. I also love the lack of LA rat race that seems to surround the environment. As a kid, my family spent the week between Christmas and New Year in Palm Springs, so I have very happy memories of it (and some very goofy old pictures that I'll not share now). I am not one to like the heat but I can learn to deal with three months of "pain" in order to be in a place that calls my name. As always, the weather was fabulous at this time of year and the sky so beautiful. Once the sun went down, it got cold out.

My mom enjoys watching Dr. Oz and while we were in PS, we turned that on for her. That episode featured chef Rocco DiSpirito's Mushroom Lasagna and I thought it looked good, so yesterday, January 1, I added that to my list of 52 Things and made a killer vegan version of it! Two things now checked off my list! I hadn't ever made a "white" mushroom lasagna and decided to try it. It was fabulous. The picky eaters in my house really loved it. They thought the sauce seemed to be very  "Alfredo" like. For the ricotta, I used the vegan tofu ricotta from the Skinny Bitch cookbook which I've used for my "red" lasagna. Instead of mozzarella, I used Daiya Mozzarella and two 13.5 cans of mushrooms. I drained the mushrooms and added three teaspoons of corn starch to the liquid and whisked it together and added the mushrooms and liquid to the "ricotta". I then sprayed a 13" Pyrex and layered the no bake lasagna noodles, the "ricotta and mushroom" mixture, the Daiya and sliced black olives, covered with foil, and baked for about an hour, covered, at 350F. It tasted even better tonight!

My friends have adorable little furry children - a dog named Cody and a kitten named Chance. Their friend stopped by with his cute little puppy Raven and those little furry kids were running through the house, playing and chasing and rough housing and just entertaining my mom! They even ran across her lap a few times and she thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It was a wonderful day.

Yesterday was New Years Day, but it didn't really seem like it because it was Sunday. I always associate New Years Day with the Rose Parade, but this weird old agreement, if you will, between the parade and the churches in the city, declared the parades would not happen if New Years Day fell on Sunday as that would keep the folks out of church. OK, the times have changed but not that strange agreement. So the parade happened today on January 2.

So, here's to a fab new year! Last year was tough, but I am looking forward to the new year. I plan to make it count and accomplish things this year so that I don't just feel like a cog in a machine going through some kind of corporate motions. Yeah, I say that every year, so, here's to this year being different. For you, I hope you have great success and prosperity and ask that you might even give my vegan recipes a try and let me know how it came out. I also hope you might participate in the "however many years" challenge and keep us posted here.  You never know how your "thing" might inspire someone else!

Here's to a happy, healthy, safe, successful and prosperous 2012 and I look forward to hearing about all the successes and to sharing my own.,

Goodbye 2011

Another year has come and gone. In fact, 2011 flew by! As I reflected back on the year, I noticed something that I am terribly guilty of - lack of follow through. I started several paintings and tutorials that I never completed. I still have those incomplete paintings hanging around and the tutorial pictures on my camera. I even had a tutorial in my head that never came to life, so that can come to life at a later time.

2011 was a challenging year. My mom fell and broke her pelvis in March after many trips to the ER earlier in the year because of high blood pressure. Once her pelvis healed, she moved in. That has been an adjustment for all of us. The cats do love having her around because she eats turkey and they love that gamy smell. They also love sitting on her lap and sleeping curled up at her feet. They don't like the fact though that she does rat them out when they misbehave!

My mom does have "chores" here that she likes doing - she folds the laundry and loads and empties the dishwasher. The evening I got busted emptying the dishwasher brought her great disappointment. I no longer empty it unless she is asleep! And only if it really needs to be emptied due to mass quantities of dirty dishes that I don't want to hand wash or have hanging out on the kitchen counter all night.

The Thursday before my mom moved in (she moved in on a Saturday) I was frantically cleaning and trying to organize things and while putting laundry away and not watching where I was going, I ran into the cat scratching post, tripped and landed, face down on my dresser! Lord have mercy. I felt the blood running down my face and ran to the bathroom. I could see my face already beginning to swell. I had two black eyes and looked like the beast from Beauty and the Beast, as the bridge of my nose rapidly expanded. Luckily, it was not broken, just fractured. My nose is still a bit sensitive I should add. I wonder how long this really will take to completely heal.

In 2011, my work hours were cut. I actually was cool with the part time hours as I have "full-time" work at home playing (or at least attempting) caregiver. I really believe the cut work hours helps with the care giving and my boss is truly amazing and understanding! I'm very lucky. Now to better organize my time so that I can make fabulous and functional screenprinted shirts and linens that will supplement my lost income. Hell, I've got the artwork ready so what is stopping me?

Major car catastrophes also happened in 2011! I locked my keys in the car one Sunday and frantically tried to get them through the small window opening and failed miserably, getting a nasty bruise on my forearm. You can find that story here.

My battery died at the post office in a 10 minute zone on a Saturday. I had taken my mom to her hair appointment and then ran to the post office to mail an Etsy order I had! Package sign, sealed and mailed and the car wouldn't start! Ugh. I needed to pick my mom up and then we were going to our friends' house for a fun Tupperware party. I called AAA and they sent a tow truck driver that had batteries with him and he replaced mine on the spot! 

Driving home on the freeway from a doctor's appointment my mom had one morning and I suddenly heard something weird and loud. It was my front tire. Blow out on the freeway! Traffic was light so it was a breeze getting to the shoulder. Calling AAA and getting a tow truck there was a bit longer! But, ultimately, I ended up needing three new tires.

I was invited to join four Etsy teams this year and that has been a blast. I have been most active (until recently) with the Etsian Artists Working Together (EAWT) team. I really love that group (although I have been bitchy on occasion with some of the members that tend to be non-responsive). I might just be bitchy in general, who knows! I love the community feel of the teams and, especially, the EAWT as they are truly connected to one another! They were my first Etsy team, for the most part super supportive and I am so happy to be amongst them! However, if I don't get  back in the groove, they might banish me!

2011 was the year I found my grandmother Lola! That was huge. After two years of research and pretty much dedicating this blog to my search for her and what I've learned about the "unknown" family, I found her. I also was also able to get the medical records that still exist on her. She was originally admitted to a state hospital in 1930 briefly for depression. Six years later, she was committed for the remaining 24 years of her life. She died exactly eight days before I was born and the doctor that wrote the justification for her commitment, was the same doctor that delivered me 24 years later!

The search was challenging because she was in the system, died, and was buried under a different name - Marie. That is still a mystery and something I am continuing to look into. Finding Lola was a huge goal, yet there are still so many unanswered questions. I kind of thought that once I found her, I'd know all the answers and could neatly wrap up the story and be ready to go on the Oprah show. But, alas, I'm not yet there.

Good thing it is a new year and now I can have new goals for 2012.