Sunday, August 16, 2009

To Turkey and Back in One Day!

A weekend with nothing scheduled became a rich experience when our Turkish friend, Lemis' (Larry), invited us to attend the Chicago Turkish World Festival at Navy Pier. After a sumptuous breakfast together at a new restaurant in the suburbs, we headed to the nearest Elevated train stop and made our way to Chicago on public transportation. Larry had not ridden the El before and although it is not any shorter, it is way more relaxing. We took the Blue line from Cumberland and then transfered to the red line at Jackson Street in the Loop where we just had 3 more stops to Grand and then a six block walk to the Pier. The sky was clear and the temperature in the high eighties, but the closer we got the the Pier, the more refreshing was the lake air that surrounded us.

We walked the length of the pier enjoying the sights, sounds and smells all along the way to the very end where the festival was taking place in the grand ballroom.

From a distance we could hear music and entering, we experienced a cacaphony of sounds and songs and many booths on display by the various Turkish and other countries Turkey has relationships with: Turkmenistan, Ubekistan, Bosnia, Macedonia,etc. Sponsored by the Turkish American Society of Chicago, the generosity of these various groups was impressive as they shared their cultures, free to the public with richly colored handouts and tasty temptations. We wandered leisurely and explored the displays. "Chciago Turkish World Festival share a positive message to help unite all races, cultures, and religious to live in harmony."

The textiles , both for sale and on visitors, were a thrill for me, of course! The colors, textures and various tecniques were a sight behold.

To my surprise, we came upon a yurt on the showfloor! It had to have been my favorite part of the whole festival; well, maybe except for the baklava and Turkish coffee!My cousin, Jeff, has been wanting to build a yurt and before he started talking to me about these, I was not familiar. The shape, design, colors and textures are amazing, not to mention the fabulous textiles displayed within. The yurt proved to be a popular destination with the fextival particiapnts and not only the colors in the textiles, but the many humans enjoying the displays created created a pleasing "warmth". A very welcoming Turkish man who owned the yurt was happy to explain the process. Made of fulled wool, which is water resistant, it is covered in winter to protect from snow with another layer of wool and wood. He says it takes 4-5 hours to assemble the yurt; somewhat less with practice.

View through opening of top of yurt:

They were encouraging everyone to try the traditional costumes and have their photos taken.
Another type of tent:

Larry had one main goal and that was to see the performance of Mehter, the Ottoman Military Band. For centuries it has commpanied the Ottoman army. We had some time to wait so we went outside to enjoy Lake Michigan at the end of the pier. This weekend there was an added bonus as the "Air and Water Show" was also going on further north on the lake. However, Navy Pier is a good vantage point to see some of the flyovers! We saw parachuters dropping from 10,000 feet and the noice when the jet formations flew over was enough to satisfy Larry and Alan!

View of John Hancock Building in distance

We returned inside the ballroom and enjoyed some folk dances and singers while waiting on the band.

Thoroughly entertained by the band and satisfied with our adventure, we are ready to reverse course and head home. Back home in the suburbs, it's all-American hamburgers, well, maybe "larry-style" burgers, and relaxation in the delicious breeze on the deck!

Larry says we HAVE to go to Turkey with him and he will arrange everthing to share his beloved culture with us. We're up for it! When shall we go?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crochet and Our Health


I'm now putting the most current of this long story at the top. If you need to read back to catch up, see below the *******line.
August 2, 2010
Life goes on and Dad is hanging in there. We visited there just this past weekend and had two family events, one on Dad's side and one on mom's. On Sat., Alan and I took dad to lunch at "Cindy's Diner." In the morning we had read about the owner in the North Side Alumni News and I decided it sounded like a fun place to go. I was right! The choclate malt is one of the best I have ever had and the onion rings were great too!Dad enjoyed seeing the old place and had a "Murphy's donut" made from the donut machine that was in the Murphy's five and dime store, dating back to the fifties. Murphy's was my sat. hangout when I was 12 or so. I would take the bus there on Sat. and shop around and of course, have a donut!

Cousin Jeff's son is getting married in Louisville, KY in October and his brother threw a "luau"-themed shower. It came just two weeks after the groom's grandmother, (my mom's sister, Donnabelle) had died at the age of 26. Like I said, "life goes on" and the younger generation has their plans and their life to live. I went to my Aunt's funeral on July 16 and it was like a family reunion. It was very tough on my Dad, though; way to close in time for him to have to re-live a funeral. He was there to support his brother-in-law but kept it very brief.

On my Dad's side, cousin alan threw a reception for his son, Brad who was wed in Minneapolis on July 3. Good food; good conversation. A busy weekend in Ft. Wayne.

Dad asked me to go through pictures that he has stored in a trunk, which I did. He says he isn't going to be around much longer, so I should take what I want! I made a little dent in them, but I already have so many and many are dups of what I have already. Anyhoo, it made Dad happy to have me go through them and that is what counts!

April 20, 2010
This post has been a long time coming, but it is hard to write about...I visited Dad in early Feb 2010 to just check in with him and to give him some company. We've been in toch weekly, at lest, since mom's death b phone and I'd say dad has done relatively well adjusting to the vast lonilness he feels. It is never easy and as they say, "Only time heals wounds." Roger has stopped in on some days and found that he has been crying. All he can do is reassure him and try to help finding things to keep dad busy. On September 18, 2009 Mom and Dad celebrated 63 years of marriage! Ironically when they returned from celebration dinner with Rog and Lynn, mom's hip broke and she fell off the step at the entrance to their house. Even though she had come throgh heart surgery six weeks before, as is commonly the case, that became he beginning of her end.

I told him it would be a great idea to come and visit us in June during the week of mom's birthday. (Alan and Mom have the same day) A distraction during that time seems therapeutic to me and we would love havng him and Jack, but he didn't think leaving the house was something he is interested in. How frustrting!! I am pretty mcuh out of ideas!

Thankfully, he is going to his two weekly groups for breakfast and afternoon tea. I wonder if this group of his longtime friends are helpful? Does that generation know how to be open and comforting? My experience has been that my parents hold in a lot of emotions and don't find it appropriate to express themselves in public. Dad, especially, is shy anyway and doesn't like to show his feelings. Lynn has said that he has done pretty well at church holding it together when people greet him and share their ondolences. I am sure he cries silently and privately on long days when he is home alone. He calls these times "spells."

Alan and I went to visit Dad in March for the weekend. It was a whilwindvisit and we ept dad busy. The three of us took the twins for ice cream at an old ice cream shop for their 5th birthday. Then we headed out to th movies to see "Avatar". I was right to think that dad would enjoy it. He found it amazing and started to walk out of the theatre with his 3-D glasses still on! Right after that we met Rog for dinner. It was a long day for dad, but good for him to be distracted. I am sure e slept well that night. Lynn had been in Indy babsitting Kaylee, but she got home on Sunday i time to see us before we left. It is such a nice feeling to not be rushed and to not have to be home at any special time. We don't let the four hour ride home daunt us!

March 28, 2009-Almost 3 months to the day that mom died. Dad called me that night (not unusual for a Sunday)What was unusual was that he was crying so hard that he could hardly get the words out! I had a hard time keeping it toether and was grabbingat straws a to what to say to him to comfort him. Intellectually he knew that t is okayto cry, but her said, "I don't want to be a cry baby. I just have these spells every now and then." He said te pastor has toalked to him about it being okay to cry. It id happen to be a gloomy rainy day and sundays are traditionally very hard for the elderly. I decided at one point to take little sterner tack with dad. I am frankly getting a little frustrated with his unwillingness to try things that will ocupy stime. He has complained about not having enough to do since he reired ten yers ago at age 80. He has never wanted to seek knew activiies, but yet complains of not having enough to do. I gave him an assignment to go to the park district and get the activity calendar for Seniors just to look at.

A doctor/minister at the Vet's hospital has recommended some interesting approaches to dad in th past which included vitamin supplements, and reading Psalm 23 3 times daily to meditate on it. This makes sense to me and I would rather see him on less medication if supplements could help. I told him we would talk the next day after I did a lttle research on what meds he has taken in the past for depression. I was so glad dad reached out to me and called rather than just suffering alone.I tod dad wewould talkthe next day and he seemed grateful to have been able to talk to me.

I immediately called Rog and Lynn but told them not to rush over there to him , but just to be aware. It was a wake upcall to Rog, because ihe gave dad some jobs to dothe net day that are actually helpful for Rog: errands to the supply house; washng shop rags, etc.

Lynn and I sorted through some of mom's clothes with Dad's permission. He decided to keep them out in the garage until he decided exactly where hewante to take them: the church or to donte them elsewhere. We only tuced the surface and Lynn and I decided that we shuld have a grage sale and seell off the clothe really cheap in bag lots. Mom always loved a bargain and her favorites were at church rummae sales were they would offer a grocery bag ful for $5.00! We will wait to spring or fall and do somthig like that, offering great garage salebarains in Nanny's honor.

The next day when we talked, he owned that he doesn't like to talk to friends about his troubles because he doesn't like to cry in public, even though they have been through the same and would undestand. He also owned that since he is almost 80 he probably won't take up any new activities. I told him that it is his choice to sit at home and do nothing or to get creative and get out nd do something that takes up time. Even if it is just to get in the car and go to Coney Island for a hot dog with Jack or go to the mall for a stroll, it some different scenery and is good. Thankfully, Spring is coming and he can spend more time in his garage puttering as well as be n the yard doing some work or walking Jack near the house.

>January 4, 2010:

Dorothy E. Blakley (mom to us) died on 12/29/09 at 4:20 PM. She was born on June 23, 1926 and was 83 years old. This is a pencil drawing done some time ago from a photo by grandson, Marty Blakley. Surrounded by her favorite flowers which she grew in her perennial garden, are black-eyed susans.

January 2, 2010: Mom was cremated and we held a memorial service in her honor today. My brother, Roger, built a wooden box for her ashes that will be placed in the urn/vault. The five great granchildren, with the help of their parents, wrote or drew notes to be put in the box. Mom was dearly loved and well-known by many in town. We had a standing-room only crowd, even though my dad's wishes were that we keep it a private service for just family and close friends. We have a large family too!

Pop (Martin Blakley, age 89) meeting great-grandaughter, Chloe Marie, for the first time.
Dear,dear friend Deb: "Sleep tight...your mother is watching over you now."

Throughout our process of realizing and accepting that her death was imminent and inevitable, we heard many comments from others. Sharing them here tells it all and concludes my story!
Nurses: "Your dad is such a sweetie. We fell in love with him; he cared so much for your mom and took such good care of her."

Long, long time friend, Sue: "I just don't know what to do. Can I make spagetti for you?"

Another long, long time friend, Dolores: "She was my best friend; I will miss her so much!"

Dad's "army buddy's" widow Iris in FL: "Thank you so very much for letting me know. Please give my love to your dad."
My cousin Sherry: "I remember the first time I came to your home in Ft. Wayne for a poker fame. it was so exciting to find I had such relatives: socially interactive, fun-loving and with true passions. I have many things from (Dorothy's ) antique shop and memories that will last forever. I am sorry for your Dad for I believe he had a life partner in the best sense."

Nicole's dear friend Millie: "(we are) grateful for the precious stories you have shared of her memory that she will live fondly in our hearts."
"I will sure miss her. We were so close growing up and I will always remember playing house with her."

My cousin Holly: "I hope you are strengthened by God , encouraged by happy memories."

Mom's sister, Donnabelle (age 86):
My cousin Jim: "I remember coming to Aunt Dorothy's house on Sundays to play with Tom, Roger and Gwen. When I was studying at Purdue in Ft. Wayne, she would have me over every Thursday for dinner and that meant a lot to me."

Alan's cousin, Connie: "I remember her coming to Aunt Dorothy's funeral and she was such a tall elegant woman."

Alan's sister, Alice: She was an elegant lady who was loved by many. You will have some tough times for quite a while when you think of her, but just remember all she meant to you."

Our dear friend, Gerry: "The pastor ask us to say something about Dorothy and I thougt of metioning her love of playing poker, but I didn't know if the pastor knew she was a gambler!"

My brother Tom's good friend, Marge: "I really loved her and will miss her so much!"

Others: "She as such a good cook and made the best apple pie." She was an elegant lady."

Dad: "Her fried mush was the best!"

My cousin Lana: "Oh, I can't beleve it. I am so,so sorry!"

My cousin Donita: "I know exactly how your feel. It has been two-and-a-half years since my mom died and I still get teary thinking about her."