Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Bits and Pieces

Bits and pieces because that's all I can do tonight.

* It's been a cold, snowy run of days. Last night I went home feeling slightly off, climbed the steps early, and turned the light out before 8 pm. I must have needed the rest because aside from getting up to use the bathroom, I slept all night.

* "Weird." That was the topic of conversation in the kitchen at work today, and I said, "Life feels weird. Not here at work, but outside of here life feels weird." And Kristie said, "It won't always feel that way." Perhaps one day life will normalize, but that day is hard to imagine. It seems as if life will always and forever be weird.

* The "D" Word. I thought it would never apply to me, but here it is stuck on my coat. "Divorced" I always thought it an ugly word, and in so many ways it is, but it feels all the uglier because I always hear my mother's words echoing through my thoughts. "God hates divorce." But does he? Is it divorce itself God hates? Or is it the events that lead us to divorce? I pushed it through, and life is weird. *sigh*

* Little arms reaching. Lots of them. They are looking for hugs. All those little arms, and how can I say no? They need hugs and I need them too. "Me! Me!" called one small child as she put her arms in the air. They are hungry for not only the food I bring, but the love. Oh, how I hate telling them I have to go make lunch or wash the dishes.

* The house was quiet and empty when I came home tonight. I considered going out to the pottery studio, but stayed here instead. I found a message from a pottery friend on Facebook. Someone looking to know when I might be there as she doesn't like to be there all alone on the weekend. And then, I signed up for another hand building class because I do not like being alone either. Friday nights from January through March. Eight weeks of mud therapy. Just what I need.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Short Day

It was a short day at work, but not necessarily because of the weather.

Monday, Veteran's Day, and a snowstorm combined for a rather slow day at the daycare. We had a grand total of about 25 children, less than half our usual amount, and it was hot dog day. I went from worrying we wouldn't have enough hot dogs (there were forty) to having more than enough. We could have fed the entire staff and all the kids.

By 12:30 pm I had already cleaned up lunch, loaded the dishwasher, and set out afternoon snacks. Before punching out for the day I gave the two remaining baby teachers a potty break. I left my garbage bag in the trash can with the idea it might be needed since the center wouldn't close for another 5 1/2 hours. Then I set out for home, just as the snow storm started to churn.

At home I emptied the back of my car and lugged my snow tires out of the garage. They are now ballast in the rear end of my vehicle awaiting a break in the storm so they can replace my all season tires. It's nasty driving tonight and likely won't be any better tomorrow morning, but it's still a tad early, according to my BIL, for snow tires. I made it to the chiropractor's office and back tonight. It was good practice for tomorrow's early commute.

PS. Happy 26th to Ben! I love you to the moon and back!!!

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Going to Bed Now

I took my camera along on the drive to work Friday morning and wasn't disappointed. The snow, which had enveloped the world Thursday, was waiting.  The winter-kissed autumn. It was waiting. God saved it for me. :0)

Today is Saturday. I did something different this morning. I dropped my darling daughter off at work and spent the morning with my sweet, "Honey Child," grandson. We had a strawberry/banana smoothie for breakfast and I cleaned the kitchen while he played cars and begged me to play along.

When the kitchen was clean there was laundry to be folded, and stuffed animals to feed. (We found the play food and dishes in the attic where Mommy stashed them one day after he and Jilly played Scatter the Dishes Everywhere.)

I was served ice cream, pancakes, a burger and fries, and a soda. Clear warning was given that my burger was very hot and I must be careful. The animals watched with hungry eyes.

At lunch time I warmed up a leftover daycare English muffin pizza. A real one. I don't always bring food home, but I couldn't stand to throw them out yesterday.

Multiple TicTacs were handed out in the course of the day, one for each time he peed on the potty. (He got three when he pooped.) There were no accidents and I only asked once if he had to go. He was doing a little dancing. But he didn't have to go.

 Tonight I am downstairs, mostly because I am too tired to go upstairs... Hannah and I took Idris out to Christkindl Market in Canandaigua. A brisk walk from the car, and back again, along with some teeth-chattering moments whenever we stepped outside the heated tents, and another freezing walk from the car up Main Street to Simply Crepes, and back again, left all of us feeling weather worn upon our return home. It was a lovely evening.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* Monday was the day I thought I'd slept through Megan's lunch break just to realize I'd never turned the alarm clock in my car back an hour.

* Tuesday morning I climbed into the shower smiling inside because it was already Wednesday... except that it wasn't. My mind caught up with that mistake long before I stepped out of the shower. I have to admit I was a tad disappointed, but only for a moment. I'm not really looking for time to go faster. It's already too fast.

* Wednesday evening I took in a bit of mud therapy. I actually went to the pottery studio and got my hands dirty. I didn't make anything, but I did wedge up a bit of repurposed clay that had been sitting in my bedroom for far too long. It will be ready for me next time.

* Something didn't smell quite right when I climbed into my car this morning. The tea I'd made had a minty aroma and Constant Comment is not mint at all. It was too late to run inside for a different kind so I drank Sleepy Time tea on the way to work. Ha ha! Good thing we have a big pot of coffee in the break room.

* Tonight I enjoyed the company of a few of my kids. We made black bean burgers and, in honor of Ben's up and coming birthday, had a bit of ice cream cake and sang the birthday song. I was blessed to see three of my boys sit on the couch and smile at childhood memories brought back by a cartoon video one of them brought to share.

* Our first snow arrived late this morning as I was visiting the three year old class at the daycare. My friend Addison looked out the window and said it looked like it was snowing. Sure enough! The rain was turning to snow. By the time I went home several hours later the golden world of autumn had been kissed by winter. I didn't have my camera along but I soaked in every beautiful scene along the way.

Monday, November 04, 2019

It's About Time

Keys and clocks. They make life interesting...

I have managed to keep track of my keys since last Monday. No major incidents despite letting Idris carry them around the block on our walk the night before Halloween. Just imagine them being dropped down a storm sewer... or lost in a pile of leaves. Thankfully, that did not happen. So far, so good on the keys.

Sometimes I catch a few minutes of sleep on my lunch break. I keep an alarm clock in my car because once I fell asleep and woke up ten minutes after my break ended. They wondered what had happened to me but in actuality I'd never left the parking lot. Today I turned on my alarm, read a few paragraphs in my book, and then closed my eyes. I was having a dream and woke suddenly. I glanced down at my clock and it read 2:58. Adrenaline shot through my system as I jolted upright! How could I have slept an entire hour and a half? Why didn't my alarm go off? Why didn't someone come outside to find me? Where was Megan? She should have been going on break at 2 pm... And then I looked at my phone... It wasn't even 2 o'clock yet. I'd just forgotten to turn my alarm clock back an hour. I back walked across the parking lot to the building, my heart still pounding.

Daylight Saving Time is over for another year and we are back to Standard Time. This is what the world would look like if we never played "Change the Clocks." Yup, it's getting dark early.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Warming Things Up


We've talked for a while now about how the back room is so dark. It didn't feel dark when I was a child, and even then it had barn boards on the wall. I love the barn boards and really didn't want to take them down. What was so different now from when I was a child? Was it that the trees outside had grown so much taller? Why, although it helped, did the light colored carpet not brighten things up?

On Sunday Rachel and I took our usual drive down back country roads to visit our brother Tim. The sky was overcast, the sun hidden behind a thick layer of cloud, and yet along the way brightly colored leaves lit up the scene. Carpets of gold covered front lawns, fiery torches of red and orange adorned the woods, and it seemed as though the sun was out when in fact it was not... And then I realized something. Perhaps there was a reason for our mother's love of orange and gold.

Dad picked dark colors; barn boards, wood tones, and brown paint. Mom warmed the rooms with colors of autumn. I had resisted "Mom's colors," picking neutral tones instead, while Hannah leaned toward blues and browns. We weren't creating a warm environment at all. My encounter with God's Autumn Paintbrush inspired me to experiment and so I went in search of something to test my theory.

 I bought some orange and yellow pillows at Walmart, and a big bouquet of fake, fall flowers at Hobby Lobby. Just those few items made the room smile. Tonight I perused the aisles at Home Goods and returned with a few more finds. I took the plain beige sheet off the futon and tossed a gold throw over the back. Then I hung a sunflower painting on the wall (It's still in its packaging.), and placed a bright yellow vase on the table. And of course, I turned on all the lights.

It feels like home again. I like it.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Best Candy Ever!

We were MnM's this time. The first photo I wasn't quite ready for, and the second is blurry but I love the little sloth photo bomber. Shhh! Don't tell anyone she's there and maybe they won't notice.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Little Punkins

I received some fabulous hugs from my little friends today. They fill my cup each morning and I am so blessed to have them in my life. My heart hurts when they are sad, especially when one of them is having a difficult time adjusting. So many little people are hurting deep inside but don't have the words or knowledge to share their pain. Sometimes all they can do is cry, and the best I can do is hold them and tell them they are loved. Putting them down and walking away is hard, but I trust that every little word, every smile I give, and every hug will make a difference. I pray deep down inside they will know and remember they are loved.

Tonight our own little guy was having a rough moment. Mom and Dad had run out for a short bit and he was distressed. Nothing I tried worked, so I put his sweatshirt on him and took him out for a walk around the block.
It was a little after 5 pm and overcast. He rustled through piles of leaves and looked at Halloween decorations. We stopped to chat with out backyard neighbor who has the blowup motorcycle guys and by the time we returned home he had regained his composure.

Our Jack O'Lantern pumpkins were waiting for us in the driveway by the side of the house. Idris helped me unlock the door and we carried those pumpkins inside for a bath in the kitchen sink. When Mommy came home we had fun carving them.  Daddy had to run an errand and missed out on the fun, but there are still two pumpkins waiting for him and mommy.

 I hope one day Idris will look back and enjoy the memories of these days as much as my sisters and I still hold the memories of doing things like this with our parents. I love it all, right down to the smell of the pumpkin with a burning candle inside. All those yummy feelings come rushing back and I am a child again...

Monday, October 28, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* This past weekend was rough. Both my women's groups were cancelled the two weeks prior and spent way too many evenings home alone. By Friday evening I was emotionally drained. I should have followed through with my original evening plan to visit the pottery studio, but there were no parking places left on the side street and Monroe Avenue is torn up due to construction.

* I had no Saturday plans, but it was a gorgeous autumn day. My sister Rachel agreed to go out with me for a couple hours even though it was her anniversary. We drove out Lake Rd toward Sodus and along the way I felt the need to drive through the orchard. She asked if we were trespassing and I said, "Yes." She said, "Will we get in trouble?" and I answered, "I never have before." I soaked it in and let it heal a little piece of my heart.

* At Beechwood State Park we ran into some friends of mine and I wasn't even surprised to see them there. They were coming out and we were going in. As we trudged toward the lake, I think Rachel wondered where in the world I was taking her, how far we would walk, and how long it would be until we turned around and headed home.

* I zigzagged down country roads coming home and passed a familiar looking fellow along the way. I rolled down the window to say hello and found that it was not my friend keyRandy from the nursing home, but his partner Dan. He suggested stopping by the house, but Rachel was ready to go home. Maybe I'll stop by next time.

* Sunday was church and Sunday school, a visit to our brother Tim, and a ghost birthday party for Number Nine who just turned three.

* Today I was careful to keep track of my car keys, but even so they were not in my pocket when I walked into the chiropractor's office. I didn't notice until I was on my way back to the room. After I was hooked up to the tens unit, he ran outside to see if he could find them. He found in the ignition with the car doors unlocked. I am totally and hopelessly blond.

* The doctor asked what I was doing this evening and I had no plans. At his suggestion, I stopped on the way home for a few pumpkins to carve into Jack O'Lanterns. It would have been a splendid activity this evening, but Hannah was working. Maybe we can do it tomorrow.

Friday, October 25, 2019


One of the hardest things is knowing he's lonely too, and still standing my ground...

There are broken pieces inside of me that I am struggling to put back together. Rebuilding is hard. I miss having friends to hang out with and find that I don't know how to make that happen. I know what I'm supposed to do, but the doing feels overwhelming, and it feels like I haven't had a good hard laugh in a long time.

I took the picture from Pinterest. Broken pieces put back together in a new and beautiful order. It didn't happen overnight, and I'm sure they didn't put themselves back together. I am moving forward, I am okay, and God hasn't left me to do this alone. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Every other Tuesday night our small group Bible study meets at church. It's been a little crazy because many of these Tuesdays have conflicted with other church activities. Once there was a free Rochester Philharmonic concert and another time it was a church business meeting. Last night the missions dinner was held in the fellowship area and church foyer. As far as I knew our group was meeting as usual.

I couldn't remember whether we meet at 6 o'clock or 6:30 so I sent a text off to the group leader who did not return my text. I tried calling but there was no answer. I set off for the church a few minutes before six as the setting sun was just peeking through the thick layer of clouds that had blanketed the area all day. I marveled at glowing tree tops of glittering gold and fiery red.

The beauty of the trees made it hard to keep my eyes on the road, but when I turned the corner onto Five Mile Line road, a whole new scene caught my attention. A brilliant double rainbow! Although I've been told to "always have your camera along," I did not. The sight was so incredible that I pulled over on the side of the road to absorb its magnificence before continuing on to church where the prayer room sat empty.

The church was full of people enjoying the missions dinner and presentation, but I did not know what had become of my friends. I hadn't dressed for a dinner and had come alone, so I went back to my car and headed home. The sky was rapidly turning black and the rainbow had disappeared. I was disappointed in not finding my group, but still in awe of the rainbow I'd seen just a few minutes earlier.

I came home and looked for pictures on Facebook. I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. It was too gorgeous to be ignored. And my friends? They were enjoying the evening activities at church. I'd been sent two texts earlier in the day. I missed them because my inbox was too full. I guess God must have wanted me to see the rainbows.

* All of these photos are the same rainbow seen from different locations. Phenomenal!

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Few Key Thoughts

* I need a second car key on a lanyard around my neck.

* The locksmith now recognizes both me and my car.

* I was not the only one locked out of my car in the Wegman's parking lot between 5:30 and 6 pm this evening. I was not even the only one in my aisle, but my vehicle was not running, and I did not have my family along.

I have managed to lock myself out of my vehicle multiple times and in multiple places in the past few years. I am getting quite proficient this and engage multiple techniques. Tonight I employed the Jacket Switcheroo method. It's quite simple. I got out of the car wearing my sweatshirt and then, because it was the fancy Pittsford Wegmans, decided to trade it for my jean jacket. I took the sweatshirt off, tossed it in the car, and grabbed my jacket. Then I went in the store for coffee creamer and came out with no keys in my pocket. Voila! Very simple and effective.

It did not take me long to realize my blunder. There were no keys in my pockets when I arrived at my car. I peered into the vehicle, and just as I had imagined, my keys were waiting on my seat, which is better than lost on the ground. At least they were safe. There is something for which to be thankful. I considered our Triple A membership that I had forgotten last time, and checked my wallet. No card. I threw out a call to James. No answer. And so I did exactly what I had just done less than two weeks ago. I called the locksmith and waited. He smiled when he saw me, probably because I was smiling and looking sheepish. I told him I was just trying to keep him employed... I'd say we're on a first name basis, but truthfully, I don't even know his name. He's the one who suggested the lanyard. Ha ha!

This thing of being locked out of my vehicle is getting expensive, but James has now updated my Triple A membership and they will soon be mailing me a new card. Maybe I won't lock myself out again (yeah, right..), but Triple A is always good to have.

Pictures from yesterday's visit to Letchworth State Park with Rachel.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Little Fall

What I really meant was "A Little Autumn."

It was too nice to stay home this weekend. I had an appointment early Saturday morning. From there I went to the camera store for a new battery charger. I came home with a battery charger, a lens cap, a storage box for my camera cards, and... a new, used 70-200 lens. (I spent a little money...)

The weekend was gorgeous.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Today Was Good

It was a good day.We fudged the menu a smidgen, using up fresh fruit in place of canned fruit we didn't have. The expected delivery truck did not arrive yesterday, and it did not come today either. It is supposed to come the first and third weeks of each month and never on the last week of the month, but guess what? There are five Thursdays this October. What do you bet "The Powers That Be" changed the delivery to next week? This will make next week very interesting as our canned fruit is entirely gone aside from one can of pineapple tidbits. We are not permitted to purchase more and turn in the receipts so it might be an interesting week. Good thing the produce man comes on Monday. Here's hoping he arrives early.

Several rainy days in a row have left us feeling a bit soggy and eager to play outside. The sun was shining bright on the changing leaves as I drove home this afternoon. I longed for a fully charged camera battery, but the one I found in my console today was as dead as the one in my camera. Not to be outdone, I set my mind to take a walk when I got home. First I went inside to see if a small child would like to accompany me. While his daddy took a shower we walked around the block and admired spooky yard decor. He was especially enchanted by the blow-up "mommy" in the neighbor's yard. Ha ha!

Tomorrow is forecast to be cool and mostly sunny. I have an early morning appointment, but no definitive plans following. Perhaps I will find myself a new battery charger for that ramshackle camera of mine. If I time things right, I might even get it charged up in time to capture some of autumn before the trees are naked.

Did I tell you Number 14 is due in April? Beth and Adam got a surprise.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Holding Out

Work is a funny place. Most daycare cooks do all the ordering of food and supplies. My boss and I check in with each other, and she does the ordering. It's been working, so we haven't changed it up at all, although I could probably figure it out if I had the time.

On Tuesday morning my boss showed up in the kitchen followed by a nice looking gentleman with a clipboard. "Miss Martha, this is Gary," she said. "He wants to talk to you about our deliveries and some products we might like to add to our orders." I said hello to Gary and Kim and I looked at the list of items on the sheet. We told him we would look into whether or not the prices on some paper products were comparable with the other company we order from. It was a pleasant interchange. I played along like I was in charge of ordering supplies, and then Gary went on his way.

Later that day Kim told me when Gary came in to the building, he said "I'm here to see your cook." She laughed,then smiled at me and said, "He waltzed in and said it in such a way that I wondered if you were holding out on me! And then he said we was with (the company from which we order many of our supplies)." Ha ha! Silly Kim. I've never seen Gary before in my life.

(The guy in the photo is a mannequin Rachel and I found on an outing two years ago. I think I'll call him Gary.)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Ruffled Mind

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow. 
- Charlotte Bronte

A restless pillow filled my last night's dreams. I was quiet and tried to lay still, but no matter how still my body was, my mind could not be hushed.  Perhaps tonight the mind will be quiet and at rest.

(This is Frankie. He lives with my friend Lorrie.) I needed a "pillow picture" and so I am borrowing this one.)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* A weekend full of emotion will leave a body physically drained. I went to sleep at 7:30 last night. When I woke up at 9:30 pm and the room was pitch black, I found myself confused until I realized I'd only been asleep for two hours.

* The service for Aunt Margie was yesterday afternoon. I wish there had been more time to connect with my cousins. Some of them left before I got a chance to say more than hello and we rarely ever end up in the same spot anymore. I did get a chance to visit with my cousin Steve who is a lawyer in Miami. He had been on his way here to visit his mom when she was taken to the hospital.

* Friends and family were given the opportunity to share memories. I shared how Aunt Margie came to visit Mom every week while she lived with us,. She was not only her sister, but a faithful friend. And, I couldn't help but share the story of how once upon a time, when I was about ten years old, Aunt Margie had asked me if I'd like a piece of cake. I was a shy little girl and answered, "I don't care." I'd really wanted a piece. It looked really good, but I was trying not to be rude and thought she would give me one anyway. "Well," answered Aunt Margie, "if you don't care, I don't care." And I did not get a piece of cake. I was too startled and timid to change my answer that day, but the next time Aunt Margie asked if I wanted something, I said, "Yes, please."

* I got my hair cut today. It had grown wild and woolly over the past seven months. I have tried repeatedly to make an appointment with the friend who has cut it the past few years, but to no avail. When my boss mentioned there was a salon in Walmart and sometimes they do a great job, I decided to take the risk. I'm glad I did. It feels and looks so much better.

* So glad for the hugs I get every week. What would I do without them?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Rainy Saturday With a Spot or Two of Sunshine

The day started out dark, cold, and rainy. It was pouring when I stepped out of the car to see my grandson for his birthday, but half an hour later the rain stopped. It remained damp and cold for several hours, but the sun eventually decided to make an appearance and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.

The were lots of tears and hugs today. I saw complete strangers, old friends and former neighbors, and lots of cousins (on James' side). One of the guests thought she might know me and asked if I was Pam Carr. I've been told before I look like Pam, but it's been many years. About 40, maybe a few more. I told the woman asking that Pam is my cousin, the woman told me her name, and then we realized the real reason I looked so familiar. We grew up living across the street from each other. Renee is just a couple years older than me.  We never hung out much. Our mothers weren't the best of friends, but back when we were kids all the neighborhood children played outside. There really wasn't anyone we didn't know.

Maybe I haven't seen Renee in ages, but I was thinking of her just a day or two ago, because of my foot. My right foot. The foot whose 3rd and 4th toes often feel like they're popping in and out of joint while I walk. I wondered if Renee ever had the same foot problem as me because as little girls we both sat on our heels to control a desperate bladder. It was impossible to get up and run to the bathroom without losing all control, and we would sit like that, totally embarrassed, with tears rolling down our faces waiting for the urge to dissipate. Once control was regained, getting to the bathroom was no problem. Sometimes I still sit on my heel, and fifty years of sitting on my heel has taken a toll on my poor toes... (Getting old is interesting for sure.)

The daycare owners were at today's event. Their son is engaged to the daughter of James' cousin Angel. It is strange to see them in a different setting, and stranger still to have one of the owners give me a hug. Sometimes it can be easy to forget in the confusion and frustration that is work, to remember these are people too.

Today is done. The Celebration of Life at the park was good. There were lots and lots of people. Tomorrow there will be another remembrance in a different place, for a different person, my cousin Pam's mom, my Aunt Margie. There will be more strangers, old friends, and cousins (this time on my side). Another goodbye, and more tears.


The battery in my camera is dead, and the other battery, along with my charger, is missing. It's probably here somewhere, but I don't know where. I was keeping it in the bottom of my purse for a while, so I'd have it when I needed it, but it isn't there. Maybe it will appear when I actually decide to clean my room. But that won't be today.

The weather was perfect this past week. I wish we could have saved a couple of those bright, sunny afternoons for this weekend. Dark, rainy days may be appropriate for movie funerals, but in real life a little sunshine is preferable, especially when the Celebration of Life is in the park. There is a chance of sunshine later this afternoon.

It's time for Number Seven's birthday party. He'll be five on Monday. Going to try and squeeze in an appearance before the other gathering.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Change of Plans, and A few Wedding Photos

Feeling a little overwhelmed this evening. I talked to a hurting friend upon arriving home this evening. Sat in my car, and then got out and locked my purse inside... along with my keys. (Will I ever learn?) Thankfully, I was not locked out of the house and I had my phone in my pocket. I rearranged my evening plans and called for help. And then my grandson came over to sit with me for a bit while his dad made a visit to Urgent Care. The evening turned out just fine, even if I didn't make it to the grocery store.

Hey! I found some beautiful photos online... (It's that wedding I went to last month.) 

That's my son behind the girl in the purple shirt.

My daughter in law made the wedding party cake. Isn't that pretty?