Friday, August 28, 2015

Brother Day

It was "Visit Your Brother Day" today, so we did. :)

Rachel went to sign the visitor's book and I went to see where Tim was. He was happy to take my hand  but when Rachel came around the corner he grabbed hold of her hand with an exuberance that almost took me by surprise. Almost. I know he loves her. She's his baby sister. I lagged behind a little bit so I could catch them on the way out to the car. I love how he holds her hand.

It was a beautiful day for a ride through the Wayne County countryside. We drove past farms and fields, cows and horses, and the little ski slope where Olympic Gold Medalist Diann Roffe learned to ski. (She may have been born in Warsaw, NY but she grew up in Williamson. You can stalk her Facebook if you need proof. ha ha!)

Before heading back to Tim's place we stopped by Wendy's drive-thru and bought Tim the customary small chocolate Frosty. It was gone in a flash as usual.

I was blessed to have Rachel take our picture when we got back to the house, and look at that, he even smiled. I don't look too bad myself for a change. Ha ha! Thanks, Rachie Baby!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Full Moon Rising

Can you stand a work story? Every day in the Memory Care Unit is different. You never know what can happen...

I was seated in the common area between two residents who were basically sleepy and relaxed. These two intermittently held my hands but didn't really say much. Across the way the walkers walked about. Actually, they wandered about. I glanced toward the nurses' station in time to see "May" wrap her arms around P's barrel chest, lay her head against him, and give him a hug. "Wow!" he said in reply. I had to laugh because much of what he says comes out in garbled sentences but the wow was loud and clear. Next thing you know she was trying to kiss him. (Did I tell you it's rarely dull there?)

The full moon is rising, you know? Things could be pretty interesting come Saturday. The Walkers already appear more restless and that means they wander in and out of other residents' rooms. "Jo" came in to visit my sleeping friend this afternoon. (I'd left the light on and sometimes it seems to be an invitation... My mistake.) Jo stood by the bed watching my sleeping friend, listening to the CD playing, and rubbing her arms as if she was cold. I left her be while she attempted to straighten the blanket, laughed when my friend snorted and she jumped while adjusting the teddy bear nestled nestled in my friend's arms, and was a little relieved when an aide came in and led her back out into the hallway. About five minutes later she was back to gaze at my sleeping friend some more. She adjusted the blanket again, muttered something I couldn't hear, turned back toward the door and turned off the light. I thought maybe she was done, but she returned again to fuss about my friend who was now getting a little annoyed by the attention. My attempts to lead "Jo" gently from the room proved futile. I led her out once and closed the door, but she just turned the handle and came back in. *sigh* When she resisted my subsequent attempt at removing her from the room I thought I might have to summon assistance but she finally gave up and left of her own accord.

Did you know there are still three days before the full moon?

Peter Piper...

... picked a peck of pickled peppers.

We didn't grow much in the way of vegetables or flowers this time around. A couple of us were distracted by other things. However, we did manage to set a couple dozen pepper plants which are yielding their harvest. Sunday evening Grandpa and the boys went out to pick a few. Even though they aren't keen on eating them, they did enjoy the picking part.




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Funny Stuff

I got all dressed for church on Sunday morning, headed out to the car, and looked down at my feet. Much to my surprise I found that my feet, although both happy and smiling, did not match. I was wearing one black flip flop and one blue. My Darling found it funny as I turned and ran back to the house for another black one. I decided no one would have loved me any less had I gone into church with mismatched feet. I would have been the only one feeling silly but I have learned, at least sometimes, to laugh at my own expense.

Yesterday afternoon at dinner my friend and I visited with another aide. She had been to Miami on vacation  and was telling us about her trip. What she liked best about Florida she said was that if she lived there she could wear her bathing suit all day. "It would be a good way to cut back on laundry," I answered and my friend, who says little and laughs less, surprised me with a good chuckle.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Time is a Racer

Life flies by...

Twenty years ago we welcomed our seventh child, a little girl named Hannah who never believed in being a newborn. None of that floppy baby kind of stuff for her! She arrived ready to compete for her place in the family and compete she did. We used to laugh at her ability to keep up with her brothers because the possibility of not never even entered her mind. She has been so much fun!


Did I say life flies by?

In another four weeks our sweet daughter will be getting married. Although it hasn't necessarily been public knowledge, it hasn't exactly been a secret either, at least to us. We just weren't quite sure how it was going to happen. Now we are. So, we have been making plans, addressing invitations (they're going out tomorrow), and waiting to see how the whole event will come together.

And somewhere in between then and now we're going to welcome another baby girl into our clan. Bethany is due in one week.
:0)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

It Was a Fun Day

It was a fun and busy day that involved children, miniature horses, lunch, a toenail painting party, and a little green worm. The big guys embarked on a tree cutting adventure while the little ones had a wonderful day at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They stayed all day, aside from our little jaunt to see the miniature horses, and didn't want to go home at the end.








Friday, August 21, 2015

Friends, Family, and a Little Bit of Rain

I don't get much housework done these days. Of course, traffic around here has been slower too, so perhaps that is a natural outcome. I just wish someone would tell the Great Dust Maker so I wouldn't have to see dirt accumulate upon table tops and book shelves. Then again maybe if my eyes weren't getting so disagreeable with seeing close up, maybe I would notice the house isn't really staying cleaner even in the absence of children. (ha ha!)

I have come to greatly appreciate my days off. I enjoy working and don't mind spending days with my friend, but there is something infinitely wonderful about the other days when I am able to catch up with myself, a friend, or a family member. Yesterday I was blessed with all of those. My sweet, swell daughter came to visit and encourage her sister with wedding plans. She brought along two loud and rambunctious boys. She didn't know my sweet friend Heather would be coming to visit with her smiling son, but I knew they would both be blessed.

The forecast called for rain and our afternoon plan called for visiting on the back porch. For a time all went according to plan and then dark clouds began to gather in the west. The rain eventually made its way our direction and for about half an hour we were able to stay on the porch and visit in spite of the downpour. There was no thunder or lightening, just a deluge of rain, and so two little boys scampered about the yard making wonderful summer childhood memories. (There is nothing quite like the downspout shower at the corner of Barn 3!) Then the wind turned, showering us with spray and threatening to soak Davin and his wheelchair, so we made a hasty retreat into the house.

Today the house is quiet and Hannah and I are planning to address some envelopes with wedding invitations. I guess we'd better get started.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Tree Felled

The tree was dead. Only the vines, creeping ever upward over the trunk, showed any sign of life. The Lumberjack gazed upward, surveying the task before him. It was a big tree once he was standing underneath it, with two trunks. He knew which direction he wanted to drop it but could only hope for the tree's cooperation.





His chainsaw buzzed loud, and louder still as it chewed through the bark and into the wood underneath. Notches, wedges, and a close eye all helped drop the towering giant in the proper place. With a earsplitting crack and an earthshaking thud Goliath fell to the ground. (I am imagining as I wasn't actually here to witness the terrible spectacle...)





The easy part is over for the Barefoot Lumber- jack. Soon the time consuming, back- breaking task of cutting, splitting, carting, and stacking will begin. Perhaps there will be help, maybe even a party with hotdogs and macaroni salad... Oh, the possibilities!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Out the Window

I was sitting in my friend's room yesterday afternoon, probably crocheting or reading my book, when I glanced out the window into the courtyard. At one of the outside tables sat an elderly couple, he in a wheelchair and she sitting next to him in a patio chair. With one hand she held his and with the other she stroked his arm. She looked into his face and smiled as she talked. Occasionally his mouth would move as though he was answering. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I understood a little bit of what was transpiring between them. We had sat together in the common area an hour or so earlier. She comes often to visit her husband, to hold his hand, to reminisce, and remind him of her love.

I am blessed at the dedication of those who come often to love on family members who may or may not acknowledge their presence.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Work and Stuff

Work and other things that fill my thoughts and time have made blogging a challenge the past several weeks. My camera sleeps often and my days are filled with sitting next to my friend or in her room while she sleeps.

Yesterday was long and uneventful, but on Saturday we had a real live fire alarm. Apparently an air conditioner started smoking inside a locked office. Everything turned out fine and no one had to be evacuated, but lunch was an hour late. My friend's heated recliner appeared to be malfunctioning too as the heat would not turn off. I reported it to the nurse. It was soon hauled off on a maintenance cart and replaced by a new non-heated unit. My friend, feeling ornery in the evening, called me a not-so-nice name, which made me laugh. She kissed me goodbye later, told me she loved me, and all was good.

Here at home, in between work and stuff, Hannah is planning a small and simple wedding ceremony for September. That makes going to work early and coming home late hard.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday

It was a lovely day. We were met at church by several of our children this morning and I got a very, very nice greeting from my little granddaughter who ran and jumped into my arms. So nice! Simon was stand-offish, like usual, but we played a game of "I See You" around his mother. Lucas was his affectionate self and came over to give me a nice hug and lean his head against my side.

After church we went out to breakfast and enjoyed a little more time with the family. I have to say, their table manners have relaxed a bit since they moved out of our house... However, everyone ate what was in front of them, no one was utterly obnoxious, and we had a wonderful time together.

After a quiet afternoon at home and a bit of a nap, James and I went out for a ride. We weren't entirely sure where to go, but ended up at Sodus Point. It was a beautiful evening. On the way home we stopped at our favorite ice cream shop and stood in line even though that is not James' very favorite thing to do. I think it was worth the wait.


Friday, August 14, 2015

I Stayed Home

Today I stayed home. I did not accomplish grand and glorious things, but I did stay home and perhaps that is a grand accomplishment in and of itself.

It has been a sleepy kind of day. I am not entirely certain from whence the sleepiness has descended. Perhaps it is allergies or the sinus headache I battled earlier this week. Maybe it is the humidity. At any rate, in between bouts of dish washing and carpet vacuuming I found time to be lazy and flop on the couch. I tossed a load of clothes in the washing machine early this evening and they are now tumbling about in the dryer. I swept my back porch, watered my plants, and filled the bird feeders. I checked my bank account and called to find the balance on my Target Card. I stuffed the back seat of my van with bottles to return to the store sometime tomorrow. Actually, I stuffed both sides of the back seat... Maybe I'll win a prize!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Little Bits and Pieces

* August is a sleepy month.

* I went to Yia Yia's for an ice cream cone dinner last night. My son Nate met me there and we sat outside together eating our soft serve twists. A lady walked by with a chihuahua that was wearing a white T-shirt with a pink ruffle. It said "Little Darling" on the back. When she was across the parking lot, I quietly remarked to Nate how it was kind of like "playing dolls" and another woman, whose face registered the same thoughts, walked past and into the ice cream shop. As her man stood by, The Chihuahua Lady put something on the little dog's head. It looked like doggy goggles or maybe even a helmet with goggles. Then she popped the tiny creature into a bag of some kind, climbed on the trike, and scootched back. The man climbed on and away they went. Pretty soon the Ice Cream Lady came walking by again. "Did they take that dog on the motorcycle?" she asked.

* My daughter has a pretty new ring.

* I am slowly getting accustomed to the not-quite-daily commute to Rochester. The expressway (or freeway) is the best way to get where I want to be in the shortest amount of time. Most days are uneventful but there was one day where I was tailgated in what would normally be the passing lane. I was already traveling over the speed limit, and since the highway divides in 3 different directions and I needed to be in the left lane to make my destination, I remained where I was. The vehicle behind me continued to act in a menacing manner until the road divided 3 ways and off they went on the far right while giving me that no-so-nice hand signal. All I could think was, "Seriously?"

* My new granddaughter is almost here. Just a few more weeks. (I am just a wee bit excited!)

* James has returned form his job in the Finger Lakes and made a super yummy sandwich for supper; pork loin and bacon, with onion, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise on one of those nice bakery rolls from Wegmans. Just perfect!



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Here I am, Little Jumping Joan...

When nobody's with me
I'm always alone.



So... here I am all alone and able to write something...

There have been a multitude of thoughts and emotions running through my mind the past few weeks, some that I never imagined possible. Much of it has been difficult. I am trusting that in the end God will use these things to strengthen and encourage... but enough of that...

It was a little rough at work this week. Confusion and hallucinations dominated the scene. Last night a local fireman's band came to play in the courtyard. We were inside but have a window to the courtyard, so I opened it up a crack so we could hear. My friend once played in a band and she perked right up when they got going. She sat in her recliner and led the band. I smiled.

It was all very fun and entertaining... until she began to see things. Suddenly she was no longer in her recliner but up on the roof. Maybe she thought she was watching a parade. She pointed toward the floor and suggested we "go down there" but really there was nowhere to go. Each new number had her returning to the roof in her mind and she was getting more frightened and anxious as time went on. I closed the window but, although slightly muffled, the sound of the band still came through.

Soon the time came for me to sign out and go home. The night nurse came in and my friend was helped into bed. The journey several feet across her room was not made without panicked howls of terror as she was certain we would fall from the precipice. No amount of calm words would assuage her fears and even after she was settled in bed with the covers pulled up her mind returned to our need to "get down from here."

Her face was drawn and fearful. I pulled a chair up close to the bed and held her hand. The "parade" I told her had gone on down the road, but she wasn't having it. Rather than go home and leave her to worry alone, I decided to sit out the concert. When the band started to pack up their things a little before 8pm, I put a CD in the player and turned on an instrumental recording of Hymns of Prayer. It had calmed her several hours earlier and I hoped it would do the same once I kissed her goodnight and went home.

PS. Rachel went to see Tim today and came home with another blessing. (See here.)

No Time to Talk, Hello, Goodbye...

I'm still here... but off to work in a few minutes.
Hannah is safe at home, along with her suitcase.
James is working a couple hours south of here.
There is never a dull moment.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Delayed

Waiting for Hannah to get home. Actually, waiting for her plane to take off, from Minnesota. It was delayed. Two hours.It's going to be a late night. Good thing I had a long nap this afternoon.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Yesterday was a good day. I went to the doctor with Bethany and got to see my new grand- daughter on ultrasound. We went to lunch together at Panera and it was really nice to spend some time with her. We should do it more often.

A few weeks ago I had an email from my friend Judy, who lives in the Bronx. She'd told me she was going to be in the area this weekend. I missed her at her father's funeral last year when I was in Minnesota, so I decided to find her and give her that hug I've been saving. She was surprised to see me and we had a nice little visit on her mom's sun porch.

Today was not my very best day. I am fighting either a head cold or allergies. The sinus pain and spacey feeling in my head leave me tired and wanting to sleep. My poor husband had planned a special weekend and it just isn't working out like he'd envisioned. We drove all the way down to the Finger Lakes where we'd planned to stay overnight, only to turn around and come home again a few hours later. I'm hoping for a lesser "spacesuit" and clearer thought processes tomorrow.

Photos from Highland Park on Thursday afternoon.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Afternoon Tea

My friend Deborah and I went on a little excursion yesterday afternoon. I learned months ago about this tea party in a park in downtown Rochester, NY so we set off to join in the fun.

We found Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass engaged in deep conver- sation, teapot, cups, and books on the table. The park seemed unusually quiet for being situated just a few blocks west of downtown. A few people meandered by, the houses were neat and well kept.

I don't know if Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony ever actually sat down and had tea together, but since they were very good friends, it is altogether very likely. I found this written in an article concerning his death, "Miss Anthony and Mr. Douglass formed an intimate friendship when both resided in Rochester, N.Y., and that friendship had continued for many decades." History comes alive when one looks for it outside of dry and dusty textbooks.

I'm pretty sure Mr. Douglass would be heartbroken that with all of the work that he and others did to "banish the color line" that it still exists to this day. What an incredible scene this statue depicts! It's too bad, in many ways, that it is in such an out of the way location.

We didn't spend an incredible amount of time at Susan B. Anthony Square, but continued on and found ourselves at the Highland Bowl between South Avenue and Mount Hope Boulevard, and there he was again, an elder Frederick Douglass standing high atop a pedestal, hands outstretched.

I'm certain this statue gets many more visitors, simply due to it's location. We pretty much stumbled upon it by accident when deciding to visit Highland Park (home of the Lilac Festival) and it has given me even more cause to learn about this notable Rochestarian who, along with Susan B is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery not far from where this monument stands.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

A Little Bit of Dirt

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,...
Genesis 2:7a

Beth and Adam are putting a little addition on their house to make room for the new baby. The process has included the accumulation of one terrific dirt pile out back, a wonderful place for little boys to play (and little girls too because I can just barely remember the dirt pile in our backyard when Dad and Uncle Chuck built the garage). Jake found it alluring on Friday evening when we took the boys home but I'd neglected to take my camera.

On Sunday afternoon I had my camera in tow when Josh came out to watch his dad and grandpa work, and to get a little dirt on his hands... and feet... and stomach...(I almost wished I was a kid again so I could play and not look foolish, but I forgot to bring my sandbox clothes...)






I don't think he minded me taking his picture. Every once in a while he'd look to see if I still had my camera pointed his direction, and he never tried to hide. I do have to say, he is pretty cute.

He walked the ridge, buried his feet, slid down the edge, dug holes and tossed rocks. As long as someone was watching (me), he was content. And when he was thoroughly covered with dust, he disappeared around the back of the house and showed up in the driveway where he hosed himself down with ice cold water. Then he turned around and ran back to the dirt for a fresh layer.


I think he was actually enjoying my attention for once.
:0)

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Little Bits and Pieces...

... because that's how life is put together.

* My sweet Hannah is spending the week in Minnesota with her brother, sis in law, and adorable newly turned two years old nephew. We took her to the airport early Sunday morning and off she flew. It's been weird going to bed at night without having her walk in the back door, or at least hearing her come in shortly after we climb into bed. She will return this coming Sunday night.

* Yesterday, as I sat in the common area with my friend, I took a few minutes, while she was quiet and settled, to visit with another couple of residents who were feeling unsettled. As I talked with (M)Ike, "May" came in, smile on her face, hands clasped down low in front of her. She looked happy. She smiled again as she looked at me and then at (M)Ike and said, "I'd like to kick him right in the a--." I was a little shocked as the sweetness in her voice and the smile on her face didn't at all match the words coming out of her mouth. She continued to look at him with adoration and said, "He's such a sweet man." (Ah yes, it's an interesting place.)

* For those who hadn't heard, our old man Oreo Cookie left us for Cat Heaven a couple weeks ago. We are now down to one cat and one dog. (We are running out of pets almost as fast as we are running out of children...)

Monday, August 03, 2015

Life in the Memory Care Unit

I have to say, that although I am not getting much accomplished at home, I am enjoying my time at work. I do get slightly flustered sometimes, and once in a while I've felt my eyes do that little rolling thing, but there are always moments to make me smile. I can't take photographs with my camera, but I take picture after picture in my mind.

Saturday morning music therapy is already in session when I arrive and is thoroughly enjoyed by most of the residents. They are encouraged to cooperate and help pick the songs to be song. One little lady picked her song (she was offered the choice of two) and as Sam started to sing, her visiting daughter took her by the hands, gently pulled her to her feet, and danced a slow, sweet dance with her momma. B's head lay against her daughter's shoulder, right arm around her waist, daughter's left arm around B's shoulder, other hands clasped together. Back and forth they swayed, and around they slowly turned as Sam played and sang. (I'll remember the song later. It was a love song, but not "Let Me Call You Sweetheart", which was sung next and is all I can remember... or then again, maybe it was and I am just confused. ha ha!) It was a sweet moment, savored by the onlookers.

Later that afternoon, as I sat in my friend's room, I heard Sam's voice outside in the courtyard. There he was, sitting at a table surrounded by five, female residents, an aide, and a family member. His voice was animated as he told them a story. The window wasn't open much, but it wasn't long before I recognized the tale as, "The Emperor's New Clothes." Sure enough, it had the classic ending "But he hasn't got anything on!" Soon after I watched as Sam held the hands of the residents and guided them slowly back inside. He is young, probably mid thirties, and always tender and loving with those in his charge and I am blessed to watch.

I'm not sure if it was the "blue moon" that set off the folks in the facility, but several were in rare and not altogether pleasant moods last week. My friend was a bit more persistent and challenging as well. Sometimes it takes a bit of imagination and ingenuity to coax them into cooperating, but that is also what keeps the days interesting. I wonder if things will have settled down today?

(Today you get flowers from my daughter's garden, because she has flowers.)