Friday, June 24, 2016

Today Stuff

Those chickens sure are strange birds. They flock to the door when I arrive, only to run away in fear when I step inside. I understand the term "chicken" in a whole new way. Did I tell you that Bubba has started crowing? He's not been obnoxious yet as far as I am aware. I can't tell one hen from another, but he's unique. I always recognize him immediately. Of course, you'd worry about me if I didn't. (Perhaps you worry anyway... ha ha!)

I went for a walk with my friend Lorrie again tonight. We parked down in a church parking lot in Pultneyville, walked down to the park, along the lake, and back again. It's been a good week for walking.

I like summer. Flowers. Sunshine. Fresh fruit. Picnics. Just one more week and my Minnesota boy will be here for a week. It would probably be a good idea to plan some meals and activities. Perhaps I'll give him a shout tomorrow and find out what he's hoping to do. We have a baby shower planned for Sunday afternoon and I'm hoping to catch everybody in one spot for picture, or at least all the grandchildren, and maybe, just maybe we'll find a fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Few Flowers

It is imperative that my world include flowers. I planted a few seeds in a lonely garden a few weeks ago, but it will be weeks before any flowers appear. I couldn't wait that long. So I picked up a few packs of annuals at one of the local garden stores. My parents always went to Welch's and so, even though I don't live in Webster, I carry on the tradition.

It's been a busy week. The Cabinet Maker has been out of town on a job in the Finger Lakes, so it's been just me and Joe. Between work and a couple other activities, I stayed busy the entire time. I took three evening walks this week, two with my sister and one with a friend, and had three grandchildren for the day (along with a fourth this morning). My other sister stopped to visit this afternoon and the house just got quiet again for the first time all day. The Man should be home in an hour.

Tomorrow I will tackle the house again. It needs a good rustling every now and again. Perhaps I'll shine the upstairs bathroom and chase the cobwebs out of the hallway corners. And, if I still have some energy left, I just might find a little more empty space in Grandma's room. After that I'll feel like I deserve a trip to that fancy little ice cream shop up the road. There is nothing quite like a soft serve twist after a good day of work. Shoot! There's nothing quite like a soft serve twist after doing nothing all day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

This and That and Here and There

* Summer has arrived, complete with sunshine and blistering heat. I am not complaining.

* My house is finally regaining some semblance of order and there is great hope that Mom's Room will soon be living space regained. The "guest room" upstairs is ready for our Minnesota family's visit, and the kitchen is slowly coming together. I think the trim is next.

* Working 2 days a week has been both a blessing and exhausting. I guess that is how work goes for everyone. It's good to have a way to occupy some of my time and put a few dollars in my pocket. I'm still considering where else to apply as my present job requires not only a whole lot of sitting, but doesn't offer any way to expand.

* I was blessed to accompany Hannah and Sergio to the ultrasound of their baby on Monday. So cool to see little "Russell" (not his real name) in person. And Nate and Sabrina made the official Facebook announcement regarding their impending arrival also. It will soon be a great  and wonderful challenge getting all the grandchildren into one photograph. I must invest in Tootsie Roll stock.

* Keeping up with The Blog has proven difficult lately. Perhaps it is preoccupation of the mind and perhaps it is the amount of time spent away from home. I have all I can do to write a blog of my own and then find I have neglected to visit my friends. Here's hoping it is a season that will pass, because I treasure my blogging adventure and the many friends that come with it.

* And now, if I am to get anything accomplished before work, I must get my day started. The shower calls, the bed needs to be made, and perhaps a bit of coffee is in my near future.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Number Ten

We planted plenty of seeds and are now reaping the rewards. Grandbaby Number Ten is on its way. Nate and Sabrina are expecting their second little one just two or three months after Grandbaby Number Nine makes his appearance.

Speaking of Number Nine, I was invited to go along for an ultrasound examination this afternoon. How cool is that? Little hands and feet, tiny face... Hannah is in love.Yeah, so am I.


I go to a support group on Monday evenings. Every few weeks they draw a topic from a box. The first time I went it was "honesty." I'm putting great effort into practicing honesty. Sometimes it's hard. It isn't necessarily lying that catches me up, rather not always telling the truth when the truth needs to be told. All too often I am afraid to say what is on my mind or how I am feeling deep inside, so I bottle it up instead where it can fester and burn. I'm trying to loosen the bottle cap and learn to let off some steam. Trying.

Last week's meeting topic was "healing." When someone is sick or wounded, we pray for healing, but what we really want is total restoration. We want the cancer to go away, the broken bones to be normal, and everything back to how it was to start with. But that isn't always how things work. Sometimes God heals in ways we don't expect. Sometimes He heals in ways we don't want. Cancer patients die, broken bones heal crooked, and relationships change. Healing requires growth, and growth requires change. And sometimes change leaves scars. Dad's childhood battle with polio left one leg an inch shorter than the other, but it also left a determination to succeed. He told me learned to "push through" when things got tough.

I'm trying to remember, as I pray, that God's will is not always the same as mine. It counts when I pray for the needs of others as much as when I pray for my own situations and the needs of my family. My dad didn't have his cancer healed here on earth, but in heaven he is cancer-free. Our hearts may have been broken when he left us, but the tenderness the wound left gives us new perspectives. We would have loved the gift of physical healing, yet the balm of spiritual healing is what we really needed.

Wounds and scars. We all have them. As I pray for healing, may it be the kind that God gives, because even if it isn't what I wanted to start with, His healing is complete.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Barn Collective

By now you know that in my little corner of the world, dads, drawing, and barns go together. As a child my dad loved nothing more than to spend his days down in the southern tier of NY state on one of his uncle's farms in Angelica. He wanted to be a farmer so much that he and Mom spent the first year or so of their marriage as tenant farmers.
By the time they were done, their savings had been spent in daily survival. Either farmers aren't particularly rich, or he ran into one who lacked in generosity of any form. If I remember correctly, they were given all the eggs and potatoes they could eat and a place to live. Mom said they nearly froze to death the first winter. It was a learning experience. Dad never did become a farmer. Instead he got a job in the city of Rochester, and they eventually bought a little ranch house on a concrete slab, raised a family, and grew a garden. When he got the hankering for cattle, hay, and the smell of manure, we took a ride down to Uncle Joe's in Caneadea, NY, not too far from Houghton College. (That's the backroads trip I want  to take.)

In a way, Dad's backyard garden was his farm. We didn't have cows or chickens, a tractor or manure spreader, but we did the best vegetable garden on the block, which once in a while included a hot pile of manure cooling for a summer. Our manure spreader was Dad, with a wheelbarrow and a shovel, our barns were the sheds he built to fill with firewood to warm the house throughout the long winters, and our animals included a dachshund named Katie and here and there a cat.

I don't know how he did it without a barn of his own and a hundred acres, but he managed to pass that love of country on to me. Maybe it was all those warm, fuzzy photos in his collection of Ideal Magazines. The ones with neat and tidy farmhouse kitchens, delectable baked goods, sweet baby animals, and smiling children in straw hats. Come to think of it, my chickens are probably due to have their water refilled...

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I wouldn't trade you and the wonderful childhood memories for anything in the world!

Come visit Tom at The Barn Collective.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Today Was a Good One

It's been a long, long time since I hung out with my friend Lorrie. Too long. I had an after church breakfast with her several weeks ago when the Cabinet Maker was out of town, but aside from that it's been years. Our meeting last night was an answer to prayer. I've actually asked God for time with her, so when I saw she'd left me a note on Facebook, inviting me to go for a walk, I jumped at the chance. Last night we took a long walk together from her house, down to the Pultneyville Pickle where we ate salads at an outside table, and then back again. It was a gorgeous night to walk.

Today, my beautiful daughter sent me a message and we met up for a morning trip to Babies R Us so she could fix her baby registry and we could do a little dreaming. They're dubbing the little guy "Russell" for the time being, because it is Hannah's practice to give expected children a name whether or not it's permanent. She's not sharing the names they've picked out for later.

It was our day to visit Tim. I called Rachel to let her know I was home from my outing with Hannah and to see if she might want to stop at Yia Yia's for an ice cream on our way out. She said I'd "read her mind!" There is nothing better for lunch (or supper) on a hot summer day than a soft ice cream from Yia Yia's. Our brother was quiet today, but we did catch him smiling when I told a story about getting in trouble for whistling during class in first grade. (I was a talented child even if it was just one short blast. The teacher scarred me for life with her reaction, but my brother found it amusing today and that makes all the trauma worthwhile.)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Webster First Responders Memorial Playground

Today was Kid Day They arrived bright and early, ready for a day of fun. They helped me fill all the water jugs for the chickens, and a little before noon we packed our things into the van and headed to the playground/ spray park in Webster. The park is new, located just outside the Xerox complex, and dedicated to the West Webster firemen who lost their lives in the Christmas Eve ambush in 2012. It's a beautiful little playground.

Hannah met us there, and Bethany came with her kids making it almost like a party. The cousins had a wonderful time climbing on the equipment, running through the spray park, and munching their lunches. I think it was a good day, even if Simon did tell me halfway through that he wasn't having any fun...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Work Stories

My friend was very quiet yesterday morning and throughout most of her nap. I've been around long enough to know that could mean trouble. She was "yanked" from her bed fairly early (3:30 pm instead of closer to 4 or 4:30 pm) and plopped into her chair. When she requested the latrine, I took her up the hall to find a CNA to help. (Though I possess a CNA of my own, I remain in a "hands-off" position.)

By the time the aides arrived to render assistance, my friend had forgotten all about the urge to go and insisted she had no need. Of course, all that changed in the middle of supper, at which time she turned a rather abrupt corner and became incorrigible. Have you ever been to a nursing home where one or two residents call for help loudly and repeatedly? These are the dear folk who can't be charmed or coerced into compliance no matter which tactic is employed. (I personally think many of them are spoiled rotten, but then again, who am I? Maybe one day I'll be just like them...)

I finally gave up on getting the rest her supper into my friend and carted her off to her room so the remaining residents could eat in peace. The nurse assured me "help" would come. (ha ha! I know better.) On our way into my friend's room I accidentally bumped the door casing whereupon she stated, "You almost knocked me off my pedestal." I considered how appropriate her words were, but dared not utter my thoughts. Frustrating as she can be when she gets in a snit (and then asks me why I'm being nasty after I've answered calmly and politely), she is also mildly amusing.

Today at lunch a conversation was being had when my friend interjected a comment of her own. "Sometimes the older you get the younger you get." Again, she was right on target. We spend our entire lives learning and trying to be mature, only to grow old and turn back into children.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This and That

* I've taken my camera along with me on several outings, but somehow haven't managed to take any photos. The Cabinet Maker and I were up by the lake on Sunday afternoon. Out by Chimney Bluffs actually. The wind was whipping the waves into a fury, but I was deep in an allergic fog and passed up the opportunity. (Read a twinge of regret.) I blame the relentless wind for the fatigue that I couldn't shake. I took two naps Sunday afternoon and went to bed with a nighttime sleep aid (or two, if Benadryl counts).

* Did I mention The Naughties latest adventure? They've had a lesson in skunks. Early in the week the living room smelled slightly of musk. Sabrina thought perhaps a skunk had been hit by a car in front of the house, but I discovered Naughty One smelling a bit skunky and he was napping on the couch. Thankfully, he didn't smell too strong. Fast forward to Friday night/Saturday morning. I smelled it while I was still in bed. The house was dark. It wasn't time to get up, and a pungent odor filled the house. I went back to sleep. In the morning I discovered a very smelly Naughty Two asleep on the loveseat, my usual resting place. He stunk like a skunk. We tossed him outside. I think Naughty One was laughing, but I can't be totally certain... Unfortunately, the little stinker must have decided to sit on the back of my loveseat while freshly christened. I've washed the cover, but it remains somewhat offensive...

*A few changes around here. I'm going to be having every other Wednesday off. The companion who normally relieves me Wednesday afternoons was willing to switch off with me every other week and I opted to take her up on it. Three of our house guests moved into a little apartment of their own on Friday. It's a temporary move until the apartment they'd originally put a deposit on is repaired. It was damaged in a fire the week after they left the deposit. I'm going to miss our buddy Spencer, but I'm grateful for the time we had to build that relationship that was missing previous. He's managed to wind his way deeper into my heart.

* I took myself for a walk this morning between prayer group and work. Two miles today instead of three. I rarely get the targeted number of steps, but I'm doing better than I was the past few weeks.

PS. The photos are from previous adventures to the Chimney Bluffs. That baby in my arms in now 22 years old.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Barn Collective

One daddy, three little girls, an old oak table, a pack of paper, and a handful of pens and pencils... And we drew. And we watched him draw. And it was one of the best memories we could carry into adulthood. A menagerie of winter evenings spent around the table with our dad while Mom washed the supper dishes.

Dad drew farms, trains, and ships. He drew people and animals, but they usually turned out clunky and awkward. We didn't mind, we only loved his presence with us and his enthusiasm.

If only we had saved all the farms and barns our father drew. All these years later, a handful remain, far fewer than the number of memories tucked away in our hearts. He passed his passions on to us, and fanned the fire when we developed passions of our own. He'd be amused to find our farm now has a flock a splendid looking chickens. And he's be more than happy to help us eat the eggs that will one day begin to appear.

Come visit The Barn Collective with Tom.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Just Keep Walking

I know, I've said that before. I really fell off the walking wagon a while back and I'm making a somewhat slightly valiant attempt to get moving once again. It takes a bit of determination, and a good friend helps too, especially if they also want to get moving.

After doing far too much sitting the past month, I have managed to get out for a walk three times in the last four days. (Please do not ask about the days previous. Everyone has to start somewhere... even if it's over again.)

My sister is a great walking buddy. She's even up for a walk if she already had one. She almost hero material!

Not much going on here in the way of flowers, so I must enjoy it while I can. I planted a small garden of zinnias just off the back porch. Here's hoping they deliver, even if I do have to wait.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Kitchen Pot Pie

Those chickens make me smile. (How is that even possible?) I went down to the coop late tonight. It was dusk and the chickens had already put themselves away for the night. They were all "upstairs in bed," but they heard me come around the corner of the barn and out they came, one by one. They were more than pleased to see me put some feed in their dish and drop a few bread crumbs on the floor.

I had three grandkids today. Maybe next week we'll go on an adventure, but today it was cold, the wind relentless, and the air full of pollen. I opted to stay home and attempt to clear some of my kitchen stuff out of Mom's room and find a home for it in the cupboards. I put a lot of stuff away and have a ton of stuff left. I'm beginning to think it multiplied while I wasn't looking. Yup, I'm pretty sure.

I'm working on the blue and white dishes. Hid the mismatched stuff in a cabinet with a solid door. The Cornflower Corningware has been in my possession for years. It matches and so it goes in the glass cabinet for now. Here and there I've picked up some plates and dishes, and a cup or two, and, believe it or not, I already have 3 or 4 planters, blue and white, that are sporting greenery. Maybe one day they'll find a permanent home on a shelf or the corner of my counter.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Sugar Sandwiches

When my sisters and I were little girls, bedtime always came with a snack. Sometimes we enjoyed graham crackers or a cookie with a glass of  milk. Most often we ate ice cream which Dad bought by the half gallon from the Webster Dairy. We stirred it up in our bowls until it was soft and creamy.

On nights when ice cream was scarce, and maybe because she liked it as a child, Mom would make us "sugar sandwiches." A piece of bread was spread with soft butter, sprinkled with white sugar, and folded over. Sugar sandwiches sounded sweet, but the sugar granules crunched like sand between my teeth. Maybe my sisters liked them better than I. Eventually I asked for plain bread and butter instead. I think my mom was disappointed.

 Ice cream was the preferred bedtime snack. Apparently it was Mom and Dad's favorite too. In later years the freezer was never without a "half gallon" or two. (Does anyone actually sell half gallons anymore?) Dad's favorite flavors often included nuts; maple walnut, butter pecan.. and no matter how full she was after supper, Mom rarely turned down the offer of a dish of ice cream.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Back to Work

Tuesday. Back to work.

It was a rather nice weekend. I can't recall exactly why, but I feel ready to sit with my friend in the Memory Care unit, so something must have gone right.

I've had my coffee, but not my shower. The bathroom was occupied when I emerged from hiding this morning, and so my routine has been rearranged. This will happen sometimes. No Ladies' Prayer group this morning. Most of the women are away on some kind of outing, so not only is my Tuesday rearranged, but my week is slightly rearranged too, and that's okay.

My house is slightly upside down (okay, a little more than slightly), and that is okay too. It's getting put back together a little at a time. We can still walk safely through most of the rooms. It's only the old dining room, which my mother once occupied, that is impossible to traverse. But now that my cabinets are in, the boxes that inhabit the room will be gradually emptied and their contents slowly dispersed. In fact, some of it might happen today, if I ever get off my backside and into the shower.

Monday, June 06, 2016


We've come to the conclusion that our chicken coop houses eleven hens and one handsome rooster. I've been calling him Bubba. It's Bubba and the Biddies. He hasn't started crowing yet, but he is sprouting some pretty tail feathers and I am enjoying the process.

I have to admit, although I thought having chickens sounded like fun, I didn't expect them all to come running when I rounded the corner to feed and water them, or that I would stand outside the coop and watch as they ate or performed crazy chicken antics. Who knew I would turn into a crazy chicken lady so easily?

Our kitchen is progressing rather nicely. The counter tops arrived today and are beautiful. The Cabinet Maker is presently busy hooking up the plumbing. Before you know it there will be more cabinets in place, a working dishwasher (fancy that!), the walls will be painted, and we'll have a finished floor. Little by little, bit by bit, it's coming together. Kitchens are a process.

I haven't attempted to put much of anything away yet. Kind of figured it was a losing battle if I didn't wait for the rest of the cabinetry. The hanging lights, which don't match in the photo, now do, and the present table will eventually be replaced by a counter height table/work surface.

When we first began I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or what colors I wanted, so I had some help with some of those things. Now I am having fun discovering ways to organize and decorate, and I'm finding myself perusing the aisles of Goodwill in search of blue and white dishes... And what do you know? I'd already been collecting them even before we started. I've found several pretty blue and white planters and dishes already gracing the house.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Barn Collective

Youth and beauty, age and grace.

This old barn stands along Rt. 96 in Romulous, NY, not too far from the old Seneca Army Depot. It was the birds roosting on the edge of the roof that really caught my attention. Of course, they didn't stick around long when I pointed my camera out the window at them. The birds flew off and then something else caught my eye instead.

 I imagine this old barn was beautiful in its youth, straight and solid sides, a fresh coat of paint, and a belly full of good things. Time has taken much and left its mark, but beneath what looks sad is a grace that only time can give, wood grayed and darkened, deep, weathered furrows, and an interior echoing with the silent sound of yesteryear. Aged barn boards take decades to achieve their final beauty. They've faced scorching heat and freezing cold, weathered winds, rain, and storms. Why should it be any different with us?

Aching bones, sore joints, and bad backs. Apparently barns have them too, along with missing teeth and thinning hair. The westerly side of this old building stood up to driving winds which have left her with a swivel to her back side. The swerve reaches from top to bottom and yet she stands. Still beautiful, and now unique. A timeless treasure if only someone will stop to notice.

I can't say I'm looking forward to grooves and wrinkles, gray hair, and missing teeth. I'm already not sure about the aches and pains that sometimes plague my joints, but I do suppose that time is working in me something that couldn't be achieved without a bit of stress, strain, and discomfort. I'm not quite the same person I was 30 years ago, but in all actuality, it's a good thing. I just hope when all is said and done a bit of beauty shows up beneath the weathering. We really can't ask for much more than that, can we?

Join us for more of The Barn Collective at Tom's.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Shovels and Sandboxes

It's Friday and this afternoon I am meeting a friend for an ice cream cone lunch date. I think I'll get a baby-size twist...

Once upon a time, about 50 years ago, when children's playthings were made of metal, a little girl went out into her backyard to play in the sand. This was back in the days when parents were not thought negligent or incompetent for letting small children play outside alone. Even at 2 1/2 years of age the little girl could feel safe playing in her own yard while Mommy was inside the house, checking occasionally on the little girl's safety by looking out the back window while she worked in her kitchen.

It was a  nice sandbox, built up off the ground a bit, with seats on the side and a nice wood cover to keep out the neighborhood cats. There she was, playing in her sandbox, when along came a slightly older neighborhood girl. She might have been 4 or 5 years old, and she was alone too because back in the olden days children of 4 or 5 could roam the neighborhood and still find their way home in time for lunch. (The little boy was not there. He appeared solely for the photo op.)

The first and younger little girl would have been more than happy to share her sandbox with the slightly older child, whose name was Valerie, but Valerie was not happy with that arrangement. She was ticked off with the small child for even daring to have a sandbox when she did not, so Valerie took the metal sand shovel of the smaller child and proceeded to beat her in the head with it.

When the small girl's mother chanced to look out the window to check on her child, the child was laying face down in the dirt, which caused the mother great concern. She called out the door to the little girl who did not answer. Upon closer examination, and with great consternation,  the mother picked her small girl off the ground, and found her covered in both sand and snot. Sand, from the bucket Valerie had dumped over her head, and snot, from crying.

The mother tucked her small and sobbing, snotty faced child under her arm and carried her into the house where she took her into the bathroom to wash the sand out of her hair in the sink. In the sudsing process, the horrified mother discovered that her little girl's head was covered with multiple purple goose eggs. She would later lament, "I was so mad, I just shook!" and "It was a good thing for Valerie that she had gone home!" When subsequently asked by her mother why she had done such a thing, Valerie was said to have replied, "Because she has a sandbox and I don't."

Needless to say, the small girl in later years, had developed a bit of anxiety regarding older children. A little more than just a "healthy" respect, and she decided that Valerie was one of the ugliest names ever. (If your name is Valerie, be not afraid. She no longer despises the name nor does she fear those who own it.) And, there are days while watching her own children and grandchildren play in the sand that she is grateful small sand shovels are now made of plastic.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

3X Thursday

Summer was made for picnics, and picnics were made for hotdogs. Or... maybe hotdogs were made for picnics.... Yeah, something like that. Anyway, those hotdogs are likely to show up in a picnic somewhere this summer, so...

1. Do you like hotdogs? (It's okay to like them, really it is.) And if you do, what kind are your favorite?

2. How do you "dress" your dog? Ketchup? Mustard? The works?

3. What do you eat along with your hotdog? Or are they a meal in and of themselves?

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Tales from the Hen House

Number Seven loves the "chicky-chickies" and asks to see them every day he is here. I've never seen a child so enthralled with a bunch of silly birds.

One of my "hens" has me a bit confused as "she" is looking so different from the others. They say the comb is not necessarily a reliable way to sex a bird, but this one is completely different from the others in regard to the comb and wattles. The feet and legs too appear larger than the other birds. I'm watching the tail feathers to see if they start getting fancy. Barred Plymouth Rock roosters are supposed to be lighter in color than the hens so that part isn't different... And it hasn't started crowing yet.
It appeared as though I had a new "chicken" hanging out with us on Monday. He thinks he wants to be in there but I'm fairly certain those biddies could change that cat's mind in a hurry.

 Yesterday we fed the chickens the last of our picnic watermelon. They loved it! Ate the little white seeds first and then completely devoured the fruit. There wasn't a speck of red left when I went back to collect the rinds.

They're also enjoying their tire dust bath, although it appears they are running out of dust. I haven't actually witnessed them using it, but the dust round about the tire tells me someone has been stirring up the dirt. Guess it's time to dump another bucketful in there. Maybe the grandkids will help me out with that tomorrow.

I have to smile at this little guy when he gets down there in the coop. He really wanted to climb up the hill to see what was on the inside of the hen house, but his momma said it was not for babies.