Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Barn Collective

It was Visit Our Brother Day. I almost left my camera home, because he hates it so much, but at the last minute I changed my mind and took it along.

I'm not exactly sure where were were, but it was somewhere in the wilderness of Newark, NY and Port Byron, Leach Rd was out there, along with a Gifford Rd (I remembered because of Kathie Lee...) Rachel was kind enough to pull over while I stuck my camera out the window and our brother voiced his complaint.

Hope you liked my contribution to the Barn Collective this week. See you over at Tom's.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Blond and Very Tired

So, here I am again. I should be turning off the light, snuggling into my pillow and drifting off to sleep... but I'm not. It's likely to be another one of those nights when I listen to a past sermon online and fall asleep to Pastor Rob preaching. At least I stay awake when I'm actually in church.

It's been a week of craziness. I returned home from my long weekend last Sunday night and took a glance at the photos I'd taken. There weren't too many. I had a few from my jaunt into Delaware. Couldn't go there accidentally without a few pictures... The building in first picture I looked at seemed terribly familiar, almost exactly like one here in Webster. I even pulled a photo off Google Maps to compare the two. They were eerily similar, right down to the trees in front of the buildings. I showed it to Hannah who made a remark about the Twilight Zone. Ha ha!

Number Nine was crying in his room and Hannah went off to perform her motherly duties. I went back to staring at the photographs. I was completely amazed! And then I noticed the signs in my photograph. I zoomed in and took a closer look. They were signs for route numbers, 250 and 104... I suddenly felt terribly foolish. It wasn't a picture from Delaware at all! It was one I snapped while stopped at a red light on my way out of town Friday morning. And here I had been going on and on about how the buildings looked so much alike...

I seriously considered never mentioning it again. I glanced over at Sergio who was watching television. I didn't really want him to know his mother in law is a nut case. What would he think?! I wandered sheepishly down the hall to where Hannah was comforting Idris in the dark of his room. I kissed the child's head and that of his mother, and went back to the living room. On the way I found myself smiling at my silliness. It was suddenly terribly funny. "Hey, you know those two buildings?" I said to Sergio.

"Yes," he answered.

"They're both the same one," I told him, and we laughed. This evening when I drove past it, I heard myself say, "Martha, you're such a dork," but I was laughing at the same time. When Hannah came home tonight, I asked her if Sergio had told her about my silly mistake. She smiled and said, "Yes. He did."

Now that I've caught up with myself a bit, and I'm not so tired, maybe I can stop doing crazy things... or maybe I can just enjoy the ride

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Many Adventures of Martha

It's no secret that I've been tired this week, but I must have been totally out of it last week if the mistake in my banking was my doing...

A few months ago I decided to try paying my bills online with Bill Pay offered by the credit union through which I do my banking. It's easy. I set up the contact information, and the credit union prints and mails out the check. Works like a charm! Usually...

Last night I decided to pay my Kohl's bill. I opened Bill Pay and scanned my contacts. On my way down the list my eye caught something unusual. I was about to pay out a very large sum of money, more money than I have in my account. Instead of $46.12, I'd okayed a check for $4,612.00. I tried to cancel the payment online, but didn't find the option, so I comforted myself with the fact that it was dated for Friday, August 16 and went to sleep.

I work near one of the credit union branches, but made an early morning call to them rather than waiting for my lunch break. After explaining the issue, waiting for them to look up my account and do some research, they told me they would put a stop payment on the check at no charge. Honest mistake, longtime customer. And then they suggested I make a call to the company receiving the check and ask them not to process it.

I am relieved to say everything appears to have been successful. The representatives from both companies were very kind and helpful, and the credit union is sending some paperwork to extend the usual stop payment time to six months in order to ensure it never gets processed. Once again I am thanking God for taking care of me in such and incredible way.  As they say, "God watches out for old fools and little children" and apparently middle aged blonds as well.

Stopped into the pottery studio after work this afternoon. I'm missing one sculpture, the one in my header photo, but I found these waiting on the shelf. They made me smile.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

God Knew

God is always in control. A sweet child of mine had a medical emergency this past weekend. I first heard of the trouble through a text Sunday morning while I was still in New Jersey. The request was for prayer. The surgery didn't happen until Monday. Emergency surgery. Life-saving emergency surgery.  Strange how sometimes things just happen, things beyond our control, and God just shows up. And then He waits to see if we notice He knew all along.

I may have been far away on Sunday morning, but on Monday I was back home, and not only was I home, but I didn't have to be at work until one o'clock in the afternoon. I had a doctor appointment at 10:45 am  and had originally planned to be at work on time and leave at 10 am, but my boss asked if I could come in at one and stay until six instead. Going in so late gave me plenty of time to run an errand to retrieve some grandchildren. After my appointment I had time to run in Wegmans and pick up a few lunch items for a grandkid lunch, take them home, and still arrive at work on time. Timing is everything and I find God's ability to arrange schedules quite astounding. (He's done this before...)

My child in need is home recovering. I was able to pay a visit last night after work. (Keeping the details vague. Perhaps this child of mine will tell the story one day or allow me to share. For now I'm respecting privacy and trying not to overstep boundaries.) Let me tell you, I am a much blessed mom.

Monday, August 12, 2019

A Long Story About My Mini Vacation

I am a little exhausted tonight. I guess all that driving and staying up late has caught up with me...

I already mentioned how I inadvertently ended up in Delaware. I didn't say that I'd already turned around on 95 North to head south prior to crossing the state line, or how when I realized (in Delaware) that I should be going north, and got off (again) to turn around, that the on-ramp was closed due to construction. I had to follow a detour to find the highway again.  After crossing back into Pennsylvania, I stopped at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center for a potty break and got back on the road only to discover, after finally crossing the bridge into New Jersey, that my handwritten directions were missing. I had no idea how far I'd traveled off course, or that the remainder of my own directions, even if I did find them, were pretty much useless until I got closer to Heather's house..

I crossed the Commodore Barry Bridge from PA into NJ, and finding myself confused (and without directions), I turned south on Rt 130. I didn't go far before turning onto a dirt road. I got out of my car to look for the paper with the roads and route numbers and found it between the seat and driver's side door. I started north, felt unsure again, and took another exit to turn around go south once more, but the on-ramp for Rt 130 was unmarked and confusing. For the very first time on the trip I wanted to panic, but I decided not to. After braving the on-ramp, I connected again with Jen, turned around for what felt like the hundredth time, and started north again. I needed to stay on the highway, which soon turned to I-95, for about 40 miles before reaching my destination, from the exact opposite direction that I'd anticipated the entire trip. No wonder I was confused! Where was my trusty Road Atlas?

Heather and I had a wonderful time together. The weather was fully cooperative. We ate grilled cheese and fries at The Pop Shop  on Friday night, stopped for lunch in a diner on Saturday before making a visit to Wheaton Arts and wandered about the campus. Our favorite spot was probably The General Store, just because. We considered going to the boardwalk, but it was another hour away and it was almost dinner time. We opted to head for home and have the girls bring the babies over for pizza. Heather's daughter does foster care. (The photo is her son Davin.)

We stayed up too late on Saturday and Sunday morning arrived all too quickly. (Vacations are like that.) After the fiasco with being lost and miles off course, I was gifted a gently used Garmin by Heather's sister Jen. After years of resistance to a GPS I acquiesced and accepted the offer. Alan programed "Tom" to recognize home, but before getting on the highway north, I had another stop to make.

Grayce and I have been friends on Facebook since January of 2010. I am also friends with her sister Marilynn who I have met briefly years ago when her daughter lived nearby in East Rochester. We met through other Facebookers named Teal, some of them distant relatives. (Marilynn and Grayce are sixth cousins to my father in law.) I knew Grayce lived in New Jersey, but I didn't know where. I decided to get on my computer and see if I could locate her whereabouts. She was just fifteen minutes away! I sent her a message Saturday morning and had a reply just minutes later. We met Sunday morning and had a lovely visit. She made us a light lunch and we talked like old friends for hours before I looked at my phone and knew it was time to hit the road. I am so glad I looked her up.

By 2:45 pm, "Tom" (not to be confused with The Backroads Traveler) and I were on the road. He's a mighty fine navigator but a bit insistent if I make what he considers to be an unexpected detour (or potty stop). He also told me to "take the highway" several times, but he was most insistent when I did not keep left and merge onto I-90 on my way out of Syracuse. It was miles before he settled down and recalculated our route down 370 to 104. All in all he's a pretty good traveling companion.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Where in the World is Martha?

I had a wonderful weekend mini vacation. On Friday I drove to... Delaware. By accident. (See photo...) My directions, hand written by me, got a little confused when I missed a major exit and ended up south of Philadelphia instead of staying north. Rout 476 suddenly ended and turned into Interstate 95. Although slightly confused, I went south like my directions said. I knew something wasn't right when I crossed the state line into Delaware. Ha ha! There was no panicking, just a phone call or two to my friend in New Jersey, and then her sister who is better with directions than Heather. Jen helped me get headed back in the right direction and I finally reached my destination. It only took two hours longer than necessary.

It's really too late to write tonight. I don't have to get up too early, but I do have a doctor appointment and am supposed to work in the afternoon. Any other stories will have to wait until tomorrow.

The Barn Collective

South Jersey barn this morning. It was part of a glass making complex we visited yesterday in Millville.
I'll be heading home this afternoon, after I meet another friend for breakfast.

See you at Tom's!

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Long Weekend for Me

Time to go to sleep. I am way sleepy and I've had two nights of decent sleep the past two nights. No afternoon coffee those days... And I so love my afternoon coffee. Tomorrow I shall wake early, pack my bag (or more likely repack it) and drive off into the sunrise. I'm going on a mini vacation and taking my camera along.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Bouncing About

Many thoughts are bouncing about my mind this week. Maybe one day soon I will be able to get them out of my mind and into words... for now they are bouncing too fast to capture.

Sunday-  The Trio had a blast at Vacation Bible School and I was invited to the closing program. It was wild! (Wild West theme) It was a little strange to be at this particular church that we attended while my mom was living with us.

Monday- Quick trip to the chiropractor after work, and then I came home. Felt teary. Called my sister. She came over and we went for a longish walk. I felt better afterward.

Tuesday- Song on the radio in the morning. Appointment with the counselor after work. He always makes me think. (I guess that is his job. Not giving answers, but getting me thinking.)

Wednesday- I came home after work today, mixed up some banana bread, and then went out to fill my gas tank. Took a run to the pottery studio. Found some sculptures on the shelf and glazed them. Came back home again.

Thursday- Working from 9-6 tomorrow. Boundaries Group following.

Friday- I have the day off and will be going out of town for the weekend. Just a little vacation to New Jersey. I was told to let my hair down a little, and have a beer. Ha ha! I don't even like beer.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

The Gift of a Song

Weekends have been emotional lately and this past one was no exception. The road to healing is long and often difficult. I am constantly aware of the journey. Sometimes I'm not sure how to go on, but Jesus always knows that.

I am grieving on multiple fronts. One of the losses is the piece of property on Shepherd Rd. in Williamson. It was everything I ever could have wanted in a home. I soaked it in, tucked memories away, and thanked God for how He had blessed us with such a place. It is no wonder my heart aches... But God. He knows the ache I carry deep inside. He knows I can't go home, and so this morning He gave me a song.

August 10, 2013 titled "Blessed"

I've heard the song before, but it touched me in a different way this morning. The car radio had just turned on when I heard the words.  

"... Yesterday's a closing door 
You don't live there anymore 
Say goodbye to where you've been 
And tell your heart to beat again..."

Sunday, August 04, 2019

The Barn Collective

We took our brother for another ride through the Wayne County countryside this afternoon. He didn't appear to mind Rachel's stopping along the way so I could capture a few photos, but he did seem especially emotional. Perhaps it was his own memories of days gone by as I shared a few childhood happenings. I so wish he was able to share what is on his heart and in his mind. I want to know what he remembers.

We listened to Dad's music and I sang a few lines of the old songs while Tim sniffled and wiped his nose. (I'm not sure if it was my singing or an old memory that triggered the tears.)

At one point I mentioned the little creek that used to run between our neighborhood and the woods at the dead end. I have a long ago memory of Mom helping me over the water when we walked to visit a friend. I said how it was just Mom and me, and that Tim must have been out at Elim, a Christian school for the deaf near Chicago before Priscilla was born. I thought I saw him smile for a brief second, and then he was sniffling all over again.

The farms along the way made me think of Dad's Uncle Joe and the dairy farm he had near Houghton, NY. It wasn't a pretty barn, just a low-slung concrete structure to shelter a herd of milk cows. We talked of the names of Dad's cousins, Stanley, Sharon, Sheryl, Sally Sue, Keith, and Gary. They'd all seemed so very grown up to me as a little girl, and yet they were all living home and were probably still just kids themselves.

I know my brother remembers these people and places too. Their mention often triggers tears, and I'm not totally surprised. It's most often sweet, sweet memories that make me cry as well.

Come visit Tom and check out some more old barns and have a glass of tea,

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* Summer makes days at the daycare unpredictable. I know I'll be working in the kitchen between 9 am and 1 pm, but other than that I never really know for sure. Tomorrow morning I start at 6:30 in the toddler room.

* I've nicknamed one small child "Rembrandt." You don't want to know why... What? You do want to know? Let's just say he found something rather gross to paint the walls with. And he made it himself. And now the room must be steam cleaned and sanitized.

* I love our babies. And toddlers. And three year olds. And UPKers. And school aged kids. I hate Thursdays in the summer when those Thursdays are Ice Cream Days. Not all children have $ for ice cream. Naughty children are threatened with losing their ice cream all. day. long.  Some naughty children have nothing to lose since they aren't getting ice cream anyway and therefore find tormenting the teacher a source of entertainment. (I am not the teacher.) Hate Thursdays in the summer. Love the kids.

* This week I managed to make several trips to the pottery studio. Only time will tell if the trips were worth the while. Well, as far as the pieces go. Spending a little time with my hands in the mud is always worth the while.

* I'm a little better every day. (I emphasize progress over perfection.) Had a very nice lunch with my friend Marlene yesterday afternoon. Knowing I'm going to get out early is nice. We needed a lunch out and yesterday was the perfect time. I also had late afternoon/evening time to go out with Hannah and Idris to the Carter's Store and Trader Joe's. All time well spent.

Monday, July 29, 2019


There's one to chew on for a bit...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Going Back

A nap was imperative this afternoon, so I set the alarm for 20 minutes and crashed. The house was empty when I woke, my sister didn't answer her phone, and I needed to get out, so I took a drive...

It's been almost six weeks since James sold the farm. I hadn't driven out there until today. It was an emotional venture. There were a few tears and a pain deep inside my heart, but it was something I felt I had to do. The little gray house with the barns isn't home anymore and it never will be. Jon and Sarah live there now.

The little house I live in now has been home since forever and it is full of memories too. They are different kinds of memories, memories of Mom and Dad and childhood. The time I spent in this house as a child isn't much longer than I lived on the farm out in Williamson, only a year or so longer, but the emotions evoked by the farm are etched deep. This is where I soaked in the beautiful moments and purposed to be present... and this is why the tears. I still feel deep inside what I felt those days; the sun hitting my skin as I picked blueberries, the gnarly, old apple trees in the orchard, and the evenings with Bethany on the tractor tire swing around back. The Naughties, the chickens, the children I babysat. Coffee on the steps, picnics on the porch, and mornings at the bus stop... Letting go is hard, but even if I wanted to go home... it is impossible.

Life is not miserable. I have so much to be grateful for, so much to love, and so many wonderful moments yet ahead. God is still good, and He still loves us. All of us. And He has a plan.

The Barn Collective

It was mid afternoon when my phone let me know I had received a text. I peeked at it, even though I was still at work, and found it was my sister Priscilla inviting me to join her for dinner. I readily accepted her invitation. On my way to her house I collected a couple photos (because I had my camera along like Tom said to have it).

I drove down Canandagua Road and discovered Grandview Farms. I will need to pay them a visit one day. I do love farm markets and they have one. I also heard they are selling ice cream and I could always use more of that. Ha ha!

Just up the road a short piece, I found another great barn. I don't know a thing about it, but it looks interesting. The fence is pretty cool too.

I just love bright summer weekends and Sundays are a great day to set up a lawn chair and visit with friends. Come on over to Tom's and bring your chair along.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

This Weekend So Far

Last night I had the rare privilege of staying with Bethany's kids while she and Adam went out. I say "rare" because it's been a long time since I spent the evening there with just the kids. We ate pizza and watched "Chicken Run". And then, because he so liked the movie when they watched it at school, Josh introduced me to "Wonder." I loved it, and I think I need to watch it again.

This morning I played in the mud for a while. It was relaxing. There are times when my mind is not ready to sit, but today was good, even if I did sit alone. There are now more people sculptures drying on my shelf, and two glazed bowls awaiting the kiln. I took a look at the bisque shelf out of curiosity and found two pieces with my name on the bottom! I really need to get a notebook and keep better track of what I have out there...

My people were home today and so I stuck around the house this afternoon. Hannah was babysitting for the day and when the afternoon grew hot, we all fell asleep. When it was cool enough to play in the yard, we ventured outside and talked about what kind of things we might want to do with the back yard, like pull up the old bricks that were once the patio and are now broken and out of place. When evening was settling in, my sister Rachel came over and we took a long walk to the village of Webster and wound our way through the old neighborhood on the other side of Route 250 until my feet and legs were sore and tired.

It's been a very nice weekend so far.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Like Father, Like Son

I can't help but smile when I see my own children be great role models for their children. "I want to snuggle Logan like daddy does," my grandson told his mom. He's not yet five and he's doing a great job of snuggling his baby brother.

Nothing makes a mom's heart swell more than seeing her children love, care for, and protect their younger siblings. Number Seven might be territorial and protective when it comes to his toys, especially his dinosaurs, but it looks like he's off to a wonderful start when it comes to taking care of Number Twelve.

As for my own son, his love of babies goes all the way back to being a very small boy. He was just two years old when he became attached to his sister's abandoned doll, named her Elizabeth after a friend's baby, and took her all the way to New Mexico with us on vacation. Such a tender heart... and now his arms are full of his very own little ones and he is teaching them tenderness as well.

According to my daughter in law, Spencer "was so proud when Logan started to drift off into sleep."  She says, "More is caught than taught!" and you know, she is absolutely right. (I'm thinking that big boy caught a bit of the Baby Bug from his very own mom because there was nothing much sweeter than falling asleep with my very own baby snuggled in my arms.)

(I stole the pictures. You don't think they'll mind, do you?)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

You Silly Goose!

It's time to settle down and go to sleep, but I must tell you about my silly goose encounter first...

I was off to a late start yesterday morning. Goofed around a little too much before heading out the door and didn't leave myself much margin for error. All was going well and I was making good time until I was about halfway up Plank Rd.

It was an unusual sight. A gathering of geese in the middle of the road. I've seen groups of geese crossing the road, but this was not a crossing. Oh no. These geese were walking straight down the middle of the road, going the same direction as me. I beeped the horn but it didn't faze them in the least. That's when I heard myself say, "You've got to be kidding me!" but I was smiling too because it was so ridiculous.

I wasn't sure what to do because they were in both lanes and onto the shoulder of the road on my side. Then I remembered my camera. (See, Tom. Sometimes I actually take it along. Just in case a flock of geese is blocking the road.) I wondered how long I was going to be stuck behind this slowly waddling crew who obviously couldn't care any less about whether or not I got to work on time.

In the distance a vehicle was approaching from the opposite direction. The geese could see him coming, and as luck would have it, there was just enough room on the shoulder of the west bound lane for him to sneak by on the side. His passing convinced the crowd to abandon that side of the road completely and totally invade mine, which made it possible for me to pass in the other lane.

Crazy, crazy creatures!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Fashioning Figures

Last night I came home after work. I was tired and I was achy. I needed to get in bed early and so I came home. My people were downstairs when I arrived, but soon after I came upstairs the house fell silent and I was alone. It was an empty, aching silence, and though I am fully aware the problem is mine, I remain overwhelmed by sadness if I let the emptiness take me by surprise. Being tired couldn't have helped.

Tonight, after a visit to the therapist's office, I made my way to the pottery studio for a bit of mud therapy. Although there wasn't much conversation, I wasn't alone. The shelf full of glazed work held a few treasures with my name on them, or at least my fingerprints. I was expecting to find my last sculptures, but was surprised once again by the presence of three small, speckled vessels.

I have "rescued" a couple of pieces from the box of discarded bisque-ware and broken pottery. They make fine sitting spots for molded figures whose feet dangle precariously over the edge.

It was a relaxing hour or so of fashioning figures and perching them atop unwanted pieces. Actually, the bottom piece may have been my own, but there was no signature on the bottom, just a penciled date telling when it came out of the kiln. It looks mighty fine with this fellow taking a rest on its turned up bottom, and I feel better knowing it's been put to good use. Playing in the mud is as great therapy now as it was when I was a very small girl with a stick, a mud puddle, and a friend.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

National Ice Cream Day

Today was the third Sunday in July and that means National Ice Cream Day. It was an epic celebration! Rachel and I stopped at Yia Yia's on our way home from visiting our brother Tim, and we both had soft ice cream cones with sprinkles that cascaded down the sides of the ice cream and onto our hands. A warm breeze made keeping up with the drips literally impossible and I had to shake melted ice cream and rogue sprinkles from my fingers more than once. The experience was delightful!

This evening was a gathering of family in honor of Hannah and her 24th birthday, which was last Thursday. We had brownies and ice cream with whipped cream and various garnishes. (Yes, I had more ice cream, because after all it was National Ice Cream Day...) We had a great turnout. James and four of her six siblings came, along with two sisters in law, a brother in law, and seven nieces and nephews. She is much loved.

Although I am not looking forward to hearing my alarm beep in the morning, I am ready to be back at the daycare and see the kids and my coworkers. I can't remember what's for lunch tomorrow, but I do know I forgot to take out the turkey roll... Ha ha! Those turkey sandwiches will get us every time. (Looks like I'll be thawing it under running water tomorrow...)