Thursday, April 27, 2017

Another New Adventure

Letting go of the old and taking hold of the new. Literally.

I am going to be changing jobs. I had an interview this morning and was hired. I start next Thursday and will take two weeks to work out of my job in the nursing home and into a new job in child daycare. I'm going from one end of the spectrum to the other and I am excited. I'm going to be working Monday through Friday and will have weekends and major holidays off. It's not any farther from home than I travel now and comes with benefits. How cool is that?

The small child in my photo just started daycare too. He is so excited that the first week he woke his daddy up at 6:30 am on a Saturday all ready to go to school! Ha ha! Good thing my son is a good sport. If Number 6 can go to daycare and love it, so can I!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

And Here I Sit

I am at work. My friend is tucked into bed for the next couple of hours. Last night I morphed into her husband and in her irritation, she asked if I wanted a divorce. (Oh, my...) Today I was her mother. Life is interesting in the memory care unit.

I brought my computer to work on Saturday and looked around online at jobs. I have an interview tomorrow. If it works out, I could be working closer to home and have more suitable hours. Not sure if I should hold my breath or not. I'll give more details if it all pans out.

Naughty Too saw me outside with my camera on Monday afternoon and came running home from out by the orchard. Cats are funny creatures; fiercely independent yet needy at the same time. Maybe that's why I like them.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Annual Tulip Tirade

They say flowers will bloom anywhere, and perhaps that is true, but not every flower can survive in a crack in the sidewalk. Sometimes even flowers need a fresh start in a new spot in order to bloom and this year she has three!

Every year I am amazed, and every year she teaches me something new. I am growing more and more certain she is a precious and unusual gift from my Father in heaven, a gentle encourager in difficult times. She is showing me that when hard blows knock almost all the life out of you, there is still hope. With a bit of love, encouragement, and fresh soil, one can come back strong and beautiful.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Coffee With Clay

My two days off are done and it's back to work for the weekend. Rachel and I took a walk this morning after meeting with the surgeon. I'm not sure we're feeling any more informed, but we don't need to make any decisions right now. The walk was nice and much needed. I took some time this afternoon to have a cup of coffee with "Clay." He left me smiling.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Just Some Stuff

I have managed to fill up my days off. Had my teeth cleaned this morning. They conveniently added a "periodic oral evaluation" charge and added $32 to my bill after I'd already told them I didn't want any more "cavity check" x-rays because I didn't have the money. I had x-rays done in September. I've told them I'm self-pay and I am annoyed at the fact that I'm not told up front of any extra charges. Of course, I'm not smart enough to complain while I'm still in the office, so what do I do? Come home and send them an email. (Blah.)

I have a haircut appointment with an old friend. this afternoon We knew each other once upon a time in what feels like a different life. She and I once volunteered at a Crisis Pregnancy Center together almost 30 years ago. She also used to cut my hair but I haven't seen her in quite some time. We have been playing Scrabble on Facebook. I decided to give her a call last week.

This evening I will be meeting another friend for a light meal and a bit of a visit. We both missed a Community Bible Study lesson and thought we might go over the missed one together. It makes a good excuse to catch up.

Tomorrow my sister and I will be meeting with a surgeon to discuss our brother's possible future hernia surgery. It's not an emergency, he just wants us to be informed in case it comes to that point. I am not in a hurry to subject him to any unnecessary procedures, especially something major that he may not understand. But, we are his advocates and we are the ones who will give consent if it comes to that end. Maybe when we're done with our meeting we can go on a nice long walk. I've been needing one of those.

And because I need to post photographs, a few more from the backyard last night.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

After the Rain

I'm not much on blogging lately and that makes me sad. It's been a journey I've loved. I pray one day soon I'll be into writing again.... For now, pictures from this evening.






It rained much of the day. I worked until 4:30 pm and the sun decided to peak through the clouds for just a few minutes this evening. The wet grass looked like a sea of diamonds.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Home Today

No family Easter photos here today. I went to church and then to work. The weather was perfect and I did take my friend outside in the courtyard when the activities director was doing an activity. She'd said she didn't want to but as soon as we were out she decided it was wonderful. And it was. The rest of the day we spent inside, with her mostly in bed or at least wanting to be.

The sun was bright this morning, but has since gone into hiding and a rather cool breeze has closed in on us. I could be disappointed, but I'm choosing to attempt being productive inside instead. I had breakfast with Wanda, or at least I imagined to. Cranberry orange mini scones and coffee. She probably wasn't actually on the other side of the computer, but it was fun to think she might be. I'm sure somebody was out there drinking their coffee and eating something yummy.

What did you have for breakfast?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bits and Pieces

1-2-3! Gone just like that! Tomorrow I go back to work but I had three very nice days off.

- I've finally been doing some walking!!! My Fitbit tells me I've walked over 10,000 steps three times in the last week. If I keep it up, maybe by August I'll be ready to climb another mountain.

- Yesterday I had lunch with a friend. It's become a weekly thing. Sometimes the trials of life bring people together in ways we never would have expected. Our boys are friends and have had some similar struggles. It's been an unexpected but lovely friendship.

- My favorite little ice cream shop opened this month and today Rachel and I stopped to visit Yia Yia's on our way to visit Tim. "Two baby sized twists, please." We made it our lunch and so it's all okay.

- I now have 10 chickens. One rooster and nine hens. Two of them sleep outside the coop. It must be a pecking order kind of thing. Either that or it's a conspiracy to knock the un-wanteds off one or two at a time. It's been a year and I've only lost two so far and we still have more eggs that we can eat by ourselves.

- The weather has been perfect! I am blessed to have spent a little time outside even if I didn't go on any grand photo excursions. Maybe I can squeeze one of those in next week... maybe.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sugar Shock

We have eggs, more eggs than we need (I sold a dozen today.) so yesterday I decided to use four and make bread pudding. I warmed the milk, broke the bread into pieces, and beat the eggs, slightly. Sugar. I needed 3/4 cup sugar. I got out the canister and peeled off the lid. I do wish I could have seen my own expression when I caught a glimpse inside.

The mind is a funny thing. It works fast, so fast I scarcely had a chance to look inside, be shocked, wonder what in the world was inhabiting my sugar canister before I realized what was going on. They looked like manure balls, nine of them, dark brown and half covered with sugar, but of course they weren't.

A week and a half ago I'd made a double batch of molasses cookies and rather than roll the balls of dough in a bowl of sugar, I dropped them into the sugar canister. It worked like a charm and the last couple sheets I'd even snapped the lid in place and given it a bit of a shake to cover the balls with sugar. The cookies were beautiful and cooling on the table. I remember turning around, feeling like there should have been another sheet of cookies to bake, but both cookie sheets were empty so I cleaned up the kitchen and put everything away. Oops! It's a rather good thing I decided to bake a bread pudding. Sometimes months go by between baking adventures and I can only imagine what those dough balls might have looked like by the end of May...

I am not alone in my brain lapse. My sister, intending to make cookies from a cake mix, put her brain into autopilot and instead of cookies ended up with a cake. She started reading the recipe and blindly followed along. She may not of gotten cookies out of the deal, but she did end up with a lovely dessert.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Little Crocus

I've finally been able to enjoy some long walks with my sister. Walking does wonders for how I feel both physically and emotionally, and so does the fresh air. The flowers are poking through, the grass is turning green, and today I saw the lilac bushes are leafing out. Maybe spring really has arrived. I am desperately hoping my days off are nice enough to spend outside.

I was blessed to catch a few photos of my crocuses before yesterday's warm weather caused them to melt. As soon as the poor things begin to smile skyward they are smitten with heatstroke and wither.

The chickens, who uprooted a whole cache of spring bulbs, missed a few. By tomorrow I will have daffodils and the crocus will be gone for another year.

Dad

Eighty-five years ago todaya baby boy was born. His parents named him Alfred, but most folks just called him Al. He would grow up to be my dad and my biggest hero. If there is a communication line from here to heaven, I hope he knows how much he has impacted my heart and life. I honestly don't know where I'd be without him.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring and Chickens

It's raining outside, but that's okay. I'm here at work. The window is open, but I can't hear the rain because the air conditioner is going. Yes, that's right. The air conditioner is running and the window is open. When summer comes it will be freezing in here. Then the air conditioner will be turned off and I will open the window to let the heat in. I do have a system.

I took a few pictures at home yesterday morning while the sun was shining. I let those goofy chickens out to wander the yard. (Today they're in.) I find that rooster both beautiful and frightening. Perhaps the hens do too. ha ha!

On old fence section is propped up against my clothes pole and Coq au Vin found it a good place to show off his crowing skills. I'm not sure if he's trying to impress me or the biddies. He is rather amusing and I don't mind him wandering about as long as he doesn't sneak up behind me. I keep my broom, or some other weapon of defense, close by at all times. Once I forgot to take it with me and grabbed a nearby stick, just in case. Stomping my feet or kicking at him just doesn't work. He's kind of stupid like that. (And so am I. ha ha!)

My herd of chickens has scratched an entire patch of bulbs right out of my corner garden. I think they were daffodils and grape hyacinths. At this particular moment I count it an insignificant loss. Instead I'm hoping those birds can help me keep the weeds tamed this year. Do you suppose they can be trained to scratch out only unwanted foliage? How do farmers ever grow vegetable or flower gardens anyway?

In other news, I've been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I like farm animals but am terrible at marketing. I can't even sell eggs to people who want them. Maybe I need to set up a roadside stand... or look up some great quiche recipes. And here it is almost Easter. I wonder what brown eggs look like colored?

Sunday, April 09, 2017

And So...

I was blessed on Friday morning to go for a walk with my sister Rachel. I hadn't yet fed the chickens or packed my lunch when she called, so we had to shorten our usual loop. Maybe we did 2 miles instead of the 3 we walk most times. I wasn't late to work and I got not only a walk but a bit of sunshine too.

Tonight I am more than tired. I sat for three days, eight hours each, and two of them were totally gorgeous. I opened the window and longed to be outside... My "friend" has been persnickety. Old age is hard, I know that, and she never feels good. To top it off she cannot understand why I refuse to "help" her when she needs to use the toilet or wants to get in bed. She gets very frustrated with me and nothing I say assuages her ire. Last night I reached the end of my rope by 7 pm and took her out to the living room where I would be surrounded by other people. (ha ha!) "Always be nicer than you feel." That's my new mantra.

It is my sincere hope that there will be some good weather left for me to enjoy when I have a few days off. I am planning to walk with Rachel again tomorrow, perhaps meet a friend for lunch, and work three hours in the afternoon. Tuesday is another long day and then I have a few off. Maybe I'll even find something interesting to blog about.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Draw This

 Once upon a time we had a drawing blog...











Thursday, April 06, 2017

Morning Visitors

I had visitors this morning! My living room once again become a playroom and there were squeals of laughter, cookies crumbs, and little voices. It was rainy and wet outside and so we played inside. The Naughties came in and out, tolerating the excited children extremely well.






It's hard to believe that little boy first came here when he was just 5 months old. He worked his way into our hearts and lives and then moved far away. I'm so glad they come to visit when they are back in the area.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Sidewalk Chalk and Model trains

It's almost time to go back to work. I've had a fine stretch of days off and tomorrow I'll be ready to spend the day with my friend, to help her with meals, and sit in her room while she takes her nap. It will be a short week. I traded my normal Wednesday for another companion's Friday which will leave me with only 8 hours this week and 35 next. It all evens out in the end...

Yesterday's fun included sidewalk chalk. We drew in "Grandpa's Driveway." I almost feel guilty when we do because my dad never let us do that when we were kids. We could draw in the street, but he didn't like the mess too close to the house.

We went to the train show with a few of the kids in the early afternoon. Lots of tables full of train cars, tracks, and equipment, and a few tables with train displays running. It was fun and reminded me of the table in half my parents' attic. Dad built it especially for my brother's model train, but Dan lost interest. The train was packed in a box and set aside until my mom's friend and neighbor happened to mention how much her son wanted a train for Christmas. Mom had just the solution. I was a little sad when she sold it, but two years ago I learned it was the launching point for a life long love. That little boy grew up to be quite the train enthusiast...

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Bits and Pieces

Specks and slivers from my week...

- I worked Sat, Sun, three hours Mon, Tues, and my 5 hour Wed, 32 hours total.

- Met a friend for lunch on Monday. Always love doing that. And on the way to work stopped to drop off an early birthday present to my favorite daughter in law. Bonus? I got to hold my littlest grandson and have him smile back at me and coo. (Heaven!) He weighs ten pounds now.

- I stopped at Bethany's on my way to work Tuesday as she said she had my birthday present. A DNA test my kids had pitched in to purchase. How cool is that? Who knows? Maybe you're my long lost cousin! Now to await the results which will take at least 6-8 weeks.

- Wednesday is the day I get out of work early. I stopped at Wegmans on my way home for those yummy sandwich ingredients. I also called Joe to have him let my chickens out for a couple hours before it got dark. I've been keeping them cooped up so they don't go across the street to hassle the neighbors and poop on their lawn.

- My son invited me to breakfast on Thursday morning and I had a great time drawing with my grandson. In the afternoon my sister Rachel and I went out to visit our brother. He was quiet as usual. Sometime during the ride Rachel said she needed to set aside some time to make a difference in the lives of others. She sometimes forgets how much her visits mean to this brother of ours. No one else will make the difference in his life that we do. No one else will make him feel loved in quite the same way.

- Thursday evening found me at our Community Bible Study fellowship night. We ate baked potatoes with all the trimmings. Two conversations came up that left me smiling. I'm not sure what precipitated the mention of my dad's nursing home services, but the woman next to me asked if he happened to be Al Plotzker. (I love when that happens.) Turns out she and her husband used to sit behind Mom, Dad, and my son Jim at church. I was able to thank them for coming out to my dad's memorial service over seven years ago. And then there was the mention of Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada and the discovery that my friend Sally's family tree does a little bit of intermingling with my husband's Teal side. (It really is a small world.)

- Yesterday I stayed home and attempted to clean, and then went out to meet my church women friends for a light meal and a little bit of chatter at Sally's house. And that is my week in a nutshell.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Luck of the Draw

I had a little free time this morning and so I stopped over to my son's house for breakfast. I found my eight year old grandson at the kitchen table drawing. The other two kids were asleep so I sat down with Lucas and considered a little drawing of my own.

I don't draw often now, but as a small children my sisters and I would often gather around the dining room table of our childhood home to draw with Dad after supper. I can draw, but drawing takes effort. Today I decided to put a little extra effort into the task and did not draw cats, dogs, or ladybugs.

On the table was a small doll. I looked her over and set her up as a model, picked up a colored pencil, and set to work. At first my mind wanted to tell me it couldn't be done, but it wasn't long before she started to take shape. When Aubrey came down later, I saw her look at my drawing and then glance up at the small toy. (She's actually recognizable!)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sammy Supreme

Grilled sandwiches are the bomb!

Every so often it is actually painful to sit at lunch, encourage my friend to eat, and then have to throw a perfectly gorgeous sandwich into the trash. When I'm hungry it makes me especially sad, like the other day when the sandwiches were perfectly splendid. Toasted to perfection and smelling absolutely delicious!

I had time to stop on my way home this afternoon. I went in Wegmans and bought box of roasted turkey breast, some Muenster cheese, pesto sauce, and some colored peppers. I roasted the red pepper under the broiler and when the sammy was assembled, I grilled it in my cast iron skillet. It was just as yummy as it sounds. I wanted another, but I am sad to say I'd only made one.