Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Barn Collective

I'm still here, just busier than I used to be.

On my way to and from work I drive down country roads past fields and farms and think about The Barn Collective. Sometimes I have my camera along, but most days I don't. I haven't stopped much along the way and don't have any new, old barns to post, just an new photo of one I posted in the past. It's a favorite and not long for this world, so here it is again.

For more barns, visit Tom's Barn Collective.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


We started the week with eight chickens. Now we have seven. Eight minus one equals seven. --- I let the chickens out every morning. This morning, as I rounded the corner of the barn, I caught sight of a fox running off into the orchard. I decided to feed the chickens and keep them inside.

I cross a set of railroad tracks on my way to and from work. On my way home I had to stop for a train going west. It was going along at a decent clip. I'd waited about two minutes when the end of the line came into sight, but before it could pass a train heading east came along. The second train was moving rather slow. It was another six minutes before the crossing gates lifted and the red lights stopped flashing. I wasn't in a hurry. Good thing. I ate my apples while the train ambled by.

It was baby day at work. I spent the day with the babies. I do like babies, but I missed my 2 year old friends.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Little Ones, and a Little One Too

I didn't feel ready to go back to work this morning. Pulling myself out from under the covers was almost painful but I managed in spite of myself. I drank my coffee on the way and still felt sleepy on arrival, but the smiling faces of my small friends made the effort worthwhile. I'm learning the ropes, and though I was tired after the day was over, I wasn't nearly as tired as I thought I might be. Maybe I'll survive this after all.

Taking pictures at work is surely forbidden so there are no photos of the sweet faces I see each day. Instead I give you another small child, one I am making a slow but sure attempt to love and understand. I haven't always treated her kindly or done my best for her. Learning to do better is a long processes. I hope she can be patient with me.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bits and Pieces and an Apple Blossom Parade

* I received a Mother's Day card in the mail yesterday. I'm pretty sure it was mailed on time since my boy and his family have been in Hawaii all week. It was wrapped in postal plastic with a note from the mailman about its condition.

* I am suffering from severe fatigue, a combination of restructuring my schedule and seasonal allergies.

* Yesterday was the Apple Blossom Parade. We watched from my son's driveway and had a completely new perspective on the entire spectacle. They lined up on the road directly across the street and turned down Main Street right in front of us. It made for some interesting pictures. (Please forgive the rash of photos...)

 * And finally, on our way to church this morning the Cabinet Maker discovered a package on our doorstep. A new coffee mug from my favorite daughter in law! Isn't she just the best?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Apple Blossoms

Went for an orchard walk last night and took my camera along. The trees only blossom for such a short time. Even though I take pictures every year, I can't resist taking more.

It's Apple Blossom weekend and this time I might actually get to watch the parade! I don't have to work. How cool is that?

My son is having an "Apple Blossom Smokeout" after the parade. Sounds yummy. I wonder what he's cookin' up? Maybe I'd better plan a very long walk to go along with the feast and festivities...

The black flies are biting. I have proof on the backs of both arms  as well as my neck. They are nasty little creatures! If they stuck around all summer I'd certainly hate those all but micro- scopic pests even more than mosquitoes. They're practically invisible.

Nassa likes walks in the orchard with or without black flies.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

So it was Mother's Day. I wasn't forgotten and that is always nice.

We had pulled pork sandwiches, salt potatoes, and pasta salad. The kids played and drew silly pictures. They laughed and The Grandfather was dismayed when I sang the "Gopher Guts" song. All is quiet now. Tomorrow will be noisy, full of small children, and runny noses. :0)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Just Some Stuff

Two weeks ago, while walking around the loop at North Ponds Park, I found a baby painted turtle. He was crossing the paved trail that winds around the park. I almost didn't see him as his shell blended in with the dark colored pavement, but ever since I was a little girl I've had a habit of watching the ground as I walk, and I did a double take as I caught sight of the little guy. My eyes said it was a turtle, but my mind wasn't sure, so I bent over and picked him up. He was the size of a quarter. After showing him to two little girls on the path behind me, I set him in the dirt on the other side of the path and hoped that the Canada geese occupying the park didn't like baby turtles for snacks.

This morning, on our way out the back door of the daycare on our way to the playground, a little gray tree frog decided to go to school. He was lucky enough to avoid being trampled by the children and teacher who made it out the door ahead of me, but hopped right inside when I bent down to catch him. We called the little ones back to see him and then I stuck him on the wall outside the building. He was up high enough to be safe from little hands, and looked like a living sticker against the gray siding. When we returned an hour later, we found he'd decided to move on.

It was a good day. I wiped noses and dirty bottoms, looked at books and colored pictures, and held little hands. I pushed swings, put on little socks and shoes, kissed boo boos, and became a human jungle gym. I like this job.

(I didn't have my camera along on either of my creature occasions... nor for day I found a dead mouse on the sidewalk by Target... so you'll just have to use your imaginations and settle for these old pictures. Sorry the tree frog here is green instead of gray, but he's still cute, in a frog sort of way.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

And That's That

* It was my last day of sitting with G. Staff at the facility is asking if I am going to be replaced. I don't have an answer. I think they're worried. The day was uneventful. I didn't talk to her about me leaving. I'm afraid it would only confuse her and send her into another outburst. Perhaps she'll miss me, but more than likely she won't. And that's okay. I'm not doing a happy dance over being finished, but I'm not sad either.

* Spring is in full bloom. The apple orchards and lilacs are blooming and everything is fresh and new. Too bad I don't have time to traipse about the countryside with my camera. I do, however, have a few minutes to catch some of the miracle in my own backyard. Those apple blossoms never get old. They are beautiful each and every year.

* When Friday afternoon arrives I will have worked 11 days in a row. I think I'll be ready for the weekend, although it's sure to be busy. Rachel and I will be visiting Tim on weekends now and since Sunday is Mother's Day, that means Saturday is the day this time around. Maybe Priscilla will be free to go with us.

* Life is full of changes and one of the things I'm working on is learning to love myself. I haven't always treated myself kindly so I'm trying to do better. I recently started logging my food intake and counting calories. I'm trying to keep up with walking, I walked over 10,000 steps 9 days in a row, but this past week and a half has left me lacking in the step department. I grabbed the opportunity this morning to take a last Wednesday morning walk with my sister. We'll have to walk evenings or weekends now.

* My new work schedule will require me to rearrange all my usual daytime activities and rethink my evening ones. I will need to find a new prayer group or a prayer partner, and I think I'd like to take another ceramic class, maybe hand building instead of the wheel. But first I have to get through this next weekend, take a deep breath, and exhale.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Getting Down to Eye Level

Years back I posted this little drawing. It's about perspective.

Drawn by my then four year old friend Troy and brought to me with a smile. I glanced at his drawing, not entirely sure what I was actually supposed to see. Looking again, I saw big googly eyes and smiles. I commented to my little friend on the faces he'd drawn. He looked at the paper and smiled himself. But this little boy hadn't been drawing smiling faces at all.

When I turned the paper around the drawing's initial intent came into focus. I suddenly saw, quite clearly, what fascinates many little boys, mine included. He'd been drawing cars. Cars with wheels and windows. It was all so obvious that I laughed at myself.

The classroom at my new job is full of small children, children who desperately need a few adults willing to take a moment to turn "the paper" around and look at life from the perspective of a child. Theses little ones are barely out of babyhood, most still in diapers, and struggling to make their words heard and understood. Not all the adults are willing to get down on their knees, eye level with a child, and look at the world from his point of view. You might think daycare centers are full of people like that, but it isn't necessarily true. Some big people expect an awful lot from those little people.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Say "Cheese!"

The Cabinet Maker said my new job looks good on me. Apparently I was smiling when I came in (late) from work yesterday... and then there is today.

I stopped at Barnes and Nobel on my way in to sit with my friend. I bought some books (surprise!) for a few of my favorite kiddos. Perhaps I should squirrel them away until Christmas but that means practically 8 months of not enjoying them and that just won't do. Besides, these are board books and perfect for a few little hands that can't quite manage regular books.

G. is wound up again. Lots of loud singing, angry outbursts, and attempted manipulation. I'm trying to be patient, but it's hard to be pleasant when my own heart is hurting. Thankfully she is cleaned up, tucked into bed, and quiet for the moment. She is far from asleep; eyes wide open, "looking" around the room... It's going to be a long day of patience working.

Of course, that is not the hurt of my heart. This hurt comes from personal relationship issues. We all have them and we all struggle to work through them. They challenge us over and over on a regular basis. Sometimes I react in the right way, and sometimes I respond poorly. And there are those times when no matter how hard I try to think things through, no matter how prepared I think I am, the situation still manages to catch me off-guard. That was today. I'm tired enough and stretched thin enough and likely hormonal enough to want to crawl into a closet and have a good cry, except I have to be at work for the next seven days (including this one).

So, maybe say a prayer for me. Not a prayer that someone else will see things from my perspective, because that isn't really the problem, but that I will know how to respond properly when I find myself in these situations. My life is full of people (friends, family, and strangers) and I must strive to respond properly even if it is painful to that person or myself.

And because we need something to smile about at the end of this post, a cousin picture of my two youngest grandsons. :0)

Friday, May 05, 2017


Grabbing a very tired moment to sneak in a post. What a wonderful classroom full of little people. Thankfully, I'm still pretty good at remembering names. There are 7-8 in our room and another 7-8 in the room next door. An entire garden!

Loving small children, in spite of stinky diapers and runny noses, is not the challenge, but you can keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I learn someone else's way of doing things. There is so much to learn and I'm not used to paperwork. I really just like interacting with the little people.

Tonight I spent some time with my very favorite (at this moment) two year old person. Spencer came to play (along with Daddy and baby brother) not long after I got home from work. We put all the cars down the carpet tube, did a couple of puzzles, read "Ten Little Ladybugs," closed up the chicken coop and brought in the eggs, and after supper we drew some pictures. Maybe me working in a daycare will be good for my grandchildren too.

Oh, yeah. I had a nice little snuggle with Number 10 as well. I like him. (Did I already tell you that?)

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Transition Time

The big day has arrived. I did all my homework for the new job. Fingerprints. Money order for background check. TB test. Gathered paperwork. Filled out forms. This week and next I'll be working both places. A few here and a few there. Sorry to say, but you probably won't see me here much. But who knows? Sometimes I surprise myself. :0)

My friend has had a rough few days. Anxiety took over and she talked nonstop yesterday and I mean nonstop. There was no sleeping, just wide eyes and a mind that wouldn't rest. For most of the afternoon, and even on into the evening, she was planning her grandfather's funeral. As one of the nurses reminded me, he was the love of her life. Today she was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep. He waking moments were plagued with grogginess. Honestly, I am concerned.

In the morning I will head off for two days at my new place of employment. There is not the same amount of fear and trepidation with this one as there was with the last couple. Some of you will remember my "Flower Garden." This is a Flower Garden too, just not in my own home and I am looking forward to tending this one as much as I did my own.

(I won't be able to post photos of my new darlings, so you get to enjoy my grandchildren instead. Here are numbers 7 and 10.)

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Trio Comes to Play

We went out for breakfast after first service at church yesterday and returned after second to pick up The Trio for a few hours. We don't often have the grandkids these days so it was nice to spend a few hours with them.

I made them a kid lunch of mac and cheese and cinnamon applesauce, and The Grandfather spoiled them with M n M's and popcorn. They did puzzles, watched old Little Rascal movies, and played out in the yard. When their dad came they complained that they didn't want to go home.

The Grandfather cooked up some sausage and made a pot of spaghetti. That, along with the salad I'd put together on Saturday, made a good supper. We colored pictures until it was time to eat. After the meal The Grandfather spoiled them some more by offering up dishes of Banana Split ice cream.

It was a good day.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

With Love From Minnesota

I hope going to daycare is as amusing for me as it's been for my grandson and his mommy and daddy. I've been enjoying my son's posts about their adventures.

Jim-  It's 10:00 on a Saturday and I've already had two breakfasts and taken a walk to the grocery store... 

SOMEONE decided to be all ready to go to school at 6:30.
Jim- So far today in adventures in dadhood:
5:58 am - "Daddeee!!! DADDEEEE!!!" I run downstairs. "I can't wipe my nose." Tissues are right next to his bed.
6:28 am - Austin sets off the burglar alarm by opening the back door. It is raining, he's in his underwear, and I yelled at him for it yesterday, but he is undeterred.
So turns out he opened the front door into the porch instead of the back door. Slightly less transgressive, but still sent me flying out of my bed and fielding a call from ADT
Jim- This morning Austin brought his new umbrella outside, excited to use it in the drippy snow/rain! He got less excited when he discovered this would make his new umbrella all wet, and decided to leave it inside.

Jim Yesterday I was considering making Fridays "Let Austin Wear Whatever He Wants" day. Reconsidering that idea today...
Unfortunately he forfeited the Chase costume because he got back in his jammies. He went to school in regular clothes wah wah...

Michele- Aw man! That would have been an awesome surprise when I picked him up! Lol

I hope these stories continue. They make me feel just a little closer to my faraway son and his family, and they make me smile.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

And That's That

* It was an incredible week. The weather was fabulous and I walked at least 10,000 steps every day. Keeping up the streak is an everyday challenge. I'm up to 8 days in a row.

* Not sure if I told you but we are down one chicken. No more rooster roaming the yard. He was fun to watch and incredibly beautiful, I didn't even mind his 3 am crowing, but the liability was just too much. We didn't feel like our grandkids (or neighbors) were safe with him about, and I don't think I should have to carry a broom around my own yard just to feel safe.

* I interviewed for a job on Thursday and was hired. My new supervisor gave me some "homework" which I have pretty much finished. Paperwork and stuff. Got my fingerprints done yesterday morning, picked up a money order for my background check, and sent in my references. Monday morning I'll have a TB test done and get it read on Wednesday before I go sit at the nursing home with G, and that leaves just a few papers to bring with me on Thursday when I get started.

* Today I am getting my brakes fixed. Can't wait until I don't have to wince every time I have to stop. And since The Cabinet Maker is going to play Auto Mechanic at Hannah's house, maybe I can give my little grandson a squeeze or two as well.

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.