Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* It was a slow week at work. I got to go home early twice due to low numbers. It means a slightly smaller paycheck, but I don't really mind too much. Chances are I'll make up for it in overtime eventually, or maybe I already have.

* Hannah and Sergio went out on Wednesday and I stayed home with Idris. We took a long walk, all the way to the village and back. On the way home we passed a young girl (with her mother) selling lemonade. It was hot and I had a few dollars in my pocket so I stopped to buy some. Fifty cents a cup. I gave her a dollar, let her make change, and then dropped the change back into her bowl as a donation. Made me think of my little grandson sitting out in the sun a week or two ago. He was selling lemonade too.

* On Friday, when I took the breakfast cart into the toddler room, my friend Addison came running. When I picked her up, she wrapped her little arms around me in a long, tight embrace. She's not quite two and she's a pistol, but she gives the best hugs! (That's my granddaughter there in the photo, not Addison. She's a cutie, a bit of a pistol, and I'm sure she gives pretty great hugs too, but she doesn't share them with me very often.)
* If I don't write it down, I probably won't remember it... I was thinking back on my week as I wrote this, but it was painfully obvious this evening when I forgot to show up at a dinner gathering. Actually, I'd written it down on Monday, tucked the address away in a safe place, and in the chaos and confusion of my mind, misplaced the information. Thankfully, one of the ladies called and delivered a gentle and loving reminder. I didn't make it for dinner, but I did arrive in time for dessert and prayer. I am blessed.

* I spent the morning at the pottery studio throwing and trimming. Trimmed right through the side of a pot. I guess that will happen once we get daring enough to push the limits. It's a learning experience. One of the instructors was there later, when I was throwing vessels, and gave me a few pointers. I am thankful.

* I was a bad, bad grandma this week and on a very hot afternoon, when Number Nine was filling his pool and watering the grass with the garden hose, I taught him how to get a drink. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Old Water Tanks

It was an incredibly beautiful morning, one of those mornings where going to work is a teeny, tiny bit hard because it would be such an incredible day to play and gallivant. I had an extra minute or two and so I grabbed my camera for an early morning photo. As I clicked the shutter the thought occurred that this photo was pretty much an exact duplicate of one taken perhaps a month or two ago. I chided myself on being redundant, climbed into my car, and went to work.

I didn't think much about the photos during the day. I didn't plan to post them and might have deleted them altogether if I hadn't gotten a bit of a shock on my way home. I left work early. I could have decided to do any number of things, but today I was thinking of my sweet daughter and made my way home to see what she was up to. As I drove down the hill where the water towers stand, I gasped and did a double-take. There on the ground underneath the oldest tank was a heap of metal. The dreaded demolition has begun. I rounded the corner into our little neighborhood, looked up, and took a picture of the underbelly of the old tank. It's missing now, but it was there this morning.

As a small child I watched you turn from gray to blue, to silver, to aqua... Mom would point out the window sometimes and say, "Look! There's a man up on the water tank." And there he would be, walking the catwalk, climbing the ladders, or beginning the monumental task of painting not one, but two gargantuan tanks. When my small son was sick in the hospital in Rochester, NY, I could look out his window, see the tanks standing side by side, and know exactly where my childhood home stood, and where my other children were playing in the care of their grandma. Strange comfort...

Farewell, old friend. For over fifty years you have been an icon, a beacon of security, and a symbol of home. I can't imagine one of you without the other...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Party!

Happy Birthday, Number Four!

So, there was this party I was invited to. It was my grand- daughter on the other end of the phone about a week ago. "Hi, Grammy?" she said, "Can you come to my birthday party? It's July 8 at 2 o'clock, and it's at Grampy's house." I assured her I would be there.

Wasn't it just a few days ago that we were conniving how to keep Gramanita just a little bit longer, long enough to welcome our new grandchild? I was scrambling to gather all my family in one place before Grandma could get away and before the baby arrived to thwart the gathering. The gathering  was successful and the very next day we were blessed with our first granddaughter. It was a whirlwind of activity! We kept Gramanita long enough to have an early birthday celebration for Hannah, and the following Sunday delivered my sweet mom in law to her childhood friend in Fort Erie, Ontario who would give her a ride to the Toronto airport when it was time to go home. I miss those crazy, wonderful, days! And I miss my mom in law too. I pray I will get to feel her arms around me again one day.

So anyway, Aubrey had a wild and crazy party. There was  a homemade water slide, water balloons, a sprinkler, a pinata, snow cones, fruit, a barbecue, cake and ice cream, presents, friends, cousins, and noise. Lots of noise. The best part was that it wasn't my job to keep track of any children, make sure they behaved, tell them to be quiet (or nice), or pick up after them. Yeah, being a grandma is a pretty good deal!.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

The Barn Collective

I've driven past the house countless times, but never stopped. Once it was for sale and I toyed with going to an open house or calling the realtor as a perspective buyer, but I didn't. I never stopped until today. I only wanted a few pictures of the old chicken coop. (It counts as a barn, right?)

A little red outbuilding nestled in the trees. I'm sure it stood straighter 70 or 80 years ago, but the wonderful thing is, it's still standing, even if it does looked just slightly "tired." It's not a chicken coop today, though I'm sure it'd make a grand one. Today it is a wood shed, and that's okay because it's still being productive.

My great grandfather built this "barn" many years ago. While my dad's parents worked during the week, my dad and his brother "lived" with their grandparents on the old farm on Creek Street in Penfield, NY. (It was his other grandparents who lived in Angelica.) Grandma cooked eggs for breakfast (no wonder!) and Grandpa was my dad's fishing buddy when he was a little guy.

Once, when Grandma and Grandpa were out Dad and his brother wanted to see if chickens could fly. They each too a bird up into the barn and put it out the window onto the barn roof where the chickens flapped and squawked down the slope and over the edge to the ground below. The boys thoguht it was great fun until their grandfather pulled into the driveway. I guess they could tell they'd made a grave mistake by the look on Grandpa's face, and likely the lickin" they got to remind them never to try it again. The chickens were fine, of course, just a bit "shaken up." Grandma probably got a few less eggs the following day. Ha ha!

So, this afternoon, on my way home from church, I got brave. I stopped and knocked on the door of my great grandparents' old house and asked if I could take a few photos of the old chicken coop. I couldn't help but think of Dad saying how the kids used to steal moldy, old Pfeffernüsse cookies off the floor of chicken coop where the bakery delivery truck dumped the old stock for the hens to eat. Scoldings came if they were caught at it, but they tried it anyway. Such naughty boys!

Come on over to Tom's. It's beautiful day to lounge about in the shade.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* Where did the week go? Wednesday holidays totally throw off my thought processes. To make things a little more confusing, I went into work late on Thursday and Friday and stayed until six. I had a long snuggle with Derek on Friday when he was the last baby. We walked the halls and he peed on me. I think I love him.

* On Thursday morning, while I was getting ready to leave the house, I heard a scritching and scratching in the vent pipes in the utility room. I was sure a squirrel had fallen down the chimney. The only thing I could think to do was call the Cabinet Maker. I had to leave to meet my sister for breakfast before work and I didn't want any deceased critters clogging up the pipes. He came over and took the vent pipes apart to release an imprisoned and very tired grackle.

* I ate dinner with my sister Rachel twice this week. This afternoon we took a ride to visit our brother and take him for a ride through Barn Heaven. I had my camera along but the battery was dead. No pictures today. Tim was probably relieved. Ha ha! When we picked him up at the house, he was watching for us out the window and singing "Going to the Chapel." Hearing our nonverbal brother sing is a rare and priceless gift.

* Number Four turns eight tomorrow. I'm charging my camera batteries so I can catch some pictures of my grandchildren.  I miss my kids. I know they're grown up and all, but I still miss them. I'm looking forward to a few hugs tomorrow.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

A New Day

This morning a bright new day dawned. I got up at my usual time, drove toward work, and then took a small detour when I was just about there. I didn't have to be to work until nine o'clock this morning. My sister Priscilla had a meeting at her school at nine o'clock too. Since we had the chance, we jumped at it, and met up for an early breakfast at The Log Cabin.

The parking lot, which is full of classic cars on their web site, was pretty much empty, but the door was unlocked so we ventured inside. For half an hour or so we had the entire dining room to ourselves and I found it very nice to have a morning meal with the sister I don't often catch up with. I ordered an omelette with broccoli and cheddar cheese, and home fries. (Notice the photo is old and was not taken at the Log Cabin. It was taken somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains several years ago when this sister and I went off on an adventure.) I saved half of my omelette and half of my potatoes for lunch.

Work was busy and I got out at closing time. This was planned and will be the same tomorrow, only I won't be going out to breakfast. After work I went to my sister Rachel's house. I worked on a jigsaw puzzle with her mother in law, and Rachel fed me a hotdog, some potato salad, and "trucker sized" chunks of watermelon. It was a good day and I am tired. Now that my room is cooling down, perhaps I can go to sleep.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


There is no way to win this game I never wanted to play, but here I am. I think I know just a smidgen (or maybe more) how the folks trapped in the Jumanji Game felt. They wanted to fold it up and put it away, but the game wouldn't quit. There is no ejection seat, no escape hatch, and no rewind button in the Game of Life. No magic words will erase the past no matter how we wish it to be so.

There was no family gathering today. Perhaps my children will never again be gathered into one place for a day of celebration... I can pray to that end, but I can't make it happen, even if it is my greatest desire. Today I went home to Williamson. I traded cars with the Cabinet Maker, sorted through some stuff, and helped him move a dresser from upstairs to the living room. The house is looking more put together than it has for the past several months. This is good. We shared some lunch, he showed me his garden. Naughty Too came to say hello several times, we let the remaining two chickens out to wander the yard for a bit, and we talked. Talking is hard.

I wish I could say our conversations are productive. Maybe they are... but I feel completely helpless tonight. I want to sleep, but when I lay down to close my eyes, sleep does not come. Instead of sleep there are tears of anger, grief, and overwhelming sadness. I have buried my anger for a very long time. It's been pushed down, capped tightly, and left to ferment. I know better days are ahead, but in this moment it feels like life will never be free from this grief. His actions may have landed us here, but it feels I am the one left to figure out how manage the broken pieces. It's too much for any of us to handle alone. I know Who can help me through this mess, but I don't always know exactly how to find Him...

Tomorrow morning I will get up, take my shower and meet my sister Priscilla for breakfast. I will go to work later than usual and work until the daycare closes. I will be grateful for my job in the kitchen and the little ones who look for me each day. And little by little, with God's help and His hand to hold, I will climb this mountain. He hasn't left me. Even when I feel alone He is here. He hasn't left either one of us. For this I am thankful.

And So...

As I work through the trials of life, I want my friends to know I appreciate the love and prayers so many of you have offered and continue to offer. The cards you send, the words you say, just knowing you think of me (us) touches my heart. Whether or not you know the circumstances of our separation, your prayers matter. I wish I could say I knew exactly where to look in scripture for the answers to my many questions or our specific situation, but I know God doesn't always work the same way, or always have the same answer for everyone. Perhaps this is why I find concrete answers so elusive. It's not because He doesn't care how I respond, but because He does.

There are many days when life feels good, and then the moments when I feel as though I am drowning. The road to being healthy spiritually and emotionally has been, and still is, long. Sometimes I fear I may never reach my goal simply because it is strange and foreign. Three years ago my right knee bounced continually when I sat, and every time I laid down I could hear my blood pulsating in my ears. My knee rarely bounces now and I no longer hear that swishing in my ears when I attempt to rest, but my breath still catches, my heart still aches, and mind still races.

Tonight, although the house was empty when I arrived home, I did not go out. I climbed what my father referred to as "the wooden hill," and climbed into bed at 7:20 pm. I am just a wee bit exhausted from the heat, a mild sunburn, and lack of a solid night's sleep. I woke up at 10:30 pm to used the facilities and here I am writing at midnight. Still tired and signing off.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

No Barns Today

It's summer! It's hot! Texas has nothing on us this weekend.

I was blessed with a small bouquet of flowers on Friday, a gift from a small blue eyed child. It was his last day at daycare. I will miss his sweet smile and the little arms that so often have wrapped themselves about my neck. This is perhaps the hardest goodbye yet. Part of the job is loving these little ones well, attaching because it makes us love them more, and then letting go, because they aren't ours to keep. It is an exercise.

Yesterday morning I went out to do some shopping. I wandered through Hobby Lobby, hung out at Barnes and Noble, perused Target, and rambled about Lowes. I enjoyed free air conditioning, picked up a few small items, and soaked in the heat when returning to my car. Finally, I took a walk through Wegmans, gathered a few groceries, and took them home. I was nearly home when my sister called and invited me over to swim. Nice.

My sister's pool is calling again. Just gotta grab my Tangerine Orange Sparkling Water and go.

Say cool and hydrated!

Friday, June 29, 2018


It's been a weird week. I slept so good between Monday night and Tuesday morning that I woke up too late to take a shower before running out the door to work. I had time to throw on my clothes and grab some breakfast and that was it. But since that night I've slept pretty horrible. It's making me a little crazy.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

So Far

It's been a busy week, both at work and out of it. I started going to a new group on Monday evening, a step study with Celebrate Recovery. Still looking to be healthy emotionally and spiritually It was a good sized group of women. There were two I knew from outside of CR and it felt very comfortable. Going to this group will mean not attending CoDA, or at least not attending regularly. Perhaps it is time to move on...

I met a friend at Panera this evening. She had a dessert and since I'd not eaten dinner, I had a salad. It was a good visit. Tomorrow evening I have a date with a different friend. We're going to Chipotle because neither of us has been there before. Next week I will meet my sister for breakfast one morning before work.

The school year is over and our daycare numbers are dwindling. Teacher's kids have the summer off. One of our little guys won't be back next year because he's moving a few towns over. It will be sad to say goodbye and I will miss his little arms around my neck each afternoon. This is the way of childcare. Our job is to love them while we have the opportunity and to remember the days are fleeting.

Tonight I caught a few minutes with a few grandsons because Seven and Ten came to play with Nine. How fun is that?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Barn Collective

Barns. Dad loved them. He loved the farm and all things related to it. As a young man he dreamed of having a farm of his own.

Not long after Mom and Dad got married they moved to what in later years was referred to as "the farm," but it wasn't theirs. They were just the hired help. After a couple of years on the farm, their savings had been spent and they were tired of living in the drafty old tenant house with little to no hope of ever getting ahead. They moved back to Rochester and Dad took a job in the city.

As a child I never knew life on the farm, not really. But I did catch a bit of the bug from my dad who had all kinds of wonderful stories and Ideal Magazines. And it was Dad who would take us to visit the farms of his relatives scattered across the southern tier of NY state. As a very little girl I fed a little lamb with a baby bottle, searched for kittens in the hay loft with Dad's cousins, and witnessed the birth of a calf in the milking barn at Uncle Joe's. I learned to love the smell of manure, fresh hay, and sweet corn on the stove. I tucked the memories away and every once in a while I pull them back out to savor.

In adulthood my husband and I bought a little farm tucked int he apple orchards of Wayne County NY where we finished raising our seven children, grew a vegetable garden, kept a few cats and dogs, and tended a dwindling flock of chickens. One season we had a tractor in the barn, and one spring a few ducks a friend had incubated as a school project. Mostly I chased children, my own and the children of others. We enjoyed long orchard walks, dark starlit nights, and camp outs in the back yard. A little dream come true.

I'm not out on the farm today, but I am forever grateful for the time I had there. More memories tucked away. Memories that can make me sad if I let them, but should really make me smile because they are so very wonderful.

It looks like it might rain today. Come on over and take cover at Tom's and add your own barn photos to the collection.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* I'm still alive. Life is so completely different from what it was a few years back that I often feel like a stranger in my own skin. I'm still me inside, but I feel as though I've been plucked up and dropped into a different world. Going to work every day can still feel foreign even though I am comfortable there. No complaints, it's just different.

* This past Sunday was Father's Day. It was different. We had former NFL player and a mini car show at church, along with a free hotdog bar. Of course I took my camera along. I did not get a picture of Cory Proctor, but I did take a selfie in a shiny hubcap.

* Sunday afternoon my little grandson wore the soccer uniform his Uncle Carlos sent him from Mexico. It came home with Abuelo and Tio Raul after their February visit to Hidalgo. Maybe him wearing it was good luck. Mexico did win the game. If nothing else he was the cutest little soccer player ever! 

* I stopped on my way to work one morning this week and captured a bit of beauty along the side of the road. Crown vetch. A bit of pale purple growing on the edge of the field. I'm taking it all in as I go but I don't often have time to stop. The calves that I saw a few early mornings, following their mamas through the fields, haven't been there anymore, but I remembered to count the blessing of seeing them while they were.

* Yesterday I noticed some new flowers growing in our own front garden. Since Hannah and Sergio  recently cleaned it out, I asked what they had planted. They both looked confused until I asked Hannah what she had done with the pumpkin that sat out on the front step last fall. They both laughed.

* This morning my sister and I picked a few strawberries at a local farm. This afternoon we had strawberry shortcake for lunch, my first of the season. It was wonderfully delicious! Afterward we were so sleepy and satisfied that we both took a nap, during which somebody took our picture. Ha ha!

* a job to go to
* recovery
*crown vetch
* calves in the field
* pumpkin surprises
* strawberry shortcake

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Missing the man, grateful for the legacy he left.

He's not here in person, but I can still listen to him play and sing on his back porch where he loved to sit with Mom, his instruments, or a cup of coffee.   

The Barn Collective

" 'Billy Bob loves Charlene' in John Deere Green..."

In this case "Becky loves Al." I'd guess it's been painted there for about fifteen years now. I remember when the paint was drying... so to speak. I've seen barns with other messages, but this one is special.

It's in rough shape. Trees came up on opposing corners eventually squeezing the life out of it and rendering it unsafe. You wouldn't know from the front, but I took a walk around the back side...

Someone (Al) tried to save it years ago. He built a concrete block support under the beam. That and the doors (where Becky painted her John Deere Green message) have provided just enough strength to keep her standing. How long the old barn will last is anybody's guess.

For now Becky's John Deere Green love story remains. A tribute to the man she once loved and still loves today.

It's gonna be a scorcher today. Come on over to Tom's for a tall glass of ice cold lemonade.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Weekend Thus Far

Yesterday I went home from work an hour early. I arrived home as my daughter was going out. After staring at my computer for a while, I decided it was way too nice out to stay in. I called a friend who I haven't seen in a while and we went out for an ice cream cone. While waiting for our cones, another friend appeared in the line behind us. We had a great time catching up and visiting while we ate our ice cream.

As we sat there a small child arrived with her daddy. One of our daycare kids. I called hello to her. She looked at  me and said, "You're the one who makes our food." :0)  This afternoon I saw another of our little ones in Target. After saying hello to her, she looked at her mom and whispered, "I think that's Miss Martha."  Ha ha!

I had an appointment this morning with the counselor and afterward drove out to Avon, NY to the Western NY Pottery Festival. I went alone, because I wanted to go and the friends who thought they might meet were were unable to attend. It was okay. I went alone and enjoyed myself. I even ran into the same two friends from the studio who I'd seen back in May when my daughter and I went out together.

It's been a good weekend. I've randomly met up with several friends while shopping and the weather has been gorgeous. There's a former Dallas Cowboy/ Miami Dolphin speaking at church tomorrow along with a car show and hotdog bar. They go all out for Father's Day, I guess... I'm looking forward to what the day will bring and taking my camera along.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Maybe I'll Go on Vacation...

I finally figured out my employer's vacation policy. Had to ask repeatedly, and look at the employee handbook myself, but I've got it now. I have four paid vacation days this year. Now I need to figure out the best way to utilize them. Do I break them up into snippets? Take two here and two there? Or do I take them all at once? I'm still thinking about it. Funny thing is I feel more relaxed just knowing.

It's been a good week. I'm learning how to recognize my feelings for what they are, breathe through them, and come out okay on the other side.

I'm still soaking in the beauty of each day, I'm simply not able to capture it as often as I have in the past. It wouldn't do to tell my boss I was late to work because I had to stop and photograph those calves following their mothers through the pasture in the early morning dew, but I do smile as I drive by. That has to count for something. I'm counting gifts even if I'm not assigning them numbers.

* cows and calves in the morning dew
* weeds
* pottery, even the ones I forgot to cover. (They dried out and went into the reclaim bucket.)