Wednesday, March 22, 2017

And the Years Fly By

I found this in my Facebook memories this morning... It was part of a challenge from a friend to post a verse of scripture for seven days.

"Fifty one years ago today (now it's 53...) it was Palm Sunday. A tiny baby girl made her way into this world and took her first breath. Her parents named her Martha... I'm always disappointed when my birthday falls on Sunday and it isn't Palm Sunday. It's only happened once since I was born (in 1970) and isn't scheduled to happen again any time in the next 20 years. I'll probably never have another Palm Sunday birthday in my lifetime, but it always feels special just the same.

So, my second scripture is Matthew 21:8-10

And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Hosanna in the highest!”
And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
Maybe they should have named me Hosanna. Ha ha!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Writing, Writing, Writing

My blog is eleven years old. For years I wrote almost every day. I drove the Cabinet Maker crazy but I had read "if you want to be a writer, the best thing to do is to write each and every day." It didn't have to be anything grand or glorious, just a steady flow of words from the heart. And so I wrote.

It's quite obvious that some pieces are better than others. Some are funny, others serious. Writing has preserved silly kid stories, family history, and childhood memories. It's carried me through dark days and difficult times. I've said a final goodbye to both my parents, cried with friends and family, and celebrated weddings and the births of ten grandchildren. I've recorded each and every one.

Writing is harder these days. I spend many hours sitting with my friend in the nursing home. My days aren't as fun or amusing and the stories feel redundant. I'm in a different season, one I don't know quite how to process. I miss the days of silly children running round and round my kitchen table while my aged mother told them to "slow down." I'm trying to keep up with reading blogs as well as writing, but I fear I'm lagging behind... Thankfully, spring is on its way, and with spring comes sunshine, fresh air, and new life, so I'm looking forward to finding a friend or two for a photo excursion, inviting my kiddos and their kiddos over for a picnic, and finding my way down to the lake.

Don't give up on me quite yet.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ouch!

I haven't had a bad headache in months, probably because of my regular visits to the chiropractor, but the storm threw off my schedule, a few residual hormones kicked in, and for one reason or another I found myself in pain when I woke up yesterday morning. It had to be a Sunday... From the back of my right eye, through the right side of my head, down my neck, and into my shoulder blade. I can hear the popping if I flex my shoulders and it feels a little bit like a knife in my back. Fun stuff.

I took my headache to work with me after church yesterday and thought how some days it is a good thing that I do a lot of sitting. Then again, more movement might mean I would be distracted from the pain. Maybe. I used to curl up in a ball and sleep these headaches off but that is not to happen today. I'm giving my daughter a ride to her chiropractor appointment... Maybe he'll pop me back in shape too while  I'm there because I don't have time for curling up and going to sleep.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Making Up for Lost Time

I missed two days of work due to the storm this past week, so when my boss sent a text saying this weekend was available, I decided to accept the hours. In the meantime I found the backyard snow sculptures pretty impressive. Half of our snow accumulation blew away before the warm up even began.

 Dips and swirls. A friend said it looks like a desert landscape, but I found no miniature camel to place in the vast expanse.

Out by the door to the chicken coop and all along its outer edge was a drift of sculpted snow sharpened into pointed peaks along a narrow pathway between the drift and the coop. The bin of feed was all but buried, the hinged lid barely, but still accessible, between the pointed peaks and the wall of the chicken house. We could get the door open just enough to squeeze through to feed and water the peckers. (They were a little over zealous today and pecked my fingers...)

 Today the melting snow, which had collected on the roof of the coop (which is underneath the barn roof), dripped water on my head as I unhooked the door and filled my container with feed. I was puzzled at first, but then I remembered the ferocious swirling blizzard and how it had even made it's way around the backside of the enclosure and lay in a thin blanket across the rear edge of the interior. The chickens have been inside for about a week's time. The one day I offered to let them out, they took one look at the snow and decided to stay in. I am struggling with their insistence on crossing the street to visit the neighbor's yard. I am less worried about their safety, than that of my neighbors. Mr. Rooster has quite the attitude and I really don't need him deciding to take out his aggression on any unsuspecting victim. It's been suggested that maybe I should try keeping him in when I let the hens out. Maybe I'll try it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Second Snow Day

After looking out the windows, weighing my options, and seeking opinions, I decided to stay home from work for a second day. I didn't really feel like staying home, but the weather is so awful and the drive is 40 minutes in good weather. If my part in her care was absolutely imperative, I'd have braved the elements, but even on good days I typically arrive to a sleeping companion. She is awakened for lunch, eats as little as she can get away with, is toileted, and then put into bed from about 2 pm until about 4:30 pm. It just didn't seem worth the risk today, although I'm sure the staff at the facility would have been appreciative. (picture courtesy of the facility's FB page)

It's hard to tell how much it's snowing when the wind is blowing so constantly, but my son in law posted a few pictures that show how deep it is at their house. I remember many winters when my dad shoveled that driveway by hand.

The baby was supposed to show how deep the snow was, but the angle is a little off and all you really notice is his cuteness. He's too little to play outside this year, but it won't be long before he's out there helping his daddy clear the driveway.

The storm, along with its wind, is supposed to dissipate sometime between tonight and tomorrow. Between the windstorm last Wednesday and this week's blizzard, some school districts lost four days of school in the past week! In a few days it will get warm again and winter will be over. The snow will melt and we can think about spring and daffodils. March always has the last big snowstorm and it's typically a big one. Time to let the lion rest so the lamb can come out and play.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Wildness of the Weather

Last week it was wind, this week it's snow. I found a flock of linemen parked by Target yesterday. They were just coming back from grabbing a bite to eat across the street when I pulled up. They really are unsung heroes.

I was given the choice of whether or not to go into work today. Seeing as the weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate, and seeing as it's already a 40 minute drive, across the Irondequoit Bay bridge both ways, and seeing as my friend will be warm, hopefully well fed, and well taken care of with or without me, I decided to stay home where I will be safe, warm, well fed, and taken care of. No one will have to rescue me from a snowbank or a car accident, and I won't be sleeping in a nursing home recliner overnight.

It looks as if we lost a bit of roof in last week's windstorm. The old migrant shack (yes, seasonal workers actually once lived there) isn't our favorite outbuilding, but in spite of its appearance, it's still functioning. It's a great winter shelter for Ben's old Ford truck, a storage area for milled lumber, and it's holding that old silver maple up in windstorms, ice storms, and blizzards.

My youngest son took off for Minneapolis last Thursday morning and almost got stranded in Detroit until tomorrow morning. He had a great weekend with his oldest brother and family and is making the most of his homeward bound adventures.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lots to Do

It promises to be a busy day. I have much to do and lots to accomplish. There are moments when I'd really like to hide myself away for a good cry, just to let off some steam, because you know that's what women do... but I don't have time today and I don't want to deal with red puffy eyes while I'm busy accomplishing. Maybe I'll put it on my to do list. I think I can fit it in Friday morning.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Slides. Old Slides

I've had my two days off and am back to work today. There are still sporadic power outages and it was colder than cold yesterday and last night. Thankfully, we don't have a foot or two of snow on top of everything else.

I spent some time playing with old slides this past week. Projecting them onto a flat surface and taking a photo with my camera. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Most of the slides have some kind of label but there are others with nothing but a date to go by. I found this cute couple among the unlabeled. So young, vibrant, and happy! I can't recall the date on the slide, but I took a guess at who it might be and put it on Facebook for a "friend"/relative with a little note. "K-----, is this your grandparents?" I don't think I've ever met the granddaughter, but she sent back, "oh my goodness!! where did you find this?!" The grandmother is well into her eighties by now, one of my dad's older cousins.

And I found this too. A picture of my own grandma, all dressed up, for a special occasion of some kind. I thought, when I copied it, that she was dressed up for my parents' wedding, but they were married at the end of July and I don't think the outfit or the flowers match that time frame. Maybe they were celebrating Mother's Day and Grandma's May birthday... ? Anyway, I think she's beautiful. I sure do miss her.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ground Control to Major Tom

Dear Tom,

It's still windy here at home. Lots of downed trees and power lines. Lots of folks without heat or electricity. Our power did not go out, but the internet was down for over 24 hours. I can live with that. It wasn't cold when the wind kicked up on Wednesday, but it's cold now. Drove to Wegmans yesterday and decided to take the "scenic route" home. Down 250 to Lake Road where I thought I might take a drive down by Webster Park. I found a large tree blocking the way. (Holt Rd was already closed from 104 north. I should have known.)

I set off toward home along Lake Rd but had to turn around just past County Line due to downed trees and power lines. School was closed yesterday because of all the loose power lines. I don't know what happened today. I opted to stay home myself, since the wind is ferocious and I don't absolutely need to be anywhere. I can't imagine the work crews have everything cleaned up yet.






March has been a blast so far!

Martha

PS. Check out the pictures. Windy days

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Windy Wednesday

I stopped to drop off some papers to my favorite Hannah this morning and came upon my favorite Bethany. It was the perfect surprise! I got to snuggle two babies!!! Good thing I had my camera along.




The day was bright, sunny, and pleasant. The wind kicked up a little after noon and turned the city and surrounding areas into a bit of chaos. Lots of downed trees and power lines, branches everywhere, and a few flying trampolines. Empty tractor trailer trucks were eventually banned from the highways, traffic lights went out making multiple 4-way stops, and rush hour commutes doubled and tripled in time. A tree came down on a car in the work parking lot,
and Bethany had the foresight (or maybe a whisper from God) to move two of her vehicles out of the driveway before the pine tree came crashing down. The third one had a dead battery and the tree landed directly behind it, tickling the back bumper as it dropped.

Still Here

I'm still here, wanting to write, but not knowing how to let the thoughts and feelings flow... There are so many things in life we don't put out there for the entire world to see, things we either hold inside or whisper only to our closest friends. Prayers that tumble out through tears and trembling...

The sun is bright today and spring promises to arrive as usual. I'm off to work. Yesterday's eight hours was especially long. My friend took a tumble and spent the entire day in bed. She's bruised but apparently not broken.

That lady in the photo is my grandma who had a passion for gardening. Her yard was never without flowers during the spring and summer. I'd like to be just like her, but lack of time and energy constrains me, not to mention rocks.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Brutal

It's brutal out there.

On Wednesday I left my jacket in the car when I went into work. I wore short sleeves and was very comfortable. The wind kicked up on Wednesday evening, all through the night, and straight through to morning. The temperature dropped 40 degrees. It got cold. Last night the wind kicked up some more making the already cold out of doors brutally cold. The internet tells me it's 19 degrees with a windchill that makes it feel like 4. The chickens did not cross the road today. I'm pretty sure they stayed down under the barn as much out of the wind as possible.

I went to visit my youngest daughter and her wee one today. The baby was sleeping when I arrived but woke up not too much later. At one point she handed him to me. I said hello and smiled. He looked into my my eyes, made the saddest face ever, and burst into tears. I think Hannah was embarrassed, but I only laughed. I think he's getting attached to his momma, and that is a very good thing. Besides, he was so cute with that pouty little lip.


Nassa, the puppy, is learning tricks. The Cabinet Maker is working hard to train her and keep her busy. She already knows sit, lay down, beg, stay, come (sometimes), and crawl, and is working on dance and roll over. She's been good about staying in her crate when we're busy and going potty outside. (She goes potty outside, not us.) You can see the thought process in her expression and she appears to enjoy learning new things. She's an interesting little creature.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Facing My Giants

My biggest fears in life surround my children. Not much different from any other parent out there. I desperately want them to know that I did everything I knew to teach them, love them, and protect them. I believe I was a good mom, but even good moms can't shield their children from every harm. I only want them to know that I would give my right arm to fix all the pain, to right all the wrongs, to be given the chance to do it over again.

I fear I may have not filled their boxes with all the tools necessary to get them through life. I fear that I have shortchanged them in my effort to protect them from the world. I fear substance abuse, death/serious injuries, and atheism. And I fear they will misunderstand me, think me foolish, or in their pain disregard my love for them altogether.

They all struggle, because life is made up of struggles. I am past being able to kiss away the pain or brush away the dirt. I have to let them go, let them do it on their own now, even when everything inside of me wants to spin the clock backward, hold them close, and rock them through the hurt once again. Instead I must entrust them to the one who saw their being while it was yet unformed (Psalm 139:16) and know that although I may never see it to fruition, He has a plan for each and every one of their lives. Sometimes it's just hard to trust.

And the pictures? That silly puppy who dances about The Lumberjack's feet and chews up his firewood. Because we all need something to smile about.

The Return of Old Man Winter

Winter blew back in a day late, and so March started out like a lamb (kind of) rather than a lion. The lion is definitely awake and roaring today. In fact, that lion roared all night long and left a bit of snow tossed about on the ground this morning. We went from mid 60's all the way down into the 20's in less than 24 hours. Fun stuff.



Wednesday, March 01, 2017

It's Possible

Maybe I'll post something new tomorrow. It could happen.

Big wind here tonight. It was close to 70 degrees today and we're expecting a few snowflakes tomorrow...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Our Aunt Margie

My sisters and I went to visit our Aunt Margie on Friday afternoon. Born just 15 months before Mom made her appearance in the world, they grew up close although entirely different as sisters often are. Mom was the more social, Aunt Margie more reserved, and yet it was Aunt Margie who had the full time job at Xerox and she who held the driver's license Mom never obtained.

There was a long period of time in my childhood when Mom and Aunt Margie were not on speaking terms. I'm sure there were wrongs and misunderstandings on both sides of the aisle. That's how it goes with relationships. When I was old enough to cross Main Street (I think I was 9...), I would walk or ride my bike to the village of Webster to play with my cousin Pam at their apartment while Aunt Margie worked.

Though Mom and Aunt Margie's relationship was strained, my aunt was always kind and welcoming. She invited me for supper, took us out shopping, and loved me. I am blessed to have those memories I would otherwise have missed. By the time I "grew up" and my children began to arrive, Mom and Aunt Margie had renewed their relationship. They became fast friends and Aunt Margie was there to welcome each and every child of mine, to celebrate birthdays, and special occasions. She showered us with gifts and cards, bags of chocolate, homemade Christmas cookies, and most of all, love.

In later years when Mom's memory began to fail, Aunt Margie remained her constant friend and

visitor. When Mom's conversation with others fell short and sometimes silent, her sister would fill in the gap. She never stopped coming, usually on Thursday afternoons, and with her came a bag of candy, some fresh fruit or a box of cookies, a new puzzle, and always a gift for Mom at Christmas or on her birthday. It was Aunt Margie who took Mom out for dinner dates with their brother, my Uncle Chuck.

I found myself looking at her time and again on Friday, trying to store a mental picture of the woman in front of me, the one with straight gray hair and familiar smiling eyes... She'd told my sisters that she had been to the hairdresser there in the care facility where they washed her hair and it turned that color... She's been there nearly 2 years now but her things are still packed in boxes because "someone is coming to take me home in a couple weeks..." She's not sure why she is there, "It's a place for people with Alzheimer's and dementia" she tells us. "They brought me here by mistake."

I find myself sometimes sad and reflective... but also grateful for the faith that this is not all we have to look forward to. There is a God who loves us, one who knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust. A God who made a way, who paid the price, so that we could have hope beyond what often seems so hopeless here. Aunt Margie is almost 85 now...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

It Was a Zoo!

It's February and kids get into the zoo free with a paying adult, so we packed up a few kids and went out to enjoy midwinter. Along with the rest of Rochester, NY.

The parking lot was full. No surprise there. So we parked down the road in the "overflow" parking lot. We could take the shuttle bus into the zoo or walk. We walked.

February is typically brutal in upstate NY, but for some reason this past week has been more like late spring. (Actually, it felt a little like early October, 65 degrees, naked trees, and leaves blowing around.)

I'd imagine the zoo seldom has great crowds of visitors in February, which is probably why kids get in free...

I had to laugh at this sign. Couldn't help it. And to top it off, several children, who hadn't read the sign, were howling into the wind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kids and the Puppy

We had visitors last night, three more grandchildren and their sweet mama. Grandpa set some rules and let the dog out of her crate to play. "Lay down on the floor," he told them, "and put your face down on your arms." The dog went crazy, running circles around them, hopping across their backs, and stuffing her nose into their faces and under their necks. Giggles erupted from the boys which just made the dog run faster.

Jilly was a little overwhelmed and kept her distance, especially after the puppy jumped up and nearly knocked her over, but Jakie decided to become a puppy himself. He grabbed Nassa's stuffed dog with his teeth, like little boys will do, and had a good old fashioned game of Tug O'War with her while his  mother said, "Jake! Get that out of your mouth!" Yeah. Good luck with that. The game was just too fun to give up. Ha ha!

It was a nice evening. We ate ham, broccoli, and cheese soup, which the boys declared "delicious," munched on soft, crusty bread, and doled out lavish amounts of love and affection. When it was all said and done the little dog was more than ready for a nap.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Making Some Connections

It is a strange and unusual phenomenon to have sunshine and 65 degree weather mid February in upstate NY, but I woke up yesterday morning to bright, sunny skies and promising temperatures. My mind and body are in mid winter mode, but the sunshine called louder than the sofa, and I laced up my walking shoes and called my sister. We took another 3 mile walk, this time in shirtsleeves. No scarves or mittens this week.

The walk was wonderful, aside from my aching toes (they aren't used to walking anymore), but a paralyzing fatigue set in following our after-the-walk visit to Panera Bread, and as soon as I returned home, I collapsed on the couch. I later learned she had done the same, along with several other friends who'd taken in the day's beautiful fresh air and sunshine.

We had a little "party" last night. Invited a couple of our kid families over, and cooked up a batch of buckwheat pancakes (with real maple syrup) and a bunch of scrambled eggs. I did not take pictures, but I did get to snuggle my newest grandbaby, love on the next youngest, and hug the big brother who is still just a little guy himself. It was a somewhat quiet and controlled party, unless one counts baby cries and childhood giggles as noisy.

I have "stolen" some grankid photos to brighten up this post and make you smile. Thank you to my kids for taking them and posting them where I could grab a copy.