Monday, May 25, 2015

All Seven

I've had four busy days off work. On Sunday afternoon I took the opportunity to get all seven of my grandchildren in one photograph. They might have been tough to gather if not for the handful of Tootsie Pops Bethany found in her kitchen cupboard. Are they adorable or what?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Two Pizza Parties

What is a mom to do when one of her kids can't make it to the Saturday evening Pizza Party? "Can we have pizza night again on Sunday?" she had asked. I felt bad for her. She really wanted to be there, but a prior commitment made her presence impossible. 

She had no idea of the secret plans for Sunday afternoon, but they hadn't involved pizza, so I did what any mom might do and said, "Not to worry. There will be time for more pizza. Enjoy your family reunion." And then I began scheming how to fit another pizza party in on Sunday evening. After thinking a little bit, I sent her a private message. "I'll see if I can get another pizza party together on Sunday. Maybe having pizza two nights in a row isn't such a bad idea."

And she said, "For reals?!? Yay!" Almost like she was shocked.

She called me this afternoon to find out when the pizza would be ready. I told her around five thirty. She was anxious to see her brother and his family and so she asked if they could pick up some sausage and come for lunch. My mind started to spin. "I have to go somewhere this afternoon." I told her. It felt lame, but it was true.

There was a twinge of disappoint- ment in her voice and I hoped she wouldn't be too sad while Adam kept her busy so we could decorate her house and surprise her with a baby shower while Jim and Michele are in town.

I am pleased to report the whole affair was a grand success. Bethany was totally surprised and very pleased as well. We had a second Pizza Night after the pink baby shower, and I even got to take a photograph of all my grandchildren in one spot. (Photos to follow.) Very cool!

It was a good day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Out to Lunch With Rachel

My sister Rachel called this morning and wondered what I was up to. Since I had the day off and also had a little shopping to do, we decided to meet up in Webster and hang out together for a while. We wandered about looking here and there and then went out to lunch together. Panera Bread was crowded, but we found the sunny patio a quiet alternative to the busy hum inside. We both had cameras along, but neither one of us took any pictures.

I find myself pondering my job, the residents, and life. I miss the residents when I'm home and long for a break when I am there. All too often I look into a pair of longing eyes, hold wrinkled hands, and kiss graying foreheads. I smile on the outside, but I hurt inside. I give hugs yet feel hopeless to help. My friends need hope and there is only One I know who holds any hope for any of us. He is the One who held my parents through their final years. He offers something beyond this short and often painful life, something everyone of us comes to need eventually, but something not all of us will find, or even want.

Life feels short, too short.

I accidentally happened upon some chance photos this evening. I'd been trying to capture the evening sunlight resting on the barn and orchard, but captured a pair of hummingbirds and my yawning cat instead. There are times when having a camera already in hand comes in... well... handy. It's hard enough to capture one hummingbird, let alone two. They're pretty selfish when it comes to the feeder and will even chase their own mate away. Imagine that! Ha! I will admit, I have been known to chase someone away from my food too. And he has been known to say, "Who ate my..."

Tomorrow promises to be busy and full. I should do some house cleaning, at least the guest room, and there are pizzas to be baked too. I suppose a good night's rest is in order. It's going to be a busy fun-filled week. :0)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

And Now for a Little Break

I wish I had a wonderfully entertaining story to tell, but if anything terribly amusing happened the past couple days, I am too tired to remember it tonight. Work has been busy and the days are long, too long. I put my pj's on as son as I get home, something I never understood others doing until now, and typically climb into bed by 9:30 pm. My feet ache deep inside even though I have good shoes. I knew weeks ago that twelve hours on concrete floors would be hard on my "old" feet. Please pray that I would know whether or not I need to switch up my schedule. I could (possibly) go in an hour earlier in the morning and work until two o'clock, but I'd end up working more days per week. It might be be a good idea, but I'm not sure...

I've worked my three days this week, and now have a four day stretch to spend at home and with family. Minnesota is coming this weekend! (I'm so excited!!!) I am looking forward to hugging that firstborn son of mine, giving my sweet daughter in law a kiss, and snuggling that little guy, whether he likes it or not. I'm looking forward to some good family togetherness and, if I can make it happen, I plan on catching a photo or two of all seven of my grandbabies in one photograph.

And now I think it's time for bed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Which One is the Cooler Cat?

I had some fun with my camera yesterday. Kind of making up for working three days in a row and not having it close at hand. Maybe I went overboard, but you know how I like to take pictures. Digital photography has been a gift in so many ways.

So back to the cats...

We have two cats, Oreo and Little Cat. They are of the "mature" variety, both of them well over ten years old. Little Cat was born in our kitchen back on September 1, 2000. Oreo came to stay a year previous, so he is 16 years old.

Little Cat is the typical "scaredy cat." She hides from strangers, runs from the noise of plastic grocery bags, and is afraid of thunder. Although she appears aloof, she is really very affectionate in a safe, secure environment. When I sit on the couch, she often comes to look in my face and pat my arm.

Oreo is a brave soul who never (or at least very rarely) ran from dogs or small children. He often gives the back of my leg a smack as I walk around outside. He talks loudly, and likes attention. He also likes to be up high enough when we eat so as to peer at our plates in hopes of getting a taste, or at the very least a good look at it. Once upon a time he was brave enough to reach out and put his paw on my pizza, Not cool. Not cool at all.

Years back both our cats took up the habit of drinking out of the fish bowl. Now that the fish is dead and gone, we keep a fish bowl around to water the cats. I'm just a little weird like that.

And then, the other day I saw another cat... He doesn't live here, at least not officially. I don't know where he is from or how old he is. I'm fairly certain he shares my cats' food dishes when we are not looking, but I've never seen him in the house. I just happened to spot him watching me from the corner of the barn as I was out shooting picture last night. He's kind of cute, but I think Oreo has claimed the "Cooler Cat" status.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunshine and Rain

It's a fickle kind of day.

It was our Monday to visit Tim so I wasn't surprised when Rachel called to remind me this morning, and this morning I needed a reminder. Since it was an otherwise "chill" day, we decided she should come early so we could go out and grab a coffee or something ahead of time. We opted for lunch at that little diner in town where we both ordered BLT's, her's on wheat and mine on rye. It was a nice relaxed bit of time together.

While Rachel rearranged a few things in her car, I found our brother settled into a cozy recliner in the home's living room. His eyes registered recognition but he didn't get up. He ground his teeth a few times and I asked if his teeth still hurt.  He said they did. His expression was sweet as we communicated, me with words, and him mostly with his eyes. As soon as Rachel came in, he hopped up and grabbed her hand. (I told you she's his favorite.*insert winky face )

We drove though sunshine, just plain rain, and sunshine mixed with rain while listening to Dad play his guitar and harmonica and sing. Tim ate his snacks and clicked his tongue with the music. At the end of our ride we went through Wendy's drive-thru and got him the customary small chocolate Frosty which he ate in about six heaping spoonfuls. (No, I didn't bother to count.) My head would be throbbing, but I think he's immune to ice cream headaches. Did you know Rachel can drive through the rain, sing, and clean up Tim all at the same time? She is truly amazing. (He ate most of it while we sat in the parking lot.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

No Soap!

So, what can I tell you about today?

I started the day helping my resident friends get washed up and out of bed for the day. I had a fight with a catheter connection. That was fun... And I helped a most obstinate madam with a shower she didn't wish to take. "No soap!" she insisted, even though we had finally managed to find her bar of Camay. When we got to the shower room she continued to kick up a fuss. I took it pretty much in stride. "This is the last shower I'm ever taking!" she warned, to which I replied, "Well, if this is going to be your last shower, then I think we had better use soap." She was not impressed.

Back in her room she moaned and carried on as I helped her into her clothes. I couldn't make her happy. Finally, as I worked her feet through the legs of her pants, I looked at her and said, "You know, if you would be nice to people, they would be a lot nicer to you."

"I don't want them to be nice to me!" she growled.

"Well, I think you do," I said, "I know I want people to be nice to me."

And that was the end of it until she was later heard by my friend (who was visiting her mother in law) complaining about me down at the hairdresser. Apparently I didn't listen to anything! Ah well, at least she was clean. :0)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

On Your Mark...

I must admit, I am not feeling quite ready for the next three-day marathon, however, I do believe that I will reach the finish line triumphant.  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 taken slightly out of context and yet, nevertheless, true.) I keep thinking that if He put me there, He will need to provide the strength and endurance because I don't have it in and of myself.

I found myself not knowing quite what to do with my day. I cleaned the kitchen, washed my bedding, and put my laundry in. After a drive to town and a computer delay at the Dollar General where I was attempting to purchase pet food and potting soil, I returned home to repot an overgrown and sprawling (literally) jade.

A walk was considered, and then recon- sidered, and finally did not occur at all. We (Sofie, the cats, and I) made it all the way to the edge of the orchard where I stopped short after making a brief consideration on mowing the lawn. On our return to the house, I climbed onto the tractor only to find the key not in the cup holder, and this being a "new to me" machine, I decided  to fold my clean laundry instead, since it was not folding itself, even though I had given
it plenty of time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Allergies, Exhaustion, and Observations

It is allergy season. I am lost in an allergy induced fog. My brain is tired and my body doesn't want to move. It only wants to sleep. Last year I referred to feeling "spacey and lethargic" and so it is again. (And you thought work was killing me.) Speaking of work, it took me all day to figure out why there were so many tissues decorating the floor of various halls and rooms. Could it be allergy season?

So, did I tell you that I'm tired? I'm almost too tired to blog. Almost. Love drives us to do many things, doesn't it? (That is one of the latches on a woodshed at my parent's house.)

The last few weeks have brought me to some different views on previous opinions held. I have had a bit of time now to observe the resident in nursing home care. The mentally and physically alert socialize and go to activities. Their days often consist of eating in the public dining room, visiting with staff, volunteers, and fellow residents, playing Bingo or Yahtzee, and going out with family. Those who are less cognitively alert, unable to navigate the halls independently, or even get out of bed, are left to the mercy of others. Many sit around the nurses' station between meals, napping or waiting for someone to come along and offer a kind word. Bedridden patients press call bells and hope that whoever answers will stay and chat for just a minute or two. It can appear that many of those in our care are simply existing. :( Mom did this much, and so much more. I am just now beginning to fully comprehend how blessed she was, and how blessed I am, for her having been here.

One of our residents received a package in the mail yesterday. She appeared rather shocked and confused by its appearance, but pleased just the same. She rarely leaves her bed and so the box of coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, and a few snacks made her day. There was no card tucked into the box and no return address on the outside. She made various attempts at deciphering who could have sent such a thing.  When I checked in later she was coloring contentedly.

A final word of wisdom. Don't hide a box of Junior Mints in the glove box of your vehicle and forget to eat or share them before the weather warms up. At least tuck them into your lunch box where they will be safe from damaging blasts of unexpected summer heat.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Then Comes the Rain

Our summer weekend melted my spring flowers and woke up the lilacs and apple blossoms. Everything is suddenly green!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed my four day weekend and am looking forward with eager antici- pation to the next in two weeks. My Minnesota son and his family are coming to visit! How cool is that?

I took my boy back to Auburn this afternoon and dodged the rain for most of the way, but it caught up with me about a half hour from home and gave my dirty, pollen-covered vehicle a good rinse. One free car-wash.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,
Today was Mother's Day and I thought of you. You weren't here in person to be blessed and honored, but I hope you somehow know how much we love you still and how you have blessed our lives by having been a part of them. I miss you a little bit more all the time and hope that if it's possible in heaven, one day we'll be able to sit down together and share a long talk.

It was a beautiful day for a family gathering. We cooked hotdogs and sausages out on the back porch, shared baked beans and potato salad, and munched on cucumbers, carrots,
and sugar snap peas. I smiled a little when I got "Jim's" designer plates out of the cupboard. There may not be any credits to his account on the packaging, but they still make me proud and it feels a little bit like he's here with us when we use them.

My afternoon was full of grand- children; loud, ram- bunctious, and rascally. I love them all! They played in the sandbox, ran through the rain, and were generally childish, just like
they should be. We were missing Austin, along with Jim and Michele, but they'll be here in a couple of weeks and we're all looking forward to their visit. I'm always blessed when the whole family gathers together.

Thank you, Mom, for your love of children and family, for childhood days full of laughter, and for passing those things on to me so that I can share them with my kids and grandkids. I am blessed.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Beautiful Day

Morning came early. That's been the way lately, even when I can sleep. The farmers hit the orchard early this morning and ran their sprayers all day. It's spring in apple country.

I took a drive to find my college son today. The weather was perfect. Instead of leaving my little dog home alone again, I decided to take her along. It was kind of nice to have someone to talk to along the way even if she wasn't very good at keeping me awake. I hadn't made the drive myself since January so it was nice to have the opportunity make the trip. I took my camera along just in case I found anything cool. How do you like those trilliums?

Since I've been driving along Lake Rd every day without my camera, and I had it in hand today, we decided to stop at B Foreman Park in Pultneyville and check out the lake. We laughed at how the lawn was all dug up and there was a time not so long ago when the caretaker would chase down kids on bikes, in his golf cart, and make them get off the grass. There was no climbing the trees either, even if your parents were there, and now all the playground equipment is gone aside from the swing sets.

The summer Joe was a year old I took the kids to the park often when My Darling worked late. At that time the beach was all round, smooth, lake stones. Today the beach is completely changed as they (whoever "they" is) have brought in huge quarried stone and gravel to prevent the lake shore from eroding. Only a small stretch of beach stones remain. I guess the signs are to protect the town or county from lawsuits should anyone slip and fall.

I kind of love that lake.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Cantankerous Laughter (or something like that)

Two days on, four days off. I am free for the weekend.

I came home from work totally exhausted last night. Tonight I am tired, but not feeling quite so wiped out as last night. Maybe I'd feel more tired if I had to get up and go back again tomorrow. ha ha!

I had an alright kind of day aside from the episode with one cantankerous individual for whom I could do nothing right. I'd say the experience was unsettling, but it wasn't unsettling for just myself. It's a common occurrence. I should feel sorry for Mr. Cantankerous because he is probably miserable and that is sad.. :(

Every day I am gaining skills and confidence. I'm doing things I'd never dreamed of and never hoped to add to my resume'. I could say that every day is an adventure. I love making people smile and I love the feeling that I might be able to bring a little bit of love and/or happiness to someone's day. I made Judy laugh, at my expense, and because she was so amused, I laughed too.

Hey, how about those cows? I thought I was taking a cute picture of a calf, but someone behind him was taking a leak and ruined my happy photo! Bet you hadn't even noticed, had you?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Tidbits From Today

* Tonight I am exhausted. It was a long day and my whole body is tired, especially my feet.I won't be staying awake long.

* One of the residents told me I had "permanent greasy eyes." I'm not sue what that means, but I'm not too worried about it.

* One of our residents had a very nice conversation with me while she soaked in the whirlpool tub. I learned that she had "Cadillacs" removed from her eyes. Makes me glad mine are just greasy. ha ha!

* I hadn't been at work too long this morning when one of the workers on our floor who I'd not seen before, asked if I used to go to the church on the Ridge. I said we had and she said, Didn't you have a lot of kids?" Turns out she had been a little girl years ago when we went to the Baptist church in Sodus. The really funny thing is that I had looked at another worker just a few days ago and thought of this very girl. It wasn't her, it was her mother. Small towns are so weird.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Staying Busy

My two days off are just about over. I've purposed to stay busy and not spend too much time sitting on my hind end. I was blessed to be with my friends at Ladies' Prayer this morning. Some of us had lunch together afterward, and a few of us stayed way too long talking before setting out for home or errands.

I deposited my first paycheck and then headed over to Target to spend some of it paying my bill. I was on my way across the parking lot, just about to cross the road directly in front of the door, when a little black car stopped, the window rolled down, and a guy in the front seat said, "Hey!" I was momentarily confused, but it was my son Nate in the passenger seat. Sabrina was driving and my chunky monkey grandson was there in the backseat.

As I chatted with Nate and Sabrina, Nate looked out across the parking lot and said, "Isn't that Bethany?" And there going down the next aisle toward her vehicle went my beautiful pregnant daughter pushing her little guy in a shopping cart. I called her name and we had a little family reunion right there in the Target parking lot! (Maybe I didn't stay too long at church after all.)

Sofie and I took another quick orchard walk late this afternoon. The blossoms can't be far off now. Gotta keep that camera handy.