I took my camera along for the ride yesterday and, much to my brother's chagrin, came home with one prize photo. He doesn't care much for us stopping to take pictures, especially when I roll down the window and yell things like, "Hey, cow!"
Weekends are almost always busy and that is usually a good thing. Today, after church, Rachel and I went to visit our brother Tim. He's been back in his old house now for several weeks, back with the caretakers and residents who knew and loved him, and our parents, for many years. It's a beautiful thing.
Once in a great while either Rachel or I will take a picture along to jog old memories and help us find a connecting point with this aphasic brother of ours. Today I took a photograph of an illustration from an old children's book.
Barber, barber, shave a pig,
How many hairs will make a wig?
"Four and twenty, that's enough."
Give the poor barber a pinch of snuff.
The picture was one that Mom had often said Tim would stare at as a little boy. Today he glanced at it out of the corner of his eye, almost not wanting to take it all in at once... Rachel turned Dad's music on and soon this tender brother of ours was crying silently, sniffing here and there, trying to hold it together. Sometimes I feel bad when something I bring along evokes such strong emotion. I don't really want to make him cry, but it's good to know he feels deeply. There is a strange comfort in knowing we made a connection.
There were hugs at the door today when we said goodbye and when we pulled away in the car, he was looking out the window.
I've not been collecting too many barn pictures lately, but one of the barns out at the festival caught my eye yesterday. Broken in many ways, but still beautiful. Time has taken her original purpose and functionality, and left in their place a bit of peace and inner strength. There is a story here, if only one will take a moment to sit and listen...
Perhaps a history lesson, one of hard work and dedication. Of standing firm through wind and storms, of gently sheltering the young and vulnerable, of being a place of peace and safety. She has some battle wounds, I see, and a few of her windows are missing. Her paint is worn and yet she stands, still willing, and likely able, to render warmth and shelter when the winds of autumn blow and winter follows close behind with bitter blast and falling snow.
In spite of my rough day yesterday, and feeling somewhat yucky this morning, I decided to venture out into the wide, wide world. My sister and I opted to experience The Purple Painted Lady Festival in Macedon, NY. She sure does know how to throw a party!
We waited in a very long line of traffic that stretched from Rt 31 all the way to the festival a mile and a half down the road. We may have been able to walk faster than we drove, but we stuck it out and enjoyed every minute. Have camera (with card and working batteries), will be happy.
There were tons of people at this shindig and lots of vendors selling their wares. We didn't buy a thing. Ha ha! But we did enjoy the sights and sounds. An art festival brings out all kinds of people and if I had my way, I'd just sit and take pictures of all the interesting characters that come along. Not sure where this guy came from or where he was headed, but he was in a hurry. You can't help but be amused by his outfit.
I saw a few people I knew. One lady sits ahead of us in church, another was a vendor (a longtime friend of mine, and her husband who shares my birth date), and then there was a special little red haired child I stopped to chat with. He looked confused at first, but then his face brightened and he showed me his cup of water and took a drink. It was one of my little friends from work. (I can't post him, so you get me and Rachel instead.)
I probably should have bought this rooster. He looks somewhat like Coq au Vin. Maybe the girls would have liked him, but I only snapped a photo on my way back to the car. It was a beautiful summer day, even if it is fall. A little too hot for jeans and sneakers. I wore my poor feet out wearing my flip flops last week... After a stop at our favorite ice cream shop, we headed home and I took a nice long nap. I'm feeling much better this evening than last night.
It was a beautiful morning, just a little fog here and there, perfect for snapping a picture or two on my way to work. I had my camera card inside the camera this time, but when I turned it on, a little red sign said, "Change the battery pack." Both my batteries were dead. So I did what any sensible person would do. I went to work without taking any pictures.
Today was rough. My body told me I needed to stay home (or go home) and sleep, but my mind said I had to be at work. Working in a daycare is a lot like being a mom. Somebody has to tend the little ones, and chances are those little ones with the green, runny noses, are probably the ones who got me sick in the first place. So there I was, putting on a "brave-ish" face on the outside, and wanting to collapse in a heap on the inside. I went to the drugstore on my lunch hour and came out with Musinex. The good kind.
I have already had a nap (around 6 o'clock) and now I am hoping to drink my lemon and honey tea and go to sleep for the night. I have things to do tomorrow and my camera battery is all charged up.
Getting up and going to work every day is a bit surreal. I realize there are people who might not understand this feeling I have, people who have always gotten up and headed off to work, but I have spent my entire life either working a part time job or babysitting in my own home. So, when I drive off into the fog early in the morning, it can literally feel a little bit like I'm dreaming. (It was gorgeous out there this morning. I intended to take a picture of the barn atop a hill, but alas! I had left my camera card home in the computer. So one from Monday instead, but no barn.)
Working in the kitchen is interesting. I hear the other teachers interacting with small children. Sometimes I grimace, and other times it's completely amusing. "Nathan Thomas! We do not eat paint!" Ha ha! When we are not even two years old we do. We also eat play dough, paste, and boogers. (Come on! Don't tell me you didn't.) And we put toys in our mouths, especially when they are shaped like spoons and forks, or are little and look like bugs.
I've never been much of a goal setter. Always thought of myself as a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of person, but as I looked backward over the past few years, I realized I'd actually set some goals and attained them. (I impress myself sometimes. :0) ) It's time to work on setting a few more goals, and God, always one step ahead of me, is helping with my list.
On Sunday morning, I filled out a card expressing my desire to join a church small group. I've missed my Tuesday morning Ladies' Prayer and Bible Study group and it's time to take a step of faith and venture out into the unknown once again. No more thinking about it, it's time for action. I'm taking the plunge even if it will initially interfere with CoDA.
And yes, the looking back...
* I am just three grandchildren away from accomplishing the mighty goal of remembering to buy a birthday gift (and get it there on time) for each and every one of my grandkids. I need to wrap Jakie's gift (the party is Sunday) but it's purchased and waiting, and then I will close up the deal with my October grandies. All three. It's been very satisfying to set an amount to spend and actually stick to it.
* My new job. I once felt like giving up at getting a job in a daycare center, but here I am, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, as well as baby hugger. (Still loving it.)
* Pottery classes (because I've always loved Clay...). The next one starts Thursday. Very cool. Now what will I do with all my creations?
New goal possibilities are germinating. I'm still turning over the soil and looking at seeds, but I'll let you know what I decide.
* Last Sunday, before visiting our brother, Rachel and I stopped at our favorite antique shop. I bought a pretty red pitcher. It weighs a ton, but I love it anyway. We're kind of sad Rustique's is closing. Maybe we'll have to find a new favorite place. I have a couple ideas.
* I am settling into my new work assignment. Kitchen work keeps me busy, makes me tired, and is wonderful all at once. The kids seem to like most of what I make, and even I am a little impressed by some of the results. The veggie lasagna was quite tasty in spite of the vegetables (carrots and celery cut up tiny) that some of the kids picked out and didn't eat. (Wish I had a picture of that lasagna...)
* I still have baby time at work, but much less of it. They get excited when they see me in the morning because it means breakfast is coming, and I still have a few hours to love on them between morning and late afternoon.
I can't remember half my week...
* Yesterday I went out gallivanting with my sister. We perused The Shop at West Ridge where the Beetles were playing on the PA system. I was battling the start of a migraine but found myself be-bopping down the aisles in spite of it all. In the end my headache disappeared and my eyes decided to cooperate. I decided dancing is good for the soul.
* After our fun in the shops, we headed back to the Memorial Art Gallery grounds where we were last weekend, to look at the Poet's Sidewalk. I read every square and snapped a photo of most.
* In the midst of our touring the sculpture garden, we were accosted by a woman who wanted to talk with us. She told us how difficult her life was, how God takes care of everything, and finally got around to asking if we could give her ten or twenty dollars for food. Of course, she didn't look poor... She was well dressed and clean, didn't appear ill, and was generally pleasant. We told her we didn't have any cash on on us, which was "mostly" true (I had seven dollars in my pocket...), and she went on to asking the next couple to enter the grounds before getting on a bus and heading off.
* We were taken in by the sculptures dotting the property surrounding the art gallery. A work called "Creation Myth" which was terribly enchanting. I have no clue as to the beliefs of the artist, but I know his work didn't just chance to evolve there in the middle of the city.
* Last evening, after rearranging a bit of furniture, I headed out to the store for a few items, and on the way back decided to give my son a call. We grabbed a burger together at Five Guys and had a nice chat.
* This morning I made it to church just in the nick of time, and then stayed for the second service as well. The same message all over again, except I was sitting by my daughter. And yes, it was just as good the second time around. Maybe I'll even go online and take it in for a third time. I think I hear God talking to me.
It was a last minute decision. I'd heard the Clothesline Art Festival was this past weekend and I'd never been, but going alone isn't much fun, so when Rachel called I said yes. Once we got there we had to pray for a parking spot, and after we found one we prayed she hadn't parked too close to the fire hydrant... (We did just fine.)
I was terribly distracted on the way to the entrance. Every few steps the sidewalk was speaking to me. I wanted to stop, read each square, and savor the message. But we hadn't come to read sidewalks, we'd come to look at art.
Multiple stands dotted the Memorial Art Gallery campus. I hadn't planned to pay for anything but the entrance fee, and then I saw The Wizard of Clay had a booth... With coffee mugs. Pretty ones. And I splurged. I couldn't help it. I love coffee mugs. And pottery. And it was blue.
Every once in a great while I get a hankering for a good ol' fashioned fried cake and Schutt's Cider Mill has some of the best around. Whether they're plain, powdered, or covered with cinnamon sugar, they're impossible to resist. (Oh, my goodness!)
Across the street from the store/cider mill is the Schutt apple farm where stands this mighty fortress in all its aged splendor.
I must, one day, in my travels, when the leaves turn gold, take my camera along and ask to walk the farm road and take a photo or two. The roof is old and the board sides weathered to priceless perfection. I long to crawl through a back door and step back into time. I can smell the cow manure already and I think I hear the farmer calling to his son at the other end of the barn. (I read a lot of books as a kid... Can you tell?)
Anyway, once the good Lord wields his autumn paintbrush, I shall wander over to Schutt's buy a box of assorted fried cakes and aim my camera in the direction of this beauty. And while I'm at it I'm going to imagine that farmer's wife ringing the dinner bell.
I arrive at work by 7:30 am in time to get breakfast going for our babies, wash them up when they start flinging Cheerios, and change anyone who pooped. I pass out hugs and kisses, and usually sit on the floor to read books and play with my little friends while they climb on my lap and fight over the best spot to sit. At 9 o'clock I head for the kitchen
The kitchen is now mine. This week I collected breakfast trays and bins, loaded the dishwasher, cooked lunch and passed it out. I made a valiant attempt to figure out how to cook what was on the menu, how much to cook, and how to get it all out on time. I gathered up the dishes and leftovers, reloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, and tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to get the following morning's breakfast trays and present day afternoon snack ready before I had to be back in the infant room at 12:30 pm. to take a walk with the babies.
My break came from 1:30 - 2:30 pm. I usually try to catch ten to fifteen minutes of sleep if possible. At 2:30 pm I go back to the infant rooms to give Meg a break. When she comes back Amanda goes home and I head into her room until we are down to four babies at which time, if the kitchen is clean, I am free to go home. (We had a staff meeting thrown in for good measure this week and that night I didn't get home until 7:30 pm.) Next week I'm getting a half hour more to keep up with the kitchen duties. I think it just might work.
Have I told you that I like my job? I do. I've been struggling with some personal issues and find the love and hugs the little one share with me priceless. Staying busy does me a world of good and I am immensely grateful, even if I am tired. Keep me (and those I love) in your prayers. The water is getting choppy.
A few of my favorite shots from yesterday's picnic...
It's not the best place for chalk drawings, but they enjoy coloring the pavers just the same.
Clifford the Big Red Dog in Spanish. (Raul gave her just a little bit of help because even though he doesn't usually let on, he can speak and read Spanish.)
These two love each other. Cousins and best friends, just the way it should be, and Molly the scary Staffordshire as well, because the greatest kid photos always have a dog.
And there was cake and ice cram too because somebody turned two on Sunday.
And now, because I am exhausted from the weekend, I shall turn off my computer, turn on the fan, and close my eyes.
PS. My first day alone in the kitchen went pretty good even if I did have to share space with Rodney who was making a valiant attempt at fixing the leaky drain pipe. No one went hungry and I got out of work by 5 o'clock.
Nothing much to post tonight. It was an uneventful day. I went to church this morning and did a little shopping afterward. Ran into half a dozen people I know, which is interesting because I typically go out and see nobody familiar.
I was headed toward the exit in Kohl's when I heard someone call my name. There was my friend Troy's mom, Christine! We shared a great hug and a nice chat. That little boy who came to my house at 2 years old, not long after I started blogging, is now 13! It doesn't seem possible. Christine showed me a picture of him and his birthday present, a basset hound puppy.
In Wegmans I ran into an old neighbor who stood and talked to me for quite some time before suddenly informing me that her husband was waiting in the car. My husband would have either come looking for me or left me to walk home if I'd been gone that long. Ha ha! But I was alone and had time to dilly dally and she didn't seem to be worried. She appeared genuinely glad to see me and that was nice.
It was a rainy kind of day with a little sunshine sprinkled in for good measure and to keep us wondering whether or not we needed a jacket. I left my car windows open upon returning home which, I think, is why it poured. Luckily I was not taking a nap when it started up and got them close quickly. Remember when moms used to send the kids out in the rain to roll up the windows? Back before you needed to practically start the car... Kids today wouldn't know what the doohickey on the door was for.
This is Wilbert's U-Pick Berry Farm on Salt Rd in Penfield, NY. You have to love the silo! I can only imagine the view from up there. I bet you can see clear to Lake Ontario. Some day I'm going to have to go berry picking. Raspberry jam sounds perfectly scrumptious!
The first picture was taken on Salt Rd one afternoon in mid August and the second almost two weeks later from Harris Rd. (Just "around the block".) Totally didn't realize it was the same farm until I saw the silo when I loaded the pictures onto my computer. Guess I was too focused on the field of hay and Woody Acre's Christmas Trees.
Sometimes I am melancholy. It's a part of who I am and why I have always felt so deeply for those who hurt. When I was a little girl my favorite books and movies were the ones that made me cry, and that included Little House on the Prairie and all the books that went with it. I sobbed when Jack the brindle bulldog died. It was like I had lost my very own dog. Of course, I had once lost my own dog, ... on my 8th birthday. He got hit by a car before school one morning, which was really sad by itself, but the memory of watching my brother carry him home and dig a hole in the backyard to bury him is what is clearest. It was as though I actually felt my brother's pain as well as my own.
Not sure where I'm going with all of that... but I'm working hard on not shouldering the load that isn't mine. Yes, it is true that we are called to "bear one another's burdens" but I don't think God ever intended us to carry the weight of the world. He's the only one up to that challenge. It's a good thing to understand the pain of others and to help them wherever we can. It's good to hurt along with those who hurt, but to be incapacitated by grief that isn't mine would only leave me incapable of actually being helpful. It's that Lesson of the Oxygen Mask all over again.
And a bit of goldenrod to brighten up you day and tell you autumn is near (as well as ragweed... Achoo!)
Once the outlet for the cries of my heart... now I scarcely know what to write. It would be foolish to write everything on my heart and mind in such a public setting as a blog. Much of what we carry stays within a silent box, and that is how it should be. Quiet, wrapped with rubber bands, sealed with tape, and tied up with string.
Work keeps me busy and useful. Every day I love little people and I love doing it. I usually carry my camera back and forth, just in case anything wonderful happens to appear in my travels. (That was a bit of advice from Tom. "Always take your camera," he said. And so I do.
On Monday I stopped at a favorite childhood park and marveled once again at the sycamore trees lining the road. I wonder how old they are and if they were growing there when my mother and her siblings crashed Sunday school picnics as children, or if they kept watch when my dad and his brother drove their little Model A Ford through the park and over the little bridge.
The gnarled and scaly tree trunks are full of peering faces. This one scowled at me as I took pictures and I thought of the little man in the Bible who couldn't see Jesus over the crowd. 'm curious if the sycamore tree Zacchaeus climbed looked anything like these? Was there just one lone tree? Or was the road lined with them? I've always pictured a single tree until now... and I kind of like the thought of there being a bunch. Shade for not only the multitudes, but Jesus as well. And a place for him to meet Zacchaeus.
My ever nostalgic mind still treasures memories of church picnics in Ellison Park where church and family blended into one and little girls were safe amongst the crowd of friends and strangers. I remember savoring Mom's macaroni salad as I sat at a picnic table surrounded by my family and deciding it was my favorite. And of course, there was the playground with its towering giraffe climber, slides that reached into the clouds, and swings we twisted up until they could go no higher and the dizzying ride as the chains unwound.
Yes. Memories are wonderful and I am thankful for each and every one tucked away. I am incredibly blessed to have them
I'm not always sure about going to CoDA... and then something happens that takes me back again. Yesterday morning on my way out of church I spotted a familiar face. My mind started spinning and, what do you know? I found not one, but two CoDA friends. "CoDA is not about being selfish," one reminded me, "It's about self care." And it was good to hear, because sometimes I forget. Not because I am trying to be selfish, but because I desperately don't want to be.
This evenings conversation/sharing had me reflecting on some of the ways CoDA has been helpful to me. I've learned to step away and not let the actions and opinions of others effect me in quite the manner they once did and I can answer an accusation without getting as flustered. I'm realizing people sometimes think they know a situation when in actuality, they don't and it's okay to tell them that without any other explanation.
to listen without needing to interrupt. We had a (mediated) family meeting a little over a week ago. I listened to various family members share thoughts, feelings, and pains without feeling like I needed to explain or offer up a defense. They can have feelings and viewpoints different than mine and it's okay.
It's also okay for me not to be drawn into the dramas and dilemmas of those around me. We all have issues, we're all adults, and we all need to learn how to face life head on. If I can do it, so can they. If they need my help, they are welcome to ask, just like I can ask for help when I need it. And it's just as okay for them to say no as it is for me to decline if I am not able, even if the reason doesn't appear to make sense.
Photos taken at a nearby farm market. I think I want a flower garden like this! Or maybe I just want to wander through it and take pictures.
I am a work in the hands of the Master Potter. I pray that His fingerprints are all over me as I walk through this life. This is my journey. Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up on me.
I am mom to seven beautiful grown ups and grandma to ten beautiful grandchildren.