My favorite daughter in law showed up with a little present the other day. (You'd think I was an actual addict or coffee snob... ) My Leta has an uncanny knack for finding little gifts to show her love. She is a sweetheart.
I'm planning to disappear for a day or two. Thought I'd give you all a heads up. Wouldn't want you worrying or anything... I'll be back when I return.
When tomorrow is over and done I will have worked 15 of the 30 days in September. It's not hard work, unless one counts sitting on their backside for nearly eight hours a day laborious. It is more taxing on my patience and mental endurance than it is physically strenuous. My friend can not see and she is not strong in the physical sense. She does not converse easily and, although she doesn't like to be alone, the murmur of a crowd, and sometimes the television, sets her on edge. Like I have mentioned before, she prefers to be prone, and that is "prone to laying in bed" which leaves me sitting in a chair trying desperately to stay awake. I am not always totally successful and my butt muscles are beginning to ache.
Crossword puzzles, notebooks to write in, books to read, lunch to eat, and crocheting. I've taken a stab at them all. Crocheting feels most worthwhile but I've been cursed with a bout of "Mommy's thumb" and had to take a sabbatical from the afghan I've been hoping to finish before Christmas.I've tried writing but find it hard to sort and reorganize thoughts written on paper. (There is nothing quite like being able to cut and paste...) I've been told I can get up, walk about, and stretch, but there is only so much that pacing can do.
I'm finding myself a little bit lost this week. The excitement of the month has died down, and the activities that kept me distracted from my own "dark woods" are gone. No details, just an earnest plea for prayer.
I found myself tired and somewhat impatient today. It's hard to tell if all the activities of the past month have finally caught up with me, if I am just tired, or if the anniversary of my father's passing is making me feel weepy and nostalgic. Monday, the anniversary of Dad's passing, is "Wear Dad's Shirt Day." I have to work. I'm going to wear Dad's shirt anyway.
Forgive me a few more wedding photos (and maybe an extra blog or two today) as I sort through "brain files" and get used to having an empty nest. The funny thing is my nest has never been empty, not even to start with. Jimmy came along very soon after we were married (he just turned 34 yesterday) and we did a great job of filling our house with noise and activity. There were many times I was exhausted and longed for a break, but I loved having kids. They make great friends as adults, even if I do have to let them grow up and fly away. Letting them grow up and start their own lives has not been so difficult. I've let go gradually through the years, but now the house is strangely empty and the girls and boys who once accompanied me on trips to the store, the ones who listened to me ramble on and ate the cookies I baked, they've all grown up. All is not lost and I am blessed, because I have a good relationship with my grown up kids. They still love me, in spite of myself, and they don't seem to mind hanging out with me on occasion. I haven't seen them roll their eyes or heard them groan when I come around the corner, even if I do have a secret fear of that happening. I desperately want us to be best friends and I desperately miss the funny things they say and their crazy antics. I hate being without them and love seeing them grow up all in the same moment. I'm proud of who they are and I am blessed to be their mom. And I still want to hide away in a corner somewhere and have a good cry.
I was scheduled to work Monday, but took the day off to spend with my favorite mom in law. It was a relaxed kind of day and we wandered out into the yard, back into the orchard, and over to my friend Deborah's house, cameras in tow.
I found a piece of fall out by my mailbox. Just a little taste, but it was yummy.
Grandma loves trees. :0)
We drove back through the orchard, past the workers, all the way to Lake Road.
I can't resist "crate" shots like this one.
I didn't tell her I would be taking her to Deb's house, but I knew she would love it once we got there.
Inside Deb's Glass Nest are all sorts of wonderful things.
I'm not wanting to go to work today...
I'd rather stay home, write, and look at photographs.
The festivities are over for now, family has gone home, and we're left with memories to savor.
Jim and Michele were here for just two days. I'd thought we'd get a whole family photo down at the lake, but my dear sweet Leta was home with three small children during the wedding, two of them throwing up. Thankfully, everyone was feeling better on Saturday.
I got my grandchild photo.
And the group shot.
We even got Molly the granddog in this one.
And Hannah and Sergio, who'd wanted to get a group picture with all their nieces and nephews, had to settle for one side of the family at a time. Ah well, it's a group none the less.
Each wedding has it's own unique flavor. This one was Mexican.
We ate Mexican food brought by the groom's family and a few close friends. The bride's father also contributed a very large pot of green chile stew. (He's still got a little bit of New Mexican in him.) It was all so yummy, but the best part was the cake.
If you have never enjoyed the pleasure of Tres Leches Cake, you are missing out. It is quite possible I have gained back every ounce I lost in the past three weeks of watching my eating habits. I think I could gain weight just thinking about that cake!
Whipped cream frosting, moist, light cake in both vanilla and chocolate with pieces of pineapple hiding here and there. Oy vey! (ha ha!) It would have been easy for the bridal couple to make an absolute mess with cake like that, but they were tame and civil with only a hint of possible mischief on the second forkful. Even those were empty threats. Besides, that cake was much too good to waste. (I had chocolate the first time around and vanilla the second... but I shared... and that makes it all good.)
In the end several leftover pieces went into the trash. They were already on plates. So sad. (I actually heard myself say, "Goodbye, cake...") However, the story ended on a happy note. We left a good sized piece of cake for the park caretaker and took almost half a vanilla cake home. Oh, my! I had almost as hard a time sharing that as I did sharing my camera. Maybe even harder.
I found the wedding beautiful. Not quite sure how to put it into words...
We were blessed by friends and family who stepped up to help put things in place at the park, to decorate, do hair and make up, and put together a bridal bouquet and corsages. In spite of not knowing what in the world we were doing, everything fell into place and I have a few new heroes on my favorite list.
Every wedding is unique. Rather than a long gown, Hannah chose a simple knee length dress and it was adorable. We were blessed with summer temperatures, a calm lake, and a quiet, all but deserted park. The guests were wonderfully varied and I smiled when after the ceremony the bride and groom were introduced first in English by my son Ben, and then in Spanish by Sergio's brother Carlos.
Rather than a unity candle, the new couple decided to symbolize their union by pouring sands of different colors into a picture box. Hannah had tried to find something suitable in the store, but in the end her dad ended up building one and that was pretty special in and of itself. I'd not yet seen this done at a wedding, but Hannah and Sergio had been to one last year where the bride and groom did this but that couple added a third color of sand poured by the bride's young child.
Ben's girlfriend Morgan took these ceremony photos and I was blessed to watch and listen without being distracted, but I have to admit, I had a hard time sharing my camera.
I find it hard to sit and wait when there is so much to be done. The mother of the bride is supposed to be the one planning, running, organizing, and delegating. I am not good at those things. More often than not folks have looked at me like, "You've got to be kidding me..." and so I never learned this valuable life skill.
No matter how badly organized we are (or aren't), the wedding will go forth. We will gather at the park with or without perfect decorations. There will be family, friends, food, and fun. We will love and laugh and our family will grow. It's going to be a good day.
Gramanita's arrival time was delayed, so Hannah braved the little "Greater" Rochester International Airport alone. (Good thing it's actually little. Just three runways.)
Work was interesting as always. My dear friend had a few hallu- cinations yesterday. At one point she looked toward me and said, "Where is your head?" to which I replied, "It's on my shoulders." She was somewhat exasperated with my answer and I asked her where she expected it to be... Apparently she was "seeing" someone with a severe head injury and was terribly concerned. At one point she said it might be her son, and then whoever it was turned into "a man" or "the patient." She was no less impressed when I tried to humor her by saying I didn't have any patience. (It was a long day by then and the last half hour or so is the longest, especially when there is company waiting at home.)
I am off to work again today, but just until 4:30pm. Then I am off until Tuesday morning. I intend to have an absolutely incredible, fun-filled next five days. Hopefully there will be some great and wonderful photographs to go along with all the activity.
The party is just starting and the guests are beginning to arrive. Gramanita will be here this morning. Of course, I have to work. All day. But that won't keep Hannah and I from meeting her at the airport. And I hear she's been up all night, so she's going to be wanting a good long nap. After she stops to meet Bethany's baby.
I have precious little time to sit and write with my computer on my lap, and hours to sit idle at work without it. (Something not right about that picture...) While my friend sleeps I eat my lunch, read, do crossword puzzles, or crochet. In July, I made a practice blanket, a tiny, one skein, purple afghan, just the right size for my little granddaughter who now uses it to keep warm on blustery days. Now I'm working on an adult sized afghan. The yarn is called "Peacock" and is pretty and soft and might take the rest of my life to complete.
And that is all for now because I need to jump in the shower, wake up Hannah, get ready for work, pack my lunch, and take off with Hannah to drop my vehicle off at work, and meet Gramanita at the airport.
So, last night we had a little gathering and showered Hannah with a few gifts. The girls kept it simple which was really very nice. No games, no silliness, or at least not much, just some food and friendship. Bethany surprised me by asking if I would say a prayer for Hannah and Sergio. (Nothing like being put on the spot. ha ha! Like I could say no.)
Yesterday was full of activity. I helped Hannah with a project in the morning, visited my brother in the afternoon, sneaked in a run to the store, and showed up at the house early enough to help set up for the bridal shower. ("Wait until we stop eating," they said. But I caught them all with food in their mouths instead.)
It was dark by the time we left for home (funny how that's happening more and more these days... ) but not especially late. Our sweet Jakie tuned 3 years old in the midst of the activity. He has two special days regarding his arrival, the day of his birth and the day of his homecoming. Sometimes we like to switch them up a bit. This year we're going to party on his Homecoming Day.
My Facebook newsfeed is full of babies. Six of my "friends" have had grand- children born in the past month. One got a grandson, one was blessed twin granddaughters. As you know, I was also honored to receive a new granddaughter. She arrived on September 3rd, three days late. Because of her brother's traumatic birth and subsequent Group B strep infection, she spent a little bit of time in the special care nursery. Thankfully, she went home on schedule, and thankfully her mommy and daddy came up with a name to call her, Jillian Mariah. Little "Jilly Bean."
My grand- daughter was not the only baby awaited with more than eager anti- cipation. Although she was due four days prior to my own granddaughter, this little girl decided to hold out and stay secluded for an extra two weeks. (Just like her own mommy did 34 years ago.) I fought back tears back in February when I learned my sweet niece was expecting and the catch in my throat came back when this sweet darling finally entered the world on September 8th. Welcome to the world little Liliana Elaine!
PS. Sorry for the previous typos in this post. I fixed them up. :0)
It's been an interesting week at "The Playground." My dear friend has occasional bouts with severe hallucinations and such was the case this week. She'd been up all night calling out, keeping any nearby residents awake, and causing a general disturbance. This woman, who is typically short on conversation, talked all day Monday and slept very little. Yesterday she, along with several others, was totally exhausted. (No surprise there.) A bit of chaos reigned in the facility.
Monday evening's dinner found "Ricky" mis- behaving. He glared across the table at "Sandy Man". "Stop taking my stuff!" he growled. "
Sandy Man" stared blankly back at "Ricky" who then reached across the table
and started to take "Sandy Man's" glass of water. When the attending aide
attempted to intervene, "Ricky" became combative. He subsequently won the
fight for the glass of water which he then threw all over the
Last night at supper "May" attempted to clear our table. I stopped her from taking another resident's unfinished plate of food. (She doesn't appreciate that.) "Perhaps," I thought to myself, "she would take these plastic lids to the trash." I handed them to her and made the suggestion, but she only looked me coldly in the eye and replied, "You can drop dead." I laughed out loud at the response as well as the expression on the face of the other aide at our table.
Because I am not an employee of the facility in which I work, the best way I can help them is to be an extra set of listening ears and watching eyes. We were settled into the living room last evening, the evening news and Wheel of Fortune on the television. The residents, many of them still off from sleep deprivation thanks to my friend (who was now sleeping), were in "rare" form. (I use that term loosely as they are quite often in "rare" form...) I glanced sideways as "Addie" removed her sweater. "She's too warm," I thought to myself. I looked away toward the other residents and when I looked back again, "Addie" had removed her shirt! (She can't see and evidently thought she was alone in her room.) I jumped up to find the aide who does "crowd control" and she came running just in time to prevent an all out "showing." Ah yes! Life in the Memory Care Unit is never dull.
There are two Marthas, yet they are actually one and the same. ( I actually first wrote that "one in the same," looked at it, and thought, "That ain't right..." although technically I suppose I am inside myself...)
At any rate, the first Martha lives here, takes care of house and home, tends to family matters, and has roughly the same circle of friends as her husband. Roughly. The second Martha was born back in March when she went off to take a class and earn her place in the world as a Certified Nurse Assistant. Not a high place, but a place none the less. This Martha goes off to work and mingles in other residences, assists in taking care of other people's business, and has a circle of friends and acquaintances her own family has probably never met. (It's a little weird for me, but perfectly normal for all of you who have worked outside of your home for years already.)
Martha #1 is a little shaken up in her life schedule, while Martha #2 is oblivious to her "not totally evil" twin. Always stopping to remember "it's not Friday," Martha #1, who was struggling with scheduling to start with, is never quite sure when to clean the house or do the grocery shopping. Martha #2 need only remember to don work clothes on the correct mornings and pack a bagged lunch. She sits in a home she need not dust, visits with absolute strangers, and, so far, has not been asked to do their shopping. (And here in the story I am reminded of the fact that my great grandfather married two Marthas, my own great grandma being referred to by some as "the 2nd Martha. But I digress...)
I do suppose I am learning to master the art of switching from one Martha to the other. (They really aren't totally different, after all.) I enjoy going to work and I love being home with my family. My house might not be spotless, but didn't that passel of children I had running through here teach me that clean houses aren't necessarily high on the list of priorities? And hey, none of us has starved to death yet, even if I've lost track of what is in the refrigerator and kitchen cupboards.
PS. My houseplants are still alive. I must be doing something right.
I have to work this Labor Day, but we had a very nice picnic last night and I am happy with that. The yard was full of children, the table full of food, and the faces full of smiles and laughter. Who could ask for anything more?
Almost everyone showed up (that was pretty cool) and my dear, sweet Bethany went over and above by coming out to bless her sister and share her new baby. There is no ice breaker (not that there was ice to begin with) quite like a brand new baby. Aunt Leta had a turn first, and then Bethany set the little one in the arms of Sergio's mother. It was sweet. His niece J. was especially thrilled to hold baby Jillian (Yes! She has a name!!!). I'd purposely left my camera inside for this occasion, but couldn't resist a few photos of the baby with this sweet little girl.
I learned that four year old girls and boys eat dessert in totally different manners. (No pun intended...) T. literally inhaled his, I think his bottom scarcely graced the bench before he was finished, while Aubrey took nice little bites. We all laughed later when T. pointed at Aubry and said she had something on her face. They had identical chocolate marks surrounding their lips.
The boys finished of the pink lemonade with T. fighting his cousin (in the blue) and his uncle (in the gray) for the last little bit in the drink cooler. Between our own grandchildren and the five others who came, there was a lot of activity on the trampoline, swing set, and sandbox. They ran in and out of Hannah's Place, all over the yard, and all the way down to the drainage ditch. No one got hurt, which is always a plus. Everyone got along and I think everyone had a nice time.
The kitchen was amazingly clean this morning thanks to the barefoot Lumberjack and his helpers. (Now for a shower and my work clothes...)
We've been making plans and doing a little shopping. Things are coming together. She doesn't appear to be an extremely nervous bride to be. She does get flustered on occasion, but she is mostly calm. Perhaps it is because so many little details have surprisingly fallen into place. That makes worrying much less necessary.
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.