A nap was imperative this afternoon, so I set the alarm for 20 minutes and crashed. The house was empty when I woke, my sister didn't answer her phone, and I needed to get out, so I took a drive...
It's been almost six weeks since James sold the farm. I hadn't driven out there until today. It was an emotional venture. There were a few tears and a pain deep inside my heart, but it was something I felt I had to do. The little gray house with the barns isn't home anymore and it never will be. Jon and Sarah live there now.
The little house I live in now has been home since forever and it is full of memories too. They are different kinds of memories, memories of Mom and Dad and childhood. The time I spent in this house as a child isn't much longer than I lived on the farm out in Williamson, only a year or so longer, but the emotions evoked by the farm are etched deep. This is where I soaked in the beautiful moments and purposed to be present... and this is why the tears. I still feel deep inside what I felt those days; the sun hitting my skin as I picked blueberries, the gnarly, old apple trees in the orchard, and the evenings with Bethany on the tractor tire swing around back. The Naughties, the chickens, the children I babysat. Coffee on the steps, picnics on the porch, and mornings at the bus stop... Letting go is hard, but even if I wanted to go home... it is impossible.
Life is not miserable. I have so much to be grateful for, so much to love, and so many wonderful moments yet ahead. God is still good, and He still loves us. All of us. And He has a plan.
It was mid afternoon when my phone let me know I had received a text. I peeked at it, even though I was still at work, and found it was my sister Priscilla inviting me to join her for dinner. I readily accepted her invitation. On my way to her house I collected a couple photos (because I had my camera along like Tom said to have it).
I drove down Canandagua Road and discovered Grandview Farms. I will need to pay them a visit one day. I do love farm markets and they have one. I also heard they are selling ice cream and I could always use more of that. Ha ha!
Just up the road a short piece, I found another great barn. I don't know a thing about it, but it looks interesting. The fence is pretty cool too.
I just love bright summer weekends and Sundays are a great day to set up a lawn chair and visit with friends. Come on over to Tom's and bring your chair along.
Last night I had the rare privilege of staying with Bethany's kids while she and Adam went out. I say "rare" because it's been a long time since I spent the evening there with just the kids. We ate pizza and watched "Chicken Run". And then, because he so liked the movie when they watched it at school, Josh introduced me to "Wonder." I loved it, and I think I need to watch it again.
This morning I played in the mud for a while. It was relaxing. There are times when my mind is not ready to sit, but today was good, even if I did sit alone. There are now more people sculptures drying on my shelf, and two glazed bowls awaiting the kiln. I took a look at the bisque shelf out of curiosity and found two pieces with my name on the bottom! I really need to get a notebook and keep better track of what I have out there...
My people were home today and so I stuck around the house this afternoon. Hannah was babysitting for the day and when the afternoon grew hot, we all fell asleep. When it was cool enough to play in the yard, we ventured outside and talked about what kind of things we might want to do with the back yard, like pull up the old bricks that were once the patio and are now broken and out of place. When evening was settling in, my sister Rachel came over and we took a long walk to the village of Webster and wound our way through the old neighborhood on the other side of Route 250 until my feet and legs were sore and tired.
I can't help but smile when I see my own children be great role models for their children. "I want to snuggle Logan like daddy does," my grandson told his mom. He's not yet five and he's doing a great job of snuggling his baby brother.
Nothing makes a mom's heart swell more than seeing her children love, care for, and protect their younger siblings. Number Seven might be territorial and protective when it comes to his toys, especially his dinosaurs, but it looks like he's off to a wonderful start when it comes to taking care of Number Twelve.
As for my own son, his love of babies goes all the way back to being a very small boy. He was just two years old when he became attached to his sister's abandoned doll, named her Elizabeth after a friend's baby, and took her all the way to New Mexico with us on vacation. Such a tender heart... and now his arms are full of his very own little ones and he is teaching them tenderness as well.
According to my daughter in law, Spencer "was so proud when Logan started to drift off into sleep." She says, "More is caught than taught!" and you know, she is absolutely right. (I'm thinking that big boy caught a bit of the Baby Bug from his very own mom because there was nothing much sweeter than falling asleep with my very own baby snuggled in my arms.) (I stole the pictures. You don't think they'll mind, do you?)
It's time to settle down and go to sleep, but I must tell you about my silly goose encounter first...
I was off to a late start yesterday morning. Goofed around a little too much before heading out the door and didn't leave myself much margin for error. All was going well and I was making good time until I was about halfway up Plank Rd.
It was an unusual sight. A gathering of geese in the middle of the road. I've seen groups of geese crossing the road, but this was not a crossing. Oh no. These geese were walking straight down the middle of the road, going the same direction as me. I beeped the horn but it didn't faze them in the least. That's when I heard myself say, "You've got to be kidding me!" but I was smiling too because it was so ridiculous.
I wasn't sure what to do because they were in both lanes and onto the shoulder of the road on my side. Then I remembered my camera. (See, Tom. Sometimes I actually take it along. Just in case a flock of geese is blocking the road.) I wondered how long I was going to be stuck behind this slowly waddling crew who obviously couldn't care any less about whether or not I got to work on time.
In the distance a vehicle was approaching from the opposite direction. The geese could see him coming, and as luck would have it, there was just enough room on the shoulder of the west bound lane for him to sneak by on the side. His passing convinced the crowd to abandon that side of the road completely and totally invade mine, which made it possible for me to pass in the other lane.
Last night I came home after work. I was tired and I was achy. I needed to get in bed early and so I came home. My people were downstairs when I arrived, but soon after I came upstairs the house fell silent and I was alone. It was an empty, aching silence, and though I am fully aware the problem is mine, I remain overwhelmed by sadness if I let the emptiness take me by surprise. Being tired couldn't have helped.
Tonight, after a visit to the therapist's office, I made my way to the pottery studio for a bit of mud therapy. Although there wasn't much conversation, I wasn't alone. The shelf full of glazed work held a few treasures with my name on them, or at least my fingerprints. I was expecting to find my last sculptures, but was surprised once again by the presence of three small, speckled vessels.
I have "rescued" a couple of pieces from the box of discarded bisque-ware and broken pottery. They make fine sitting spots for molded figures whose feet dangle precariously over the edge.
It was a relaxing hour or so of fashioning figures and perching them atop unwanted pieces. Actually, the bottom piece may have been my own, but there was no signature on the bottom, just a penciled date telling when it came out of the kiln. It looks mighty fine with this fellow taking a rest on its turned up bottom, and I feel better knowing it's been put to good use. Playing in the mud is as great therapy now as it was when I was a very small girl with a stick, a mud puddle, and a friend.
Today was the third Sunday in July and that means National Ice Cream Day. It was an epic celebration! Rachel and I stopped at Yia Yia's on our way home from visiting our brother Tim, and we both had soft ice cream cones with sprinkles that cascaded down the sides of the ice cream and onto our hands. A warm breeze made keeping up with the drips literally impossible and I had to shake melted ice cream and rogue sprinkles from my fingers more than once. The experience was delightful!
This evening was a gathering of family in honor of Hannah and her 24th birthday, which was last Thursday. We had brownies and ice cream with whipped cream and various garnishes. (Yes, I had more ice cream, because after all it was National Ice Cream Day...) We had a great turnout. James and four of her six siblings came, along with two sisters in law, a brother in law, and seven nieces and nephews. She is much loved.
Although I am not looking forward to hearing my alarm beep in the morning, I am ready to be back at the daycare and see the kids and my coworkers. I can't remember what's for lunch tomorrow, but I do know I forgot to take out the turkey roll... Ha ha! Those turkey sandwiches will get us every time. (Looks like I'll be thawing it under running water tomorrow...)
The heat wave promised earlier this week has arrived. I am even more grateful for the air conditioner tonight than I was last night. I could feel the heat coming through my slanted ceiling this afternoon, and though it was still comfortable upstairs, I decided to give the machine a rest and go down for the rest of the day. This evening, when the sun ceased beating on the roof, I turned it back on. So nice!
In the village of Webster there is a little museum dedicated to the town's history. It's been there for years and I'd never been inside. This afternoon I decided to escape the heat and visit the Webster Museum. There is no charge to get in and it's fully air conditioned. I talked to the former mayor who was overseeing the place and learned a few new things about Webster's history.
This evening I took my camera for a ride down to the lake. Lake Ontario. It was warm and muggy, but beautiful. People were checking out the water and walking the pier. There had been a wedding on the hill with pictures on the mostly submerged boardwalk/ underwater breakwall, and a photographer with a wagon full of equipment was just setting up to capture the sunset. Since I was alone, I took my usual pictures, the backs of people I don't know, and then headed for home.
* It's been a busy, tired week. If I wasn't busy, I was tired. Ha ha!
* I met some friends for dinner and dessert at The Cheesecake Factory on Tuesday. Two were complete strangers beforehand, but it was a fun evening. I tried very hard to behave with my eating. The cheesecake was looking mighty fine, but I only had a teeny taste from a friend. I did have a scoop of ice cream though. Just one scoop, and a bit of apple crisp which was much too sweet to eat.. and I was already full from my Mexican Tortilla Salad.
*Yesterday was Hannah's birthday. She and Sergio went out to dinner on a gift card from the Cabinetmaker, and I took Number Nine out to the water party at church. It turned out to be a little above him (inflatable water games). He didn't want to take his shoes off, and he doesn't get the concept of standing in line, and this grandma was seeing trouble. He did like the sidewalk chalk and the bubbles. I bought him a popcorn and took him to the spray park in Webster. He got soaked and loved it, and then we went to Wegmans to find a birthday balloon and a card for Mommy.
* Summer at the daycare is a never-know-what-the-day-will-bring affair. After strict orders to stick with the menu (in June), this week we had no Sunflower Butter for sandwiches. The Powers That Be were notified, but failed to deliver, so we had Sloppy Joes yesterday instead. I think the kids liked them better anyway. We're averaging just about 40 kids a day and most of the staff is seeing slightly shortened hours. Today was my turn to go home early.
* (I've been enjoying my "fan club" this week. With the heat wave settling in I find myself quite grateful for a or two fan blowing while I sleep. My attic isn't air conditioned so I may end up sleeping downstairs tonight. We'll see.
* Photos of the beautiful clematis my sister brought home from work for Mom. Priscilla worked at a clematis nursery years ago.
** Update- My attic is now air conditioned thanks to a God who loves me, a son and daughter in law who had an extra one handy, and a sister who I heard got the quest for one started. I am incredibly grateful.
I took my usual Monday night detour to the pottery studio on the way home. I was curious to see if my last people sculptures were out of the kiln. I found them waiting on the bisque shelf just like I expected, and my "self-sculpture" was waiting too. Both projects are glazed and waiting to be put through the fire again. This is the exciting part. Can hardly wait until next week!
As I was standing there in the studio, I glanced at the shelved full of glazed work and a bowl caught my attention. It had my "fingerprints" all over it, but I didn't recall a missing piece. I picked it up and turned it over. The speckled clay told me it was indeed mine, but I couldn't make out whether or not my name was engraved in the bottom. For a minute I was second guessing myself. I certainly don't want to take another potter's work... But on closer inspection I found my name was there hidden in the specks. How could I have doubted?
I am okay, but sometimes I still cry. Tears are okay.
I stayed home this morning and rummaged through the chaos that was once my bedroom. Low, slanted ceilings and lack of storage space (not to mention wall space), along with a hectic work schedule, makes keeping up a challenge. I'm not saying it's impossible, only that I'm not doing a spectacular job of keeping the place neat and tidy. It's not like I can spread myself and my belongings all through the house, although I've done a bit of that too. I have mounds of stuff to sort, some of which I left behind two years ago.
I am attached to things. It can be a character flaw of sorts, but I am working on it. This morning I tossed an old music box in the trash. The wood was cracked where the hinge attached to the lid, it was missing a decorative knob, and when I wound it up no music played. I tied it in a bag with some other junk even though deep inside I could still feel the emotions experienced when it was given to me. A gift by my parents when I was a young teen. Half an hour or so later it emitted a cry for help by playing a few straggling notes here and there. I did not rescue it. Baby steps.
It's been a quieter than usual weekend so far. I stayed home more, even attempted a nap this afternoon. I had a very nice lunch meeting with a friend. We sat and talked for two hours. And this evening when H and S went out to the mall, I went to the air conditioned Barnes and Noble, sat in one of their comfy chairs, and perused a book before coming back home for the night. Coming up to my room is much more enjoyable now that I can see the floor. And I have my "fan club" here to keep me cool.
Friday night. I always come home tired, but feeling like I don't have time to rest. There is so much to be done in the little time I have off work. No one was here when I came in the house. I tossed a few ideas around in my head; walk to the Fireman's Carnival, take myself out to eat, clean my room... I put on my shoes and socks, but before I could go anywhere my people came home, and guess what? They had plans to stay home! (How cool is that?)
Tonight I made myself a strawberry banana smoothie for supper, sat out on the back porch and shared it with Idris. Hannah came out to join us and she and I enjoyed watching the antics of a two and a half year old. He is full of energy and ideas! When he stubbed his toe and came to Mommy for some help, she kissed his boo-boo, shrugged her shoulders, and said, "It happens..." And he was good with that. Of course he came back several times with new owies to be tended and was soon laughing and saying, "It happens..."
When the little guy went to bed, Hannah and I looked at outside kid space ideas on Pinterest. Then she and Sergio went out to pick up some food while I stayed home to make sure no one ran off with the kid. And then we watched a movie. I'd call that a restful evening. Ahh... Now for some sleep before tomorrow's adventures.
* The pottery studio has been calling this week, but headaches and appointments kept me away. Tonight I took the ride all the way down Rt 31 from work right into the middle of the city of Rochester. I missed the latest bisque firing, the kiln was just loaded, but it's finally on the shelf to be fired. There are seven kids clustered on and around that bigger figure. (Psst! It's me!)
* I got home to find the family outside in the driveway at the picnic table just finishing up a pizza. (I'd already eaten.) They'd been to Aunt Rachel's house and she'd told Hannah she had something to tell her, but I needed to be there. Not wanting my daughter to be awake all night wondering, I took her back to Aunt Rachel's to see what it was all about. (I already knew.) Many years ago my mom started an afghan for Hannah. She had the panels done, and some of the stitching in between, but hadn't been able to put it together before she was no longer able. My sister's mother in law graciously finished the stitching and my sweet girl now has an afghan from her grandma.
* On July 1 we received some unexpected news from our Minnesota family. Number 13 is on the way! How cool is that? I think they were rather surprised too. Little Parker is just seven months old and he'll be a big brother in January. Looks like we might have to spend another Christmas without them... but just wait until the celebration when we do!
After fighting with headache, probably due to dehydration, the past two days, I have decided to turn in semi-early this evening. I force fed myself an entire water bottle (the glass kind that I filled myself) after work, and popped half an Excedrin. I'm feel so much better, but exhausted at the same time. I'll be pushing the fluids tomorrow.
That sweet granddaughter of mine is eight years old today! It seems only yesterday we walked down the hospital hallway and were greeted by her daddy who told us, "We got a girl!" (They'd not found out ahead of time.) He acted stunned. Ha ha!
I found a pair of pink boxing gloves in a gently-used toy store a few weeks ago. I vacillated over whether or not they were a good gift, but this young lady has had to tangle with two just-slightly-older brothers her entire life, and it hasn't always been fun. If nothing else I thought the gloves were good for a laugh. She pulled the tissue paper off the top of the gift bag containing an assortment of presents, exclaimed, "Yes!" and pulled the gloves from the bottom of the bag. It was worth every penny to see her delighted reaction! Now I must pray she doesn't knock anyone out...
I should probably save a couple pictures for next Sunday, but I'd probably forget all about them, so here they are today instead; two barns from my ride through the Wayne County countryside with my sister last week.
I love "naked" barns, and I love the old doors on this one. It's just an old carriage house behind a residence in the village of Newark, NY, but it caught my eye. I imagine a horse or two once lived inside, as well as the carriage, and there must have been a bit of hay stored up there in the top for a mother cat and her kittens to hide in. And maybe a kid or two.
The old hardware on the outside is pretty incredible. Looks like one door rolls along the outside and the other on the inside. The stick collection between the doors is a bonus too. Probably left by a few adventurous youngsters who went into the house in search of milk and cookies..
You know, I love old red barns as much as the naked ones. We took a slightly different route home last week and found this treasure. I'm sure in days gone by there would have been a bit of action in and around the barn, but last Sunday all was quiet and still. Too still.
I'm guessing an old tractor or two live in the smaller barn, and I love the dirt driveway. It conjures up the desire to take a walk through the field and back to the woods. It's hard to believe there aren't a few hootin' and hollerin' boys running about back there, a dog bouncing along at their heels...
Yup. The farms are much too quiet these days. Pop in over to Tom's place with me. Maybe he's got a pitcher of lemonade in the icebox.
Life has taken some unexpected turns, but through it all God has never left my side. He takes care of me every single day, never ceasing to remind me of His great love.
Every so often, on my way out the door to work or church, I look down the driveway, across the street toward the morning sun, and feel incredibly blessed. It isn't the same stunning view we had out on the farm in Williamson, scenes of apple trees and blueberry bushes, but beautiful in its very own familiar way.
The little blue house has been a constant throughout my life, always there across the way. The pine tree that once spread its full and lovely skirt across the ground, is now tall, sparse, and scraggly. The water tank, which once stood in solidarity with another, now stands alone, but it's been given a fresh new coat of paint, a new "Webster" banner, and it is no longer the eyesore it had been for so many years. The cell tower is new, but the morning sunlight is older than me. I remember our cat laying on the square of sunshine cast through the front window on the living room rug and how Mom told us that she liked the sunlight.
I'm feeling relaxed today, taking my time getting started, and not feeling guilty. It's almost 10 o'clock. I've taken my shower but second guessed my choice of attire and so am back in my jammies until I decide. I made myself a smoothie of oatmeal, almond milk, and frozen berries, and drank my coffee. A borrowed fan cools my feet and I am still sitting in bed. It's time to get dressed and get myself moving. Maybe a tall glass of water and a hug from Number Nine.
It was a good day. We cleaned the house, made some food, and set up the yard for a picnic, but the best part of every gathering is the people who show up and the connections we make with them.
I honestly can't remember the last time I saw my friend Ann. It's been a long time. She has struggled with sickness for many years and has lived far away, but today she showed up on my doorstep with her new husband. They've been married a year, but she tells me they were childhood sweethearts. He knocked on her door unexpectedly almost two years ago and they fell in love all over again. (Don't you just love stories like that?)
My feet are tired and my mind and body are exhausted. Sleep is not far off and I still need to get up for work in the morning. It's been a wonderful day.
I was running ahead most of today. Had my meatloaf mixed up before breakfast was finished. This is what comes with summer holidays. Twenty-eight, maybe. Just twenty-eight kids to feed. By three thirty I was free to leave, but I wasn't ready to go home yet...
Way back in March my sister bought me a Hot Stone Massage for my birthday. I dragged my feet making the appointment, not because I didn't want the massage, but because I was feeling so overwhelmed with other stuff. I finally did make the appointment, and today was the big day. It was absolutely wonderful! I loved it, and I think I will save up some money to try it again sometime. So relaxing! Best gift ever!!!
Once again I considered a trip to the pottery studio and came home instead. It was a good choice. I had dinner with my family and afterward Hannah and I took Idris out to the store for a few picnic supplies. I need to go back out tomorrow for a few more things, but mostly I'll be making some food and cleaning the house. (Maybe I ought to go to sleep, huh?)
I considered a return trip to the pottery studio, but came home first. Once I was home a bit of fatigue set in and driving into the city lost its allure. (Mostly I am curious about my sculptures.) I made a small serving of Cream of Rice and took a drive to my sister's house instead. We took our long walk. Did I tell you I was already tired? Ha ha! And I'm still awake...
The daycare center is a little stirred up this week. I spent a bit time in the young toddler room this morning during breakfast (It's a crazy place!) before my escape to the kitchen. Rather than break Megan K in the infant room after lunch, I gave Megan P some planning time and sat with the 3 year old class. I was covered with children in no time flat. By the time I went back to the infant room at 3:30 pm there was only one baby left. I went home just a tad early.
This morning I took a bag of treasures to the school age teachers; a Bop It! game I found at Goodwill, a Simon game I picked up at Savers, a couple of sticker books from Once Upon A Child, and one of my in-very-good-shape Calvin and Hobbes books. I think everything was enjoyed by someone and I am keeping my eyes open for more Bop It! games.
On Saturday afternoon/evening I had a surprise visit from my son Joe. We meandered about the yard, watered my new garden plants, and had a glass of sparkling Mandarin orange water before Hannah and Sergio came home. Then we ordered pizza for dinner.
Last night when Hannah and Sergio went out, I made a visit to Bethany's house. I found my little granddaughter looking quite beautiful. She is growing up. Adam was out to the store when I arrived. When he came home he brought pizza! Pizza two nights in a row! How cool is that?
Tonight I took a run to the pottery studio. I knew all the wheels were occupied by classes, but I had a couple little sculptures to check on. While there I found a little inspiration to do some more sculpting. I sculpted a Martha covered in children. Seven, of course, and they're all mine.
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 twelve, soon to be thirteen, beautiful grandchildren.