Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Those Cousins

Almost twenty years ago both of my sisters and I had new babies. Allen (wearing the hat) arrived in early March, Michael (with the hair) in mid-April, and Hannah (She's bald...) made her appearance a little more than halfway through July. My parents gained two grandsons and a second granddaughter. (It only took them just under ten years to acquire granddaughter number two. It's taking us four...)

Mom and Dad always hosted holiday picnics when the weather was warm; Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. Everyone looked forward to family gatherings in Grandma and Grandpa's back yard. In September of 1995 we decided to take what we though might be annual photos of our newest family members.

I'm not sure what became of our plan. Maybe we couldn't get them to be still, or maybe we ended up in different places on those long weekends. Perhaps it was because I hadn't yet discovered the beauty of digital photography. Whatever the reason, I did manage to capture the three at one year old. I have pictures of both the boys "driving" the car, and several of Hannah using it for a house. She even climbed through the back window.

I never even thought of getting a picture on Saturday, but before heading out Hannah asked if I would take their picture. They couldn't remember the exact order of the infant photo, but I kind of like the variety in this collection. They're all grown up now. Well, mostly... and I love this newest picture of them. I can't believe how great they all turned out to be and I'm proud of every one.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cold and Wet

Not quite the June weekend we'd been hoping for. It's been a cold, wet couple of days, the kind where you wish only for a cozy corner and a warm blanket to curl up in.

There's not been much going on here at home other than feeble attempts to keep Oreo off the furniture. His abscess, which had begun to drain just before we came home yesterday afternoon, is a putrid mess. It didn't take me long to get him off the back of the couch when I saw it, but it did take a few minutes before I realized what had happened. A friend of mine gave me a bottle of Silver Biotics to feed him here and there, along with a tube of Silver Gel to put on the wound once it stops draining. Tomorrow I'll have to decide whether to take him to the vet for an antibiotic shot. I'm not exactly sure how to make that decision on a 16 year old cat...

It's been a big week in the news and on Facebook. Someone posted a photo that said, "My Facebook feed looks like a battle just broke out between the Confederate Army and a Skittles factory." Guess that sums it all pretty good.

Photos are from yesterday's gathering at Canandaigua Lake. The beach was deserted aside from the geese and a few seagulls. Good thing for the pavilion we had gathered in. It was a nice party in spite of the rain.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


We were off to my niece's graduation party today. It rained and rained. Upon our arrival back at home I found the cause of our poor Oreo's agony. He has an abscess. I will spare you the gory details and just say, "It's gross."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Happenings

Today was a quiet kind of day. After lunch I decided to take a ride out to the nursing home in Sodus to visit some friends.

I signed the visitor's log and headed down the hall to find My Coloring Friend, but when I peeked into her room her bed was neatly made and she was missing. I had arrived on a rare day. She was out of bed, had been to the hairdresser, and was eating her lunch in the library. Another resident was there too and she kept us entertained with her antics. I found myself smiling and enjoying the visit. (I really should take a notebook along so I don't forget the funny things the residents say.) It was Ice Cream Social Day in the activities room and today I was able to sit with a few of the ladies and enjoy a bowl of ice cream rather than have to run off and be a CNA. It was a nice couple of hours.

This evening we had some surprise visitors when my boys returned to finish the trimming job they started on my bushes yesterday. My daughter in law and the kids came along too. Leta doesn't do gardening so she brought along her bag of nail polish and painted my toes for me. (She's my favorite!) I did a bit of trampoline jumping with the kids. It left me feeling dizzy for way too long afterward. I've decided I either need to get up there more often (it's a good workout), or stay down altogether.

It was a good day. Tomorrow we have a graduation party to attend. I've made two pretty jellos to take along. No fruit or vegetables in it, just jello and Dream Whip. It's our favorite kind.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I Scream...

There was the noise of children ringing through the house today. I made macaroni and cheese for lunch, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yesterday, on my way home from work, I stopped at the store for a loaf of bread from the bakery. I came home with ice cream sandwiches too. Lucky kids!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hands Off

My new job is quite different than the previous one. I went from doing total hands on work to total hands off. It's a whole different way of thinking and the hardest thing about being a companion to my new friend is that she requires a lot of hands on care. Since she lives in a long term care facility, the hands on care doesn't come from me. I am strictly a companion. When she needs hands on help, I get to press the call button and wait for a CNA to come help her do what I would have done myself in my other job. It's like I've done a total flip flop.

Whereas my other job kept me running for twelve hours, this job comes with a potential for a significant amount of downtime. Today I was able to take my friend outside to the courtyard where we enjoyed the fresh air, sunshine, and the chirping of birds for about an hour before we came back in to her room for a snack. I'm learning something totally new all over again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What's Your Name?

My sisters and I went out to lunch at Panera Bread yesterday. I had to laugh at the tickets when we picked up our plates. Rachel's name is printed in an alternative spelling, even though she told them how to spell it. Priscilla's name is scarcely recognizable at all. And me? Well, I'm Thelma, of course! Actually, Thelma and I had identical orders. When I slipped into the restroom, she stole my lunch.

Sick Kitty :(

Oreo is still with us, for now. He walks slow and stiff. His fur is messy and feels dirty. He still eats and drinks, but I know he can't last long this way. Right now he is curled up in his favorite spot behind my right shoulder on the back of the couch. I gave him an extra bit of snuggling this evening. He closed his eyes and soaked it up, and I remembered back to his kitten days...

Early one Sunday morning when we lived in town, a lady knocked on our door. She held a small kitten in her hands. "I found this kitten laying by the side of the road," she said, "Do you know who he belongs to?" The little boy with her suggested keeping him, but his mother said no. I told her that I didn't know who he belonged to, but I had a friend who might take him.

The little guy couldn't walk on his back legs and was scared to death. When we set him down, he leaned onto his two front feet and took off to hide under the furniture. We put him in a box and tried to coax him to eat and drink, but he would have nothing. He didn't even leave a mess in the box. He was in obvious distress. The friend I was so sure would take him in didn't have room for another kitty, so the next day I took him to the veterinarian to find out what was wrong with our new friend.

In the waiting room we ran into an elderly woman who I knew to be a "collector of cats". She looked directly at me and said, "You ARE going to keep him, aren't you?" The vet looked him over and decided he had a dislocated ankle and overnight we became the guardians of one small and very frightened kitten.

We were already the owners of a very large and fluffy, orange male cat named Peaches. Our new friend, eventually named Oreo, frightened of people, found great comfort in our other feline friend. Peach, a rough old tomcat, was initially a little taken aback by the attention lavished on him by the orphan kitten, but in an unusual turn of events they became great friends.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Poop, Poopy Doop and Sofie's Plastic Prison

Poop is not my very favorite thing. It is not the very favorite thing of My Darling, but quite often, in the early morning hours, we find that someone has left us an offering. We are not pleased. Not ever.

Our dear Oreo Cookie is not feeling well at all. Kidney failure can be a long cruel disease. He has been leaving almost nightly "offerings" and they are highly unpleasant. Today he is having a rather difficult time ambulating and I fear his remaining time with us is short. Poor old guy.

Sofie-the-naughty-dog has also fallen into the habit of offering up small stinky gifts when left home alone too often. (Lately she has been left alone too often.) She is now condemned to the Plastic Prison at bedtime. It's a good thing for her that Grandma's Princess Cushion fits so nicely under the laundry basket otherwise it would be a long, cold night on the floor. Thankfully, the Plastic Prison treatment works well and she can be out on patrol during the daytime.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Father's Day Thought or Two

Is there room for another sappy Father's Day post?

As I sat in church this morning, listening to the Father's Day message, my thoughts once again turned to my dad. He was a great dad and wonderful example in life, but the deepest impact came, I think, in the blessing of watching him pass from this life into the one beyond.

Death is the scary sentence that each one of us face. Our crime? Simply having been born an imperfect being in a fallen and imperfect world to imperfect parents. No amount of hard work or bargaining will remove the certainty that comes with time, time that flies by faster with each year that passes. It's almost as if we gain momentum as we go.

I can still hear my dad say, "I don't WANT to die. There are still a lot of things I'd like to do." But he had also chosen not to fight the cancer growing within with drugs and radiation. Of his decision he remarked, "What's the worst that can happen? I die?" It felt unfair in so many ways, but Dad knew  he would only be fighting the inevitable.

My dad, the man who had welcomed his children into this world, sheltered and provided for us, prayed over us and for us, was about to give us one of the greatest gifts a parent can leave their children and grandchildren. He showed us how to die. He held onto his faith in Jesus when life's darkest moments came.  When it took all of his strength to say two words, he used those words to strengthen and encourage us in the faith.

There are plenty of moments when my faith is shaken, moments when holding on to faith in Jesus and doing the right thing feels literally impossible. And then I remember my dad. I remember him singing, praying, and quoting scripture,. I remember his tears at the realization that he wouldn't be here to take care of Mom in her final days. And I remember his prayers, prayers that we would hold onto the faith that led him through life, would now carry him through those last moments on earth, and finally usher him into the world beyond.

Thank you, Dad, for the gift of faith. It's not always easy. The world isn't much on Christianity, and honestly, we haven't always set the best example, but at the end of the line, there isn't anything better.

Seven, Six, Five....

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

It was a hope against reality. I sent out the suggestion late and knew it was a long shot.

It's been a long time since our entire family sat in church together. "Perhaps," I thought, "perhaps I could get a few of my six local children to show up at church and surprise their dad." Two had previous commitments in their own churches, two didn't answer, and one stood us up. One sweet girl got out of bed this morning and came to church to show her love and appreciation. It didn't turn out quite like I'd envisioned. Although he wondered at her presence (she usually goes to another fellowship), it didn't bring the same kind of surprise that would have been evoked at the appearance of, say, three or four of our offspring.

This afternoon we're celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, and fathers with a strawberry shortcake party. I'm betting everyone shows up for that.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Thirty-four years ago this day I promised to love, honor, and obey as long as we both should live.  It's been a struggle for both of us. ha ha! We've had some great years and some not so great, but here we are, still learning to love and respect each other in spite of all life brings our way. Only by the grace of God.

Last night found us taking a ride down Lake Road to Sodus Point. It was a beautiful evening.

The beach wasn't crowded, but there were people. Families were fishing, couples were strolling, and a small group of teens were playing by the water.

In just a few minutes I'll be heading out to my new job. Even though it's low pressure and I have nothing to fear, I still feel that little bit of hesitation that comes with anything new.

I have packed a book to look at while my friend naps, a few snacks, a couple bottles of water, and a thermos of orange passion- fruit and jasmine green tea. Leaving the crochet hooks home until I have a better handle on how my days will go.

I am off into the unknown, but first I have to stop by Urgent Care and have them look at my PPD test spot. Wouldn't you know it? I have a bug bite right next to it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Scream

Warm water ran down my back as I lathered shampoo through my hair. My eyes were closed as I scrubbed. I leaned back into the stream of warm water to rinse my hair, opened my eyes, and heard a hideous scream escape my own throat. A short, sharp, scream of fright, the kind Mom used to make. The kind I try so hard to avoid making. There, just a few inches from my head was a skinny, long legged spider.

I felt silly for having screamed and the spider, who had just been inches from my head, did his best to climb a wet strand of web to the relative safety of the ceiling. I attempted to keep my eye on the spindly creature who at least twice escaped my field of vision when he again fell toward the warm bath collecting in the tub below.

I couldn't help but think of Mercer Mayer's "Little Critter" and his constant spider companion. I wondered if Mrs. Critter ever screamed at the unexpected company.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


The new job is different, vastly different, from the last one. This is strictly Companion Care. I'm there to provide companionship and a watchful eye. No hands on care. No feeding. No dressing. No bathing. No helping in and out of chairs or beds. No help to the toilet. I've gone from providing total care, to minimal care. I've also gone from running around in literal circles for 12 hours a day to likely sitting around for several instead. My new friend already lives in a facility that provides nursing care so I won't even be preparing light meals or doing much housework. Maybe a little straightening of the room or perhaps the bed. I'll need to bring my own "entertainment" for those times when my friend is sleeping; books, reading material, yarn and a crochet hook... That kind of stuff.It's a new adventure.

A Few Quiet Minutes

There are just a few minutes left to sit in the quiet before it's time to get myself ready for the day. Sleep was fairly elusive last night, probably something having to do with out-of-control-hormones. Those are the nights one particular child will enter my thoughts repeatedly and be bathed in prayer all night long. (Perhaps there is actually a reason other than hormone induced madness...)

Yesterday morning found me out on the back porch with my breakfast. It's still a nice spot to sit, but I'm not used to being out there alone day after day. It was hard to believe a few short years ago that I would ever find so many quiet moments, but it had to happen. Even my own kids couldn't stay little forever.

So, now I am off to shower and get myself ready for the new job. There is a much better sense of anticipation with this one than the last. Although I still miss my resident friends at the nursing home, I am looking forward to making new friends. My time at the facility in Sodus taught me many lessons and I am grateful for the six weeks I spent there. I have at least a little bit more confidence going into this new adventure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wind , Rain, and Sun (Not necessarily in that order)

Thursday morning I start work at my new job so I took full advantage of my perhaps last Tuesday off. After lunch at church I headed off to the credit union to deposit that paycheck I picked up last Friday. I wandered about in the Dress Barn (just looking), then popped into Radio Shack to put some minutes on my cell phone where I was informed they had been taken over by Sprint and no longer deal with AT&T and a host of other phone carriers. I learned there is an AT&T store in Webster where it is really, really easy to put extra time on my mobile account. I bought a pair of jeans in KMart, had my ring cleaned at Kay Jewelers, ran in Wegmans for some groceries, and picked up a new lens cap for my fancy lens at Rowe Photo before heading home. (Are you bored yet?)

It turned out to be a beautiful day aside from the frantic wind that wants to throw my hair every which way and wrap it around my head. It's a lake wind that isn't blowing so ferociously a few miles south of here. Maybe it will dry up some of that extra water that's laying around due to rain, rain, rain.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bits to Carry Home

"Choose your addictions carefully."

That is the thought I carried away from this morning's message at church. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 2 Corinthians 6:12

Long ago I was encouraged to always carry something away, something to both encourage and challenge me in my walk. This is just such a morsel...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday at Home

Only a trip to the United States Post Office today. Breakfast was eaten on the back porch. Poached eggs on toast. I was pleasantly surprised when I took them out of the water. They turned out perfect, thanks to Linda, who let me in on the secret of keeping the white together. Just add a little bit of vinegar to the water. And they tasted as yummy as they look.

The birds have finally decided my new bird feeder is okay. They emptied it quite nicely over the course of the day.

An attempt was made at weeding my corner garden. The wheel- barrow is filled to over- flowing and could probably be filled several more times. Lush, dense, and overgrown, this garden is full of ferns and giant Jack-in-the-pulpits. Hidden away in weeds wild and unruly, grow my Oswego tea and purple bee balm.

And watching the activities of the day go by is Little Cat, taking it easy on the back porch, alternating between sunshine and shade as she wills.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Key Fobs and Crayons

The day dawned dark and dreary, the kind of weather where sleep struggles to keep control and the mind remains foggy long after the morning dose of caffeine should have taken over. Only the ringing of the phone kept me from giving in to the slumber. Of course the number on the other end was unfamiliar and the caller didn't bother to leave a message. I decided to take a shower and get my day underway.

Since time was plenteous and my check was waiting at the nursing home, I put on my Big Girl Pants and set out to turn in my badge and key fob. I took along the pencil/crayon sharpener purchased the other day at Walmart for My Coloring Friend. I'd been nervous about showing my face, but got a decent reception from those with whom I'd worked. I even got a hug from one. My Coloring Friend was happy to see me and before I left was sharpening a few of her favorite colors. I hope to visit her again soon.

On my way home I stopped by my friend Deb's house to say hello and see how her garden was growing, and this afternoon, when the skies once again grew dark and dreary, I tipped over on the couch and went to sleep.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

He Calls Me "Mammy"

My day was different than I had originally anticipated. My Darling called this morning to find out if I had plans to be out his way and if I was going to Webster, could I please bring him a battery charger for his cordless tools. Since I arrived close to lunch time, we went to Moe's for lunch and shared a burrito.

My afternoon was spent playing with a small boy named Jake, visiting with my daughter Bethany, and helping her fold laundry. I stayed with Jake while she went to an appointment, and met Josh when he came off the school bus. I stayed outside in the sun long enough to feel like my face and lips are sunburned. Oh, and Jakie can't quite say "Grammy" yet, so I have become "Mammy" instead. ha ha!

It's been weeks since I made it over to visit my friend Brenda on a Thursday night, so we spent some time catching up this evening.  (Don't tell James, but she wanted to know if I wanted to get an ice cream for dinner at Yia Yia's).

Only one of my background checks (two different counties) came back today and so it will be at least Monday before I can start orientation at the new place. I'm planning to pick up my check at the other facility tomorrow, and then I'll have the weekend off, more or less. Maybe one day I'll find some more grandchildren to play with.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Playing Catch Up

It was a day of sunshine and storms. No naps today. Hannah helped me rearrange the back porch this morning. It's all ready for summer; company, family picnics. or a simple solitary cup of coffee. My Darling and I even took our supper outside this evening.

This afternoon I picked a bouquet of peonies and potted a few plants. How about that old swan planter? Cool, huh?

I spent the morning attempting to organize scattered belongings in Mom's room. Glassware was moved from cardboard boxes to the glass library bookcase, books transferred to lower shelves, the table cleared and spread with a hand crocheted tablecloth from a friend in Canada who we call "Gramma Gail." It looks nice.

My plans for tomorrow have changed. My background checks haven't come back yet, so I will have another day at home. I wonder what kind of project I will find to do?

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Bread Pudding for Breakfast

Gray and overcast with drizzles of rain. It is the time of year when proud peonies are humbled, bowing low in the face of torrential downpours.

I came "almost directly" home after prayer and Bible study, but not before taking a detour past my favorite little ice cream shoppe. Yia Yia's is a crowded gathering spot on hot summer evenings. The line often snakes out the door and patrons visit in line as they wait their turn to order. Today there was no line and no waiting. I was the only customer braving the rain to enjoy a "small" chocolate/vanilla twist, which wasn't small at all. I had already determined to make it lunch and it was delicious.

The drizzly afternoon was perfect for napping and I had some sleep to catch up on, so I pulled the afghan over my legs and closed my eyes. At one point I woke up totally disoriented, hardly knowing where I was and desperately trying to figure out what time of day it was. I'd been asleep for about an hour, on my living room couch, but felt like I had slept all night. Still groggy, but reoriented, I closed my eyes again...

PS. Happy 3rd anniversary to #5 and his beautiful bride!
(I love you, Nate and Sabrina!!!)

Monday, June 08, 2015

Stress Reduction

It has not exactly been a stress-free weekend. Although I hand delivered my letter of resignation to the recep- tionist at the front desk of the nursing home on Friday, I was not entirely sure if it had actually been delivered to the recipient. This morning I knew I had to make a phone call and confirm the letter was received. I put it off until I couldn't stand it any more. I knew a load would be lifted once it was done, and I needed to know if they were expecting me to show up bright and early tomorrow morning. The telephone conversation was short. The nurse manager asked no questions, only confirmed she had gotten the letter. So that is that. This afternoon I went for anther work physical, dropped off some paperwork, and talked with my new employer. Orientation is Thursday morning.

I had visitor today. My friend Vinnie came to play for a while, and he brought his mom, one sister, and a friend along. I didn't take any pictures so you will just need to imagine old Fisher Price toys and Hot Wheels cars scattered across the living room. Just like old times, but without the stress. I even got a very nice hug before he climbed in the car to leave.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Sunday Driver

Most Sunday Drivers travel at a lower rate of speed than the general public, but not my guy. My Darling wants to get there (wherever "there" might be), and he isn't necessarily into meandering along the way. However, this afternoon he slowed down to stop and let me take a few pictures. Wasn't that nice?

Up in the hills above Keuka Lake, was an old stone building that we both found fascinating.

The day was perfectly gorgeous with summer-like temperatures and lots of sunshine. Just the right kind of afternoon for Sunday Drivers.