Sunday, July 29, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* The old "witch's hat" water tank is gone. The world will never be the same. (I kid, a little... ) I was reminded this week of how when giving directions to our home, Mom would very often say, "By the water tanks." They truly were a Webster landmark and beacon of home. Nothing lasts forever, I get that. I know it had to come down for safety reasons, and I am good with that. It's just a different skyline than I've ever known.

* The rains of the past week stayed on outside of the house.  When my brother in law prayed on Sunday night, and asked for rain, which we desperately need, I asked specifically that God keep it out of the living room. I am blessed and relieved He heard my prayer. Now I pray He keeps it out until the end of August when we hope to put on a new roof.

* It was an exhausting week. Sometimes I sleep good and other times I don't. There are nights when my mind is quiet and settled, and nights when  it spins out of control. Sometimes I am thinking about how I will ever be able to maintain this home, sometimes it spins over the pains and sorrows of my children, and other times it is the relationship between the Cabinet Maker and me.

* I stopped out at The House yesterday afternoon. If we are ever to make any headway in our relationship we must learn to communicate. He's not good at it, and I'm not good at it, especially when it means being open, honest, and vulnerable with each other. We have so much to work through if we are ever to have that kind of relationship. It will require putting aside denial, making decisions (on both sides) to forgive, and listening to the Voice of God in how to move forward. Those things are hard when wounds are deep and bleeding.

 * This morning I got to church early, and as I sometimes do, I set my bag and Bible on a couple of the seats next to me, reserving four spots for my sister and her family. It wasn't until the screen in front showed less than two minutes before the start of the service that I remembered she had gone to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I spent the second hour serving in Sunday school, attended a volunteer meeting/luncheon after that, and left feeling totally exhausted. I took a three hour nap this afternoon.

* On Sunday night I never feel ready to go back to work, but somehow when Monday morning arrives, I find myself okay. The little ones will be looking for me as much as I look for them. Grilled cheese sandwiches are on the menu. About 50 of them. I'll take preparing grilled cheese over last Friday's chicken salad. At least most of them will actually eat it. I love chicken salad, the kids don't love it so much.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Crowded Brain

Too many thoughts makes a body tired.

The house, my parents' house, needs a new roof. It needed one last year but we managed to stop up the leak with a slathering of roofing tar. We slathered several spots, but where the water actually comes in is anybody's guess. We all know that even a good roof won't last forever and no amount of denial will keep the water out. The roof has to be replaced. The Cabinetmaker has said he is willing to help me with the labor if he can organize a team of helpers. I'll probably need to take out a loan to cover the cost of materials.

Rachel and I took our brother Tim out for a ride on Sunday. The state is looking to move him out of his longtime residence and into a different state home. A worker was really excited about a place that opened up a month or so ago. We were less than excited as it was even farther than we drive now. We talked to a few people recently and have decided to begin a search of our own. Perhaps we have options other than the state. Please pray that the right place opens up and we can move our brother closer to us.

One of my boys is on a two week "vacation" except it's not really a vacation. Momma's hearts are always hurting for their children and I have a passel. Now that they're grown up they have grown up problems, and if it isn't one that is hurting, it's another. (On a happy note, we're getting another grandson in November.)

Life trials continue. Prayers are appreciated in this area too. Thank you for loving both of us and keeping us in your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Goodbye Old Friend

For the past twelve years my email has alerted me to new blog comments, but for some unknown reason they've stopped arriving in my inbox even though the setting remain the same. Disconcerting because occasionally a comment will pop up on an old post. How will I ever know now?

Life changes. It does. It's not the same as when I was a little girl, Not even the water tanks that welcomed me home for over 54 years are the same. One is gone. The final pieces came down this afternoon. I know it was necessary, but I still find it sad. It may have been an eyesore to some, and although I can't blame them for likely being glad to see it go, nothing said "home" quite like the Webster Water Towers standing side by side. (Second photo taken by a neighbor. I stole it from Facebook.)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Barn Collective

Am I too late?

My sister and I took our big brother for a ride through the countryside this afternoon. Pesky little sister that I am, I had my camera along.

Dog in the road. We had to turn around to catch his picture, and by then he'd turned around and headed the opposite direction himself. He thought we were a little loopy, I think. Ha ha!

We have to take a group photo every so often.

Hurry over to Tom's or you'll be late for supper!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Arriba Arriba

In years past I enjoyed a good neighborhood garage sale, but these days I'd rather peruse an old antique shop. I don't typically buy anything, I just look. Earlier this week I dropped (more like tossed) my new plastic "glass" in the driveway. It didn't shatter, because it's not glass, but it did have a crack from top to bottom. Sadness. I'd only had it a few weeks. It was a good run, I guess, and I drank lots of water during those hot, sticky days.

Early this week I told Hannah I was going to go in an antique store and buy myself one of those old Looney Tunes collectible glasses, the ones we got from Carroll's way back in the 70's. I specifically told her I wanted Speedy Gonzales. He can be tricky to find and costs a pretty penny, but he'd been my favorite before Mom and Dad bought new stoneware and packed all our old, mismatched dishes away and hauled them off to the Salvation Army. We had a decent, though incomplete, glass collection as kids. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester the Cat, Roadrunner, and Wile E. Coyote... They didn't keep a one so far as I recall.

A day or two after our conversation I was scrolling through Facebook when I came upon a friend who was purging her household and planning a garage sale. I flipped through her photos without anything catching my interest.; sleds, shoes, toys, glassware... Wait! What was that up there on the shelf? Speedy Gonzales! I think, perhaps, God was eavesdropping on our conversation.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Here I Am

It's hard to believe tomorrow is Friday already. It seems like yesterday was Sunday and my sister Priscilla, our friend Laura, and I were braving the heat and sunshine at the Corn Hill Festival in Rochester. Only Laura went home with a purchased treasure. I ate what little I bought, African Chicken and Rice, and a Sweet Potato Pie. It was exceptionally hot and my attire was not favorable as far as keeping me cool. In spite of my being overdressed, I did come home with a few nice photographs and a smile on my face.

This week had been entirely emotional, and those emotions have run the gamut from one end to the other. Did you know that change and growth can be painful? It can be, but in the midst of the pain is a sense of peace also. I can't explain other than to say, I know God is near in all of this. I am growing and I am changing as I learn. I could wish I'd known some of these things years ago, but God's timing is not like mine. He is the master and knows precisely when to add new ingredients to this project called "me." Even in times of sorrow there is peace and joy.

My sweet daughter turned 23 yesterday, and she was smiling. Her handsome husband took the day off to bless her, and they returned home in the evening with a peanut butter pie. (I have no photo of Hannah's pie, so you get my festival meal instead.) She is a peanut butter girl. I'd met up with my son Joe a little earlier and we were sharing a sub on the back porch when the peanut butter pie arrived. I had a small taste last night and a slightly bigger taste this evening. It is quite yummy in a peanut buttery kind of way.

The old water tank across the way continues to be dismantled a piece at a time. I'm capturing pictures as it disappears, finding myself fascinated and a wee bit nostalgic at the same time. I have at times been entirely too sentimental about inanimate objects and I am working on admitting it, and letting go. There is improvement in this area. (I think I hear GMJ cheering...)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* It was a slow week at work. I got to go home early twice due to low numbers. It means a slightly smaller paycheck, but I don't really mind too much. Chances are I'll make up for it in overtime eventually, or maybe I already have.

* Hannah and Sergio went out on Wednesday and I stayed home with Idris. We took a long walk, all the way to the village and back. On the way home we passed a young girl (with her mother) selling lemonade. It was hot and I had a few dollars in my pocket so I stopped to buy some. Fifty cents a cup. I gave her a dollar, let her make change, and then dropped the change back into her bowl as a donation. Made me think of my little grandson sitting out in the sun a week or two ago. He was selling lemonade too.

* On Friday, when I took the breakfast cart into the toddler room, my friend Addison came running. When I picked her up, she wrapped her little arms around me in a long, tight embrace. She's not quite two and she's a pistol, but she gives the best hugs! (That's my granddaughter there in the photo, not Addison. She's a cutie, a bit of a pistol, and I'm sure she gives pretty great hugs too, but she doesn't share them with me very often.)
* If I don't write it down, I probably won't remember it... I was thinking back on my week as I wrote this, but it was painfully obvious this evening when I forgot to show up at a dinner gathering. Actually, I'd written it down on Monday, tucked the address away in a safe place, and in the chaos and confusion of my mind, misplaced the information. Thankfully, one of the ladies called and delivered a gentle and loving reminder. I didn't make it for dinner, but I did arrive in time for dessert and prayer. I am blessed.

* I spent the morning at the pottery studio throwing and trimming. Trimmed right through the side of a pot. I guess that will happen once we get daring enough to push the limits. It's a learning experience. One of the instructors was there later, when I was throwing vessels, and gave me a few pointers. I am thankful.

* I was a bad, bad grandma this week and on a very hot afternoon, when Number Nine was filling his pool and watering the grass with the garden hose, I taught him how to get a drink. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Old Water Tanks

It was an incredibly beautiful morning, one of those mornings where going to work is a teeny, tiny bit hard because it would be such an incredible day to play and gallivant. I had an extra minute or two and so I grabbed my camera for an early morning photo. As I clicked the shutter the thought occurred that this photo was pretty much an exact duplicate of one taken perhaps a month or two ago. I chided myself on being redundant, climbed into my car, and went to work.

I didn't think much about the photos during the day. I didn't plan to post them and might have deleted them altogether if I hadn't gotten a bit of a shock on my way home. I left work early. I could have decided to do any number of things, but today I was thinking of my sweet daughter and made my way home to see what she was up to. As I drove down the hill where the water towers stand, I gasped and did a double-take. There on the ground underneath the oldest tank was a heap of metal. The dreaded demolition has begun. I rounded the corner into our little neighborhood, looked up, and took a picture of the underbelly of the old tank. It's missing now, but it was there this morning.

As a small child I watched you turn from gray to blue, to silver, to aqua... Mom would point out the window sometimes and say, "Look! There's a man up on the water tank." And there he would be, walking the catwalk, climbing the ladders, or beginning the monumental task of painting not one, but two gargantuan tanks. When my small son was sick in the hospital in Rochester, NY, I could look out his window, see the tanks standing side by side, and know exactly where my childhood home stood, and where my other children were playing in the care of their grandma. Strange comfort...

Farewell, old friend. For over fifty years you have been an icon, a beacon of security, and a symbol of home. I can't imagine one of you without the other...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Party!

Happy Birthday, Number Four!

So, there was this party I was invited to. It was my grand- daughter on the other end of the phone about a week ago. "Hi, Grammy?" she said, "Can you come to my birthday party? It's July 8 at 2 o'clock, and it's at Grampy's house." I assured her I would be there.

Wasn't it just a few days ago that we were conniving how to keep Gramanita just a little bit longer, long enough to welcome our new grandchild? I was scrambling to gather all my family in one place before Grandma could get away and before the baby arrived to thwart the gathering. The gathering  was successful and the very next day we were blessed with our first granddaughter. It was a whirlwind of activity! We kept Gramanita long enough to have an early birthday celebration for Hannah, and the following Sunday delivered my sweet mom in law to her childhood friend in Fort Erie, Ontario who would give her a ride to the Toronto airport when it was time to go home. I miss those crazy, wonderful, days! And I miss my mom in law too. I pray I will get to feel her arms around me again one day.

So anyway, Aubrey had a wild and crazy party. There was  a homemade water slide, water balloons, a sprinkler, a pinata, snow cones, fruit, a barbecue, cake and ice cream, presents, friends, cousins, and noise. Lots of noise. The best part was that it wasn't my job to keep track of any children, make sure they behaved, tell them to be quiet (or nice), or pick up after them. Yeah, being a grandma is a pretty good deal!.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

The Barn Collective

I've driven past the house countless times, but never stopped. Once it was for sale and I toyed with going to an open house or calling the realtor as a perspective buyer, but I didn't. I never stopped until today. I only wanted a few pictures of the old chicken coop. (It counts as a barn, right?)

A little red outbuilding nestled in the trees. I'm sure it stood straighter 70 or 80 years ago, but the wonderful thing is, it's still standing, even if it does looked just slightly "tired." It's not a chicken coop today, though I'm sure it'd make a grand one. Today it is a wood shed, and that's okay because it's still being productive.

My great grandfather built this "barn" many years ago. While my dad's parents worked during the week, my dad and his brother "lived" with their grandparents on the old farm on Creek Street in Penfield, NY. (It was his other grandparents who lived in Angelica.) Grandma cooked eggs for breakfast (no wonder!) and Grandpa was my dad's fishing buddy when he was a little guy.

Once, when Grandma and Grandpa were out Dad and his brother wanted to see if chickens could fly. They each too a bird up into the barn and put it out the window onto the barn roof where the chickens flapped and squawked down the slope and over the edge to the ground below. The boys thoguht it was great fun until their grandfather pulled into the driveway. I guess they could tell they'd made a grave mistake by the look on Grandpa's face, and likely the lickin" they got to remind them never to try it again. The chickens were fine, of course, just a bit "shaken up." Grandma probably got a few less eggs the following day. Ha ha!

So, this afternoon, on my way home from church, I got brave. I stopped and knocked on the door of my great grandparents' old house and asked if I could take a few photos of the old chicken coop. I couldn't help but think of Dad saying how the kids used to steal moldy, old Pfeffernüsse cookies off the floor of chicken coop where the bakery delivery truck dumped the old stock for the hens to eat. Scoldings came if they were caught at it, but they tried it anyway. Such naughty boys!

Come on over to Tom's. It's beautiful day to lounge about in the shade.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* Where did the week go? Wednesday holidays totally throw off my thought processes. To make things a little more confusing, I went into work late on Thursday and Friday and stayed until six. I had a long snuggle with Derek on Friday when he was the last baby. We walked the halls and he peed on me. I think I love him.

* On Thursday morning, while I was getting ready to leave the house, I heard a scritching and scratching in the vent pipes in the utility room. I was sure a squirrel had fallen down the chimney. The only thing I could think to do was call the Cabinet Maker. I had to leave to meet my sister for breakfast before work and I didn't want any deceased critters clogging up the pipes. He came over and took the vent pipes apart to release an imprisoned and very tired grackle.

* I ate dinner with my sister Rachel twice this week. This afternoon we took a ride to visit our brother and take him for a ride through Barn Heaven. I had my camera along but the battery was dead. No pictures today. Tim was probably relieved. Ha ha! When we picked him up at the house, he was watching for us out the window and singing "Going to the Chapel." Hearing our nonverbal brother sing is a rare and priceless gift.

* Number Four turns eight tomorrow. I'm charging my camera batteries so I can catch some pictures of my grandchildren.  I miss my kids. I know they're grown up and all, but I still miss them. I'm looking forward to a few hugs tomorrow.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

A New Day

This morning a bright new day dawned. I got up at my usual time, drove toward work, and then took a small detour when I was just about there. I didn't have to be to work until nine o'clock this morning. My sister Priscilla had a meeting at her school at nine o'clock too. Since we had the chance, we jumped at it, and met up for an early breakfast at The Log Cabin.

The parking lot, which is full of classic cars on their web site, was pretty much empty, but the door was unlocked so we ventured inside. For half an hour or so we had the entire dining room to ourselves and I found it very nice to have a morning meal with the sister I don't often catch up with. I ordered an omelette with broccoli and cheddar cheese, and home fries. (Notice the photo is old and was not taken at the Log Cabin. It was taken somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains several years ago when this sister and I went off on an adventure.) I saved half of my omelette and half of my potatoes for lunch.

Work was busy and I got out at closing time. This was planned and will be the same tomorrow, only I won't be going out to breakfast. After work I went to my sister Rachel's house. I worked on a jigsaw puzzle with her mother in law, and Rachel fed me a hotdog, some potato salad, and "trucker sized" chunks of watermelon. It was a good day and I am tired. Now that my room is cooling down, perhaps I can go to sleep.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


There is no way to win this game I never wanted to play, but here I am. I think I know just a smidgen (or maybe more) how the folks trapped in the Jumanji Game felt. They wanted to fold it up and put it away, but the game wouldn't quit. There is no ejection seat, no escape hatch, and no rewind button in the Game of Life. No magic words will erase the past no matter how we wish it to be so.

There was no family gathering today. Perhaps my children will never again be gathered into one place for a day of celebration... I can pray to that end, but I can't make it happen, even if it is my greatest desire. Today I went home to Williamson. I traded cars with the Cabinet Maker, sorted through some stuff, and helped him move a dresser from upstairs to the living room. The house is looking more put together than it has for the past several months. This is good. We shared some lunch, he showed me his garden. Naughty Too came to say hello several times, we let the remaining two chickens out to wander the yard for a bit, and we talked. Talking is hard.

I wish I could say our conversations are productive. Maybe they are... but I feel completely helpless tonight. I want to sleep, but when I lay down to close my eyes, sleep does not come. Instead of sleep there are tears of anger, grief, and overwhelming sadness. I have buried my anger for a very long time. It's been pushed down, capped tightly, and left to ferment. I know better days are ahead, but in this moment it feels like life will never be free from this grief. His actions may have landed us here, but it feels I am the one left to figure out how manage the broken pieces. It's too much for any of us to handle alone. I know Who can help me through this mess, but I don't always know exactly how to find Him...

Tomorrow morning I will get up, take my shower and meet my sister Priscilla for breakfast. I will go to work later than usual and work until the daycare closes. I will be grateful for my job in the kitchen and the little ones who look for me each day. And little by little, with God's help and His hand to hold, I will climb this mountain. He hasn't left me. Even when I feel alone He is here. He hasn't left either one of us. For this I am thankful.

And So...

As I work through the trials of life, I want my friends to know I appreciate the love and prayers so many of you have offered and continue to offer. The cards you send, the words you say, just knowing you think of me (us) touches my heart. Whether or not you know the circumstances of our separation, your prayers matter. I wish I could say I knew exactly where to look in scripture for the answers to my many questions or our specific situation, but I know God doesn't always work the same way, or always have the same answer for everyone. Perhaps this is why I find concrete answers so elusive. It's not because He doesn't care how I respond, but because He does.

There are many days when life feels good, and then the moments when I feel as though I am drowning. The road to being healthy spiritually and emotionally has been, and still is, long. Sometimes I fear I may never reach my goal simply because it is strange and foreign. Three years ago my right knee bounced continually when I sat, and every time I laid down I could hear my blood pulsating in my ears. My knee rarely bounces now and I no longer hear that swishing in my ears when I attempt to rest, but my breath still catches, my heart still aches, and mind still races.

Tonight, although the house was empty when I arrived home, I did not go out. I climbed what my father referred to as "the wooden hill," and fell into bed at 7:20 pm. I am just a wee bit exhausted from the heat, a mild sunburn, and lack of a solid night's sleep. I woke up at 10:30 pm to use the facilities and here I am writing at midnight. Still tired and signing off.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

No Barns Today

It's summer! It's hot! Texas has nothing on us this weekend.

I was blessed with a small bouquet of flowers on Friday, a gift from a small blue eyed child. It was his last day at daycare. I will miss his sweet smile and the little arms that so often have wrapped themselves about my neck. This is perhaps the hardest goodbye yet. Part of the job is loving these little ones well, attaching because it makes us love them more, and then letting go, because they aren't ours to keep. It is an exercise.

Yesterday morning I went out to do some shopping. I wandered through Hobby Lobby, hung out at Barnes and Noble, perused Target, and rambled about Lowes. I enjoyed free air conditioning, picked up a few small items, and soaked in the heat when returning to my car. Finally, I took a walk through Wegmans, gathered a few groceries, and took them home. I was nearly home when my sister called and invited me over to swim. Nice.

My sister's pool is calling again. Just gotta grab my Tangerine Orange Sparkling Water and go.

Say cool and hydrated!