Thursday, October 31, 2019

Best Candy Ever!

We were MnM's this time. The first photo I wasn't quite ready for, and the second is blurry but I love the little sloth photo bomber. Shhh! Don't tell anyone she's there and maybe they won't notice.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Little Punkins

I received some fabulous hugs from my little friends today. They fill my cup each morning and I am so blessed to have them in my life. My heart hurts when they are sad, especially when one of them is having a difficult time adjusting. So many little people are hurting deep inside but don't have the words or knowledge to share their pain. Sometimes all they can do is cry, and the best I can do is hold them and tell them they are loved. Putting them down and walking away is hard, but I trust that every little word, every smile I give, and every hug will make a difference. I pray deep down inside they will know and remember they are loved.

Tonight our own little guy was having a rough moment. Mom and Dad had run out for a short bit and he was distressed. Nothing I tried worked, so I put his sweatshirt on him and took him out for a walk around the block.
It was a little after 5 pm and overcast. He rustled through piles of leaves and looked at Halloween decorations. We stopped to chat with out backyard neighbor who has the blowup motorcycle guys and by the time we returned home he had regained his composure.

Our Jack O'Lantern pumpkins were waiting for us in the driveway by the side of the house. Idris helped me unlock the door and we carried those pumpkins inside for a bath in the kitchen sink. When Mommy came home we had fun carving them.  Daddy had to run an errand and missed out on the fun, but there are still two pumpkins waiting for him and mommy.

 I hope one day Idris will look back and enjoy the memories of these days as much as my sisters and I still hold the memories of doing things like this with our parents. I love it all, right down to the smell of the pumpkin with a burning candle inside. All those yummy feelings come rushing back and I am a child again...

Monday, October 28, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* This past weekend was rough. Both my women's groups were cancelled the two weeks prior and spent way too many evenings home alone. By Friday evening I was emotionally drained. I should have followed through with my original evening plan to visit the pottery studio, but there were no parking places left on the side street and Monroe Avenue is torn up due to construction.

* I had no Saturday plans, but it was a gorgeous autumn day. My sister Rachel agreed to go out with me for a couple hours even though it was her anniversary. We drove out Lake Rd toward Sodus and along the way I felt the need to drive through the orchard. She asked if we were trespassing and I said, "Yes." She said, "Will we get in trouble?" and I answered, "I never have before." I soaked it in and let it heal a little piece of my heart.

* At Beechwood State Park we ran into some friends of mine and I wasn't even surprised to see them there. They were coming out and we were going in. As we trudged toward the lake, I think Rachel wondered where in the world I was taking her, how far we would walk, and how long it would be until we turned around and headed home.

* I zigzagged down country roads coming home and passed a familiar looking fellow along the way. I rolled down the window to say hello and found that it was not my friend keyRandy from the nursing home, but his partner Dan. He suggested stopping by the house, but Rachel was ready to go home. Maybe I'll stop by next time.

* Sunday was church and Sunday school, a visit to our brother Tim, and a ghost birthday party for Number Nine who just turned three.

* Today I was careful to keep track of my car keys, but even so they were not in my pocket when I walked into the chiropractor's office. I didn't notice until I was on my way back to the room. After I was hooked up to the tens unit, he ran outside to see if he could find them. He found in the ignition with the car doors unlocked. I am totally and hopelessly blond.

* The doctor asked what I was doing this evening and I had no plans. At his suggestion, I stopped on the way home for a few pumpkins to carve into Jack O'Lanterns. It would have been a splendid activity this evening, but Hannah was working. Maybe we can do it tomorrow.

Friday, October 25, 2019


One of the hardest things is knowing he's lonely too, and still standing my ground...

There are broken pieces inside of me that I am struggling to put back together. Rebuilding is hard. I miss having friends to hang out with and find that I don't know how to make that happen. I know what I'm supposed to do, but the doing feels overwhelming, and it feels like I haven't had a good hard laugh in a long time.

I took the picture from Pinterest. Broken pieces put back together in a new and beautiful order. It didn't happen overnight, and I'm sure they didn't put themselves back together. I am moving forward, I am okay, and God hasn't left me to do this alone. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Every other Tuesday night our small group Bible study meets at church. It's been a little crazy because many of these Tuesdays have conflicted with other church activities. Once there was a free Rochester Philharmonic concert and another time it was a church business meeting. Last night the missions dinner was held in the fellowship area and church foyer. As far as I knew our group was meeting as usual.

I couldn't remember whether we meet at 6 o'clock or 6:30 so I sent a text off to the group leader who did not return my text. I tried calling but there was no answer. I set off for the church a few minutes before six as the setting sun was just peeking through the thick layer of clouds that had blanketed the area all day. I marveled at glowing tree tops of glittering gold and fiery red.

The beauty of the trees made it hard to keep my eyes on the road, but when I turned the corner onto Five Mile Line road, a whole new scene caught my attention. A brilliant double rainbow! Although I've been told to "always have your camera along," I did not. The sight was so incredible that I pulled over on the side of the road to absorb its magnificence before continuing on to church where the prayer room sat empty.

The church was full of people enjoying the missions dinner and presentation, but I did not know what had become of my friends. I hadn't dressed for a dinner and had come alone, so I went back to my car and headed home. The sky was rapidly turning black and the rainbow had disappeared. I was disappointed in not finding my group, but still in awe of the rainbow I'd seen just a few minutes earlier.

I came home and looked for pictures on Facebook. I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. It was too gorgeous to be ignored. And my friends? They were enjoying the evening activities at church. I'd been sent two texts earlier in the day. I missed them because my inbox was too full. I guess God must have wanted me to see the rainbows.

* All of these photos are the same rainbow seen from different locations. Phenomenal!

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Few Key Thoughts

* I need a second car key on a lanyard around my neck.

* The locksmith now recognizes both me and my car.

* I was not the only one locked out of my car in the Wegman's parking lot between 5:30 and 6 pm this evening. I was not even the only one in my aisle, but my vehicle was not running, and I did not have my family along.

I have managed to lock myself out of my vehicle multiple times and in multiple places in the past few years. I am getting quite proficient this and engage multiple techniques. Tonight I employed the Jacket Switcheroo method. It's quite simple. I got out of the car wearing my sweatshirt and then, because it was the fancy Pittsford Wegmans, decided to trade it for my jean jacket. I took the sweatshirt off, tossed it in the car, and grabbed my jacket. Then I went in the store for coffee creamer and came out with no keys in my pocket. Voila! Very simple and effective.

It did not take me long to realize my blunder. There were no keys in my pockets when I arrived at my car. I peered into the vehicle, and just as I had imagined, my keys were waiting on my seat, which is better than lost on the ground. At least they were safe. There is something for which to be thankful. I considered our Triple A membership that I had forgotten last time, and checked my wallet. No card. I threw out a call to James. No answer. And so I did exactly what I had just done less than two weeks ago. I called the locksmith and waited. He smiled when he saw me, probably because I was smiling and looking sheepish. I told him I was just trying to keep him employed... I'd say we're on a first name basis, but truthfully, I don't even know his name. He's the one who suggested the lanyard. Ha ha!

This thing of being locked out of my vehicle is getting expensive, but James has now updated my Triple A membership and they will soon be mailing me a new card. Maybe I won't lock myself out again (yeah, right..), but Triple A is always good to have.

Pictures from yesterday's visit to Letchworth State Park with Rachel.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Little Fall

What I really meant was "A Little Autumn."

It was too nice to stay home this weekend. I had an appointment early Saturday morning. From there I went to the camera store for a new battery charger. I came home with a battery charger, a lens cap, a storage box for my camera cards, and... a new, used 70-200 lens. (I spent a little money...)

The weekend was gorgeous.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Today Was Good

It was a good day.We fudged the menu a smidgen, using up fresh fruit in place of canned fruit we didn't have. The expected delivery truck did not arrive yesterday, and it did not come today either. It is supposed to come the first and third weeks of each month and never on the last week of the month, but guess what? There are five Thursdays this October. What do you bet "The Powers That Be" changed the delivery to next week? This will make next week very interesting as our canned fruit is entirely gone aside from one can of pineapple tidbits. We are not permitted to purchase more and turn in the receipts so it might be an interesting week. Good thing the produce man comes on Monday. Here's hoping he arrives early.

Several rainy days in a row have left us feeling a bit soggy and eager to play outside. The sun was shining bright on the changing leaves as I drove home this afternoon. I longed for a fully charged camera battery, but the one I found in my console today was as dead as the one in my camera. Not to be outdone, I set my mind to take a walk when I got home. First I went inside to see if a small child would like to accompany me. While his daddy took a shower we walked around the block and admired spooky yard decor. He was especially enchanted by the blow-up "mommy" in the neighbor's yard. Ha ha!

Tomorrow is forecast to be cool and mostly sunny. I have an early morning appointment, but no definitive plans following. Perhaps I will find myself a new battery charger for that ramshackle camera of mine. If I time things right, I might even get it charged up in time to capture some of autumn before the trees are naked.

Did I tell you Number 14 is due in April? Beth and Adam got a surprise.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Holding Out

Work is a funny place. Most daycare cooks do all the ordering of food and supplies. My boss and I check in with each other, and she does the ordering. It's been working, so we haven't changed it up at all, although I could probably figure it out if I had the time.

On Tuesday morning my boss showed up in the kitchen followed by a nice looking gentleman with a clipboard. "Miss Martha, this is Gary," she said. "He wants to talk to you about our deliveries and some products we might like to add to our orders." I said hello to Gary and Kim and I looked at the list of items on the sheet. We told him we would look into whether or not the prices on some paper products were comparable with the other company we order from. It was a pleasant interchange. I played along like I was in charge of ordering supplies, and then Gary went on his way.

Later that day Kim told me when Gary came in to the building, he said "I'm here to see your cook." She laughed,then smiled at me and said, "He waltzed in and said it in such a way that I wondered if you were holding out on me! And then he said we was with (the company from which we order many of our supplies)." Ha ha! Silly Kim. I've never seen Gary before in my life.

(The guy in the photo is a mannequin Rachel and I found on an outing two years ago. I think I'll call him Gary.)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Ruffled Mind

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow. 
- Charlotte Bronte

A restless pillow filled my last night's dreams. I was quiet and tried to lay still, but no matter how still my body was, my mind could not be hushed.  Perhaps tonight the mind will be quiet and at rest.

(This is Frankie. He lives with my friend Lorrie.) I needed a "pillow picture" and so I am borrowing this one.)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* A weekend full of emotion will leave a body physically drained. I went to sleep at 7:30 last night. When I woke up at 9:30 pm and the room was pitch black, I found myself confused until I realized I'd only been asleep for two hours.

* The service for Aunt Margie was yesterday afternoon. I wish there had been more time to connect with my cousins. Some of them left before I got a chance to say more than hello and we rarely ever end up in the same spot anymore. I did get a chance to visit with my cousin Steve who is a lawyer in Miami. He had been on his way here to visit his mom when she was taken to the hospital.

* Friends and family were given the opportunity to share memories. I shared how Aunt Margie came to visit Mom every week while she lived with us,. She was not only her sister, but a faithful friend. And, I couldn't help but share the story of how once upon a time, when I was about ten years old, Aunt Margie had asked me if I'd like a piece of cake. I was a shy little girl and answered, "I don't care." I'd really wanted a piece. It looked really good, but I was trying not to be rude and thought she would give me one anyway. "Well," answered Aunt Margie, "if you don't care, I don't care." And I did not get a piece of cake. I was too startled and timid to change my answer that day, but the next time Aunt Margie asked if I wanted something, I said, "Yes, please."

* I got my hair cut today. It had grown wild and woolly over the past seven months. I have tried repeatedly to make an appointment with the friend who has cut it the past few years, but to no avail. When my boss mentioned there was a salon in Walmart and sometimes they do a great job, I decided to take the risk. I'm glad I did. It feels and looks so much better.

* So glad for the hugs I get every week. What would I do without them?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Rainy Saturday With a Spot or Two of Sunshine

The day started out dark, cold, and rainy. It was pouring when I stepped out of the car to see my grandson for his birthday, but half an hour later the rain stopped. It remained damp and cold for several hours, but the sun eventually decided to make an appearance and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.

The were lots of tears and hugs today. I saw complete strangers, old friends and former neighbors, and lots of cousins (on James' side). One of the guests thought she might know me and asked if I was Pam Carr. I've been told before I look like Pam, but it's been many years. About 40, maybe a few more. I told the woman asking that Pam is my cousin, the woman told me her name, and then we realized the real reason I looked so familiar. We grew up living across the street from each other. Renee is just a couple years older than me.  We never hung out much. Our mothers weren't the best of friends, but back when we were kids all the neighborhood children played outside. There really wasn't anyone we didn't know.

Maybe I haven't seen Renee in ages, but I was thinking of her just a day or two ago, because of my foot. My right foot. The foot whose 3rd and 4th toes often feel like they're popping in and out of joint while I walk. I wondered if Renee ever had the same foot problem as me because as little girls we both sat on our heels to control a desperate bladder. It was impossible to get up and run to the bathroom without losing all control, and we would sit like that, totally embarrassed, with tears rolling down our faces waiting for the urge to dissipate. Once control was regained, getting to the bathroom was no problem. Sometimes I still sit on my heel, and fifty years of sitting on my heel has taken a toll on my poor toes... (Getting old is interesting for sure.)

The daycare owners were at today's event. Their son is engaged to the daughter of James' cousin Angel. It is strange to see them in a different setting, and stranger still to have one of the owners give me a hug. Sometimes it can be easy to forget in the confusion and frustration that is work, to remember these are people too.

Today is done. The Celebration of Life at the park was good. There were lots and lots of people. Tomorrow there will be another remembrance in a different place, for a different person, my cousin Pam's mom, my Aunt Margie. There will be more strangers, old friends, and cousins (this time on my side). Another goodbye, and more tears.


The battery in my camera is dead, and the other battery, along with my charger, is missing. It's probably here somewhere, but I don't know where. I was keeping it in the bottom of my purse for a while, so I'd have it when I needed it, but it isn't there. Maybe it will appear when I actually decide to clean my room. But that won't be today.

The weather was perfect this past week. I wish we could have saved a couple of those bright, sunny afternoons for this weekend. Dark, rainy days may be appropriate for movie funerals, but in real life a little sunshine is preferable, especially when the Celebration of Life is in the park. There is a chance of sunshine later this afternoon.

It's time for Number Seven's birthday party. He'll be five on Monday. Going to try and squeeze in an appearance before the other gathering.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Change of Plans, and A few Wedding Photos

Feeling a little overwhelmed this evening. I talked to a hurting friend upon arriving home this evening. Sat in my car, and then got out and locked my purse inside... along with my keys. (Will I ever learn?) Thankfully, I was not locked out of the house and I had my phone in my pocket. I rearranged my evening plans and called for help. And then my grandson came over to sit with me for a bit while his dad made a visit to Urgent Care. The evening turned out just fine, even if I didn't make it to the grocery store.

Hey! I found some beautiful photos online... (It's that wedding I went to last month.) 

That's my son behind the girl in the purple shirt.

My daughter in law made the wedding party cake. Isn't that pretty?

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Time Flies

The week is flying by! The alarm goes off each morning in what feels and appears to be "the dead of night." It was so dark the other day when we set out the door for work that I looked at Sergio and said, "It's really dark out here. Are you sure it's time to go to work?" It will be slightly lighter when the clocks are turned back, but that means our shrinking evening sunlight will be even shorter. (I'm not quite ready for winter...)

I haven't been to the Pottery Studio in almost two weeks. Just not feeling it right now. I'm not sure what to make of it, so I'm giving myself some time to decide what to do. If I give up the shelf I'm renting I could save myself some money, and maybe put it toward another class, or my roof loan... but I'm not quite ready to turn in my key just yet.

 Each week I am thankful for the little ones who fill my days with smiles. This morning a little voice called out a morning greeting from the hallway. It was my little friend Derek stopping by the kitchen door to say hello. He very often says "Hi Martha" in his very own Derek way, which I cannot duplicate. It doesn't sound like my name, not yet, but it's getting closer all the time. It's so fun to see them grow and learn. I can't believe how smart all last year's babies are getting!

Sunday, October 06, 2019

This Weekend

Saturday morning I visited my counselor's office. It was a teary session, and tears are healing. The woman I see in the mirror today, is not the same one who peered back at me four years ago, and I am grateful for the hand of God in my life. He has never left my side. Ever faithful, He is constantly leading me and helping me grow in ways I never imagined. I am so thankful to be His child.

I did not wander far from home this weekend, but yesterday afternoon Hannah and I took Idris out to wander Once Upon A Child in search of some cozy child-size pajamas. While the little on looked at cars and trucks and the mommy checked out blanket sleepers, I wandered about the store. As I passed one aisle, I caught sight of two slightly familiar looking people. Though I only saw the backs of their heads, it was enough for me to take a step backward for another look, and there looking through baby clothes was my little friend Adam and his mom. How fun to see one of my daycare friends out at the store and to give him a snuggle as his mother's aching arms got a rest. I kissed his little head and told him that I love him, and then introduced him to Hannah and Idris. It was a nice chance meeting.

Last evening I received sad news from a cousin who called to inform me that the husband of my childhood friend had lost his battle with cancer. My childhood friend is also James' cousin, and so the other cousin called. Always the friend and encourager, never judgmental, Ed leaves behind a beautiful wife, six grown children, and a handful of adoring grandchildren who will miss him for a very, very long time. My heart is aching for every one of them.

This morning I forgot to take my phone along when I left for church. I stayed not only for the service and Sunday school, but a meeting afterward. It was almost 3 o'clock by the time I returned home. There were two text messages, a voicemail, and four missed calls. I rarely ever get phone calls, and seldom get texts. One text was garbage, and the other was from my sister. The voicemail was my cousin Pam calling to let me know that her mom, my Aunt Margie, passed away last night. The aunt who loved my little ones like her own grandchildren, who always showed up to our family gatherings, and never failed to arrive with a treat of one kind or another. In my mother's final years Aunt Margie was a constant, faithful friend.

It has been a weekend of loss.

Friday, October 04, 2019

The Bucket List and Other Sundry Thoughts

I can check dumpster diving off my bucket list. This afternoon, on my way out for my lunch break, I tossed a banana box into the dumpster.  On the way up, the box caught my keys and tossed them in the dumpster too. I heard them hit the bottom... There is always something to be thankful for. The dumpster is emptied Friday mornings, and the only thing inside was the box and my keys. I headed back inside the daycare for something to help me retrieve them. At my boss's suggestion, I came back out with a ladder. She asked if I needed any help and I told her, "Only if I can't get back out." Ha ha! I felt a little silly climbing into the dumpster, but I needed my keys, Up and over the edge I went, hoping my exit plan would not fail, and just liked I'd hoped, the banana box made a great step stool. If not for that I'd have been out of luck.

It was three o'clock and the little ones were just on their way outside to play when I came around with snacks. Graham crackers and bananas (because I wanted to get rid of the bananas before the weekend...) and milk. Two small boys were on their way home. One left in his mother's arms, a graham cracker square in each hand. The other, my little friend Parker, was waiting for his mom to return from the baby room. I told the teacher I'd stay with him while she took the others outside. Once they were gone he sat at the table and I gave him his treat. He was very happy to have me sit and talk to him while he chatted and ate his food. Sometimes it's just the way their eyes light up when they see me, or when I stop to give them a little attention. This is one of my special kids. We're not supposed to have favorites, but I have a whole collection of them!

PS. This is quite obviously not Parker, but another little friend who also loves graham crackers.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Hugs and Kisses

It's been a week of sleepy headaches. Last night it dawned on me that it just might be my sinuses rather than caffeine or tension, and so I stopped for some sinus medicine. Although I woke up with a dull headache and battled it through the day, I am beginning to feel relief. No wonder I was so tired over the weekend!

I was early for work this morning. (Go figure.) On a normal day I arrive five minutes early, but this was more like ten or twelve minutes. Too early to punch in right away. We had five babies before 7:15 am (which is the reason I go in at seven) for the first time since I came home from Minnesota. They are a boogery bunch!

Every day I am blessed with hugs. I sat on a chair in the three year old class on Monday and was surrounded by six or seven little people all clamoring for a little attention. Some of these children were in the baby room when I started sitting in there a little over two years ago. My friend Addison soaked up an extra long hug.

In our toddler rooms are more little friends. My buddy Jonah was smiling on Monday as he climbed on my lap and wrapped his arms around my neck. Once upon a time he cried every time I left the baby room. Even now, when he is really upset and I am able, he will crawl into my arms for some comfort. How I wish I could always be available! My friend Chase smiles and says, "Hi, Parta!" and the others all want to collect a hug and kiss too. My friend Parker has been back since school started. I love hugging that little guy who I sat with all last winter in the baby room during Meg's lunch break.

Swearin' Maren is still in our baby room, but she's more of a scowler than a swearer these days. Sometimes I call her Tipsy because she's always losing her balance and falling over, a casualty of being 13 months and having a little fluid in her ears. Mylah does the army crawl every time the door opens, Brayden makes noises like a tugboat, and Maggie is six months old and mad at the world because she can't sit up alone or move on her own. I think most five and six month old babies are miserable. Ha ha! Penny is our new baby, She belongs to my friend Parker. She's his baby sister.

I came home from work tonight. It's cool and rainy, and the headache that I had earlier left me sleepy. Idris and I stayed home to clean the kitchen and play cars while his mommy and daddy ran out to the grocery store. We played cars, shared a cup of lemon tea with honey, and looked out the window until the car came back in the driveway. It was nice to have someone to share my tea with.