Sunday, May 31, 2020

Black Lives Matter

It's been a horrific weekend. Even with seventeen hours between here and Minneapolis, last night we found our county under a curfew that remains in effect until tomorrow morning. Peaceful protests have turned violent in cities across the entire country. We are in deep mourning...

My son took his little family away from the city of St Paul, Minnesota on Saturday to the suburbs where Michele's parents reside. It has been a regular routine in the past, but the reasons were different yesterday. This weekend my heart is in Minnesota.

It was a beautiful weekend too. We had some rain, some very warm sunshine, and a cold breeze that left today being one of those warm/cold days where I put my sweater on only to take it off again after a few minutes. I wanted to be out, so I weeded my flower garden, and then I wanted to be in, so I made pie. Lemon meringue. One for a friend and one for us.

Tomorrow I return to early morning duties in the baby room at work. 💕

Friday, May 29, 2020


I don't know where to begin... There is a knot in my stomach and an ache deep within my heart. I feel helpless to make a difference, yet compelled to find a way. Lord, help me! My sweet daughter in law posted this on Facebook today along with the quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

"My city is on fire. Our beautiful Twin Cities are burning to the ground. Just 2 miles away from the home I chose to raise my family in. The home where I usually feel safe.

I don't feel safe today. I feel anxious and scared. But, the feelings that I have in this moment pale in comparison to the fear, anxiety and anger that generations of Black Americans have felt for FOUR centuries in this country.

These riots are a symptom of a much larger sickness in this country and if we want them to stop, then things NEED to change. I don't condone riots in any form, even those that stem from sporting events (especially those!), but there is a bigger problem.

We must not simply be "not racist" we need to be Anti-Racist. This has gone on for far too long."

I don't know how to do or say the right thing as it seems someone is always misunderstanding my heart. Oft times that someone is me. I want to see clearly, and although there are still obstacles in the path, I am working to remove as many as possible. 

I had decided not to watch the video. What could possibly be gained by watching a man die needlessly at the hands of another? And then I read an article.  It said of the video, "The whole scene is deeply disturbing. And I believe every white American should watch it." I did., and I am undone.

What is to become of us? Will God bring beauty from these ashes?

I have seen photos of hope and heard stories of healing. One officer has been arrested. Prayers are being answered.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend 2020

Holiday weekends have become a bit complex over the past few years. I don't want to ignore the opportunity to gather family, and yet a gathering can feel daunting. There haven't been any major (or minor, that I can recall... ) confrontations lately and this weekend worked out beautifully.

Last night, Sunday, we had a small gathering and a small dinner followed by a bonfire in the backyard. There were some kid games too, along with a bit of chalk art on my dad's backyard chimney. Hed have a fit, but I know the rain will wash it away and the little ones are making memories. (Did I mention I started it?)

Today several of us met at a State Park along the shore of Lake Ontario. I was very careful of the sun while enjoying the kids on the beach, and then we had lunch... (Oops) Anyway, it was a gorgeous day.

Tonight, when the sun was hidden behind the house, I planted the rest of the marigolds and alyssum I bought at the garden store yesterday. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

And Now It's Summer (Almost)

Where did the week go? So many thoughts and feelings have coursed through my mind and body this week. My Zoom meeting turned unexpectedly teary this morning, Tears are cleansing; a good and precious gift. I'd told him I was doing good, and I am, but the growing still requires pain. Sometimes it still takes me by surprise.

One of the hidden blessing of returning to work is the 25 minute drive there and home again. My car radio is tuned to K-Love and I find my soul thirsty for worship, my heart lifted by the humor, and my spirit encouraged by scripture. It's a beautiful way to begin my day. Coffee and K-Love. Who would have thought?

My people went out just before my meeting was over this morning so I took a short drive on my own. I was lost in a swirl of thoughts. My first destination didn't work out, so I called my nearby sister. Her new puppy seemed to recognize me. She's a cute little thing. I talked with Rachel and Dave for a little while, drank a glass of water, and left there headed for the grocery store. I bought some fruit and some salad ingredients and headed home to find the family had returned.

The afternoon was spent at home. I sat in the shade of the garage and watched Idris play in the driveway, and called my Canandaigua sister. Sergio cleaned up the flower gardens and I finished planting the marigolds I picked up on my way home from work Thursday. I'll need a few more annuals to fill up the front flower bed, but it's looking nice.

There's an extra day to the weekend and I'm feeling grateful.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Beautiful Weekend

It was a beautiful weekend in spite of the fact that I way overslept Saturday morning and didn't get up until 10 am. I'd been downstairs to the bathroom at 7 o'clock and climbed back into bed for "a few minutes." Ha ha. Three hours later I was appalled at how long my morning nap had been.

Early Saturday afternoon I took a ride to the home of my former assistant pastor whose daughter is a missionary in Guatemala. The country is entirely shut down. The people aren't allowed to leave their homes and many of them are starving. I'd saved up some money over our own shutdown with the intent to donate it somewhere. This seemed like a good time to put my plan into action. I found Lydia's parents appreciative and enjoyed a visit with them before moving on.

My second stop was the pottery studio. It has been mostly quiet and still there, but I knew I had some pieces waiting. I found a few bisque fired cats on the shelf, but no finished pieces. Perhaps they were in the smaller kiln and will be there next time I stop. I snapped a picture of the side street where I parked, just because I think it's pretty.

Later in the afternoon my sister Rachel and I took a walk in Gosnell Big Wood Preserve. It was not a lonely walk, but it was pretty. There is something very soothing about a walk through the trees and especially so when the trees are massive. It was a good little hike.

Today, after church, I went to meet my friend "Betty," whose name is actually Barbara. It was 11 am when we started off on the trail along the Genesee River from Turning Point Park toward Lake Ontario. We walked all the way to the end of Charlotte Pier and back again, about 6 miles. The breeze down by the lake was cool, but the sun was bright.  (I intentionally left my camera behind, so this is a "borrowed" photo. We walked the trail over the river.)

I feel as though I have known Barbara forever, but this was just our second face to face meeting. We share a story and know each other's heart in a way not many others do. We hugged each other upon leaving and it felt so good to hug a friend. It's been a long time since my friends have felt free enough to give me a hug. Only one other does that now.

I came home tired and climbed the stairs to my room. The house was quiet and my feet achy. A cup of coffee kept me company and I began to relax. Soon my face began to feel strange and it dawned on me that our walk had taken close to 3 hours. I'd not thought about how bright and intense the sun was until I was home again. I look a little like a lobster. Ha ha!

 Late this afternoon I stopped over at Bethany's house to steal a snuggle with Henry. He's the cutest.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Coffee Klutz

Lat week I worked 20 hours from 9 am till 1 pm. This Monday I worked from 9 am till 3 pm, and since Tuesday it's been 7 am till 1 pm. I arrive home sleepy. Sometimes I close my eyes for a few minutes, but not until I make myself a cup of coffee. You know, just to get me through the day.

Today I filled the Keurig (a newish acquisition), popped a pod in it, and pressed the button. Sometimes I stick around to watch it fill, but today I came upstairs while the cup was brewing. Several minutes later I returned to the kitchen where I found my cup sitting in the middle of the counter. "Strange," I thought, "Sergio must have moved my cup to make one for himself..." and then I saw the puddle. Stretched across the counter, from the base of the coffee maker to the sink, was a long brown puddle of coffee. Two large onions and a basket of coffee pods stood like islands in the middle of a coffee lake, and I realized what I'd done. It had absolutely nothing to do with Sergio, who was still out in the living room. I'd never put my cup under the spout. Oh, me... Ha ha! I sopped up the mess and started over.

Did I mention I was sleepy?

It was a crazy kind of day with coffee. I often re-use my cup and this morning I found last night's tea bag floating in my mug, along with an unidentified black speck which I fished out. I was at work when I got to the bottom of the cup and found a carpenter ant. Blech.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Cars, cars, and More Cars

This small child loves cars. He learned to recognize makes of cars on our walks, going from asking what kind of it is, to naming them himself. "Ford." "Chevy." Mitsubishi." ... Hannah's made a game on her tablet so he can practice.

I think this love of automobiles is genetic. I had a son who used to ask, "Mom, what kind of car is that?" I typically missed the car altogether, and if I did happen to catch it likely didn't know what kind of car it was anyway. I recall answering "Green" once just because I didn't know what else to say.

Yesterday after work, before I sat down and fell asleep, I went to fill my gas tank and restock my coffee supply. While i was in the store, I picked up an Auto Buy magazine for my small grandson. He was thrilled. And in a later conversation with his uncle, I found that it was Ben's favorite magazine too. "I used to love those things," he told me.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mother's Day 2020

It was a lovely weekend with a chance to see each of my kids and all but one grandchild who was sleeping when his daddy FaceTimed me. My local kids stopped in and, believe it or not, I saw each local grandchild. I don't remember the last time that has happened. It was fabulous.

We saw Nate, Sabrina and the boys on Saturday. 

Leta made brunch, and she and Dave came over with the Trio, and her box of party things. She set up a beautiful and delicious banquet in our dining room. (She reminds me a little of my friend Wanda.)

There was a space of quiet mid day after Dave, Leta and the kids left and Hannah and Sergio had gone to see Abuela. I had some coffee and soaked in the silence.

Later the remaining family came and made "Trash Plates" for dinner; macaroni salad, baked beans, French fries, and (in this case) sausage patties topped with ketchup, mustard, and perhaps a little hot sauce. The look a mess, and thus the name, but they are quite delicious.

The house was loud and crazy and we had strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Today and "Yesterday"

March returned last night with cold winds and snow. I had to smile at Idris' excitement at the oversized flakes filling the air. Ah, to be a child and always filled with wonder. I am less pleased with May snowfalls, but there is little to be done aside from smiling at the oddity of it all. The cold won't last and warm weather will come. Eventually.

We had a visit from Numbers 7, 10 and 12 this afternoon. Talk about noise! Idris hasn't been able to play with his cousins in months and they took full advantage of the opportunity. Two months is forever in the eyes  of a child. (That "Teeny Little Super Guy on the end is only 2 moths younger than Idris!)

I've been copying more of Dad's diary and feeling encouraged at what is already done. We've a long, long way to go, but I have 9 months done and that feels like an accomplishment. It's still hard to read. Life was anything but easy...

August 12, 1964, Wed- Tim and Ar have been up since 4:00 AM. I worked all day. ... Ar had a rough and exhausting day. The Lord will lead through these cloudy days. Tim's been sleeping since 6:30 PM. Ar, Dan and Martha are sleeping... 

 August 14, 1964, Fri- Tim was up early. Ar had a good day with Tim. .... It's so wonderful to have all five of us together again. The Lord is very good to us. ...

August 24, 1964, Mon- Sunny, cool, nice. ... Tonight Ar, the kids and I went to Sears. Tim gave me a rough time. ...  Martha sure demands my attention. ...

 August 28, 1964, Fri- Worked all day till 4:30 PM, ... Tim got lost in the woods. ...

September 2, 1964, Wed- ... Tonight after supper Ar, Dan, Tim, Martha and I went to Webster park. Tim wanted to run away all the time. We got a letter from Elim. We're planning a trip out there. ...

 September 3, 1964, Thurs- Sunny, warm. Worked all day. Ar had a terrible time with Tim. He's rapidly becoming impossible again. Wants to run away and do everything contrary. Tonight we all took a ride. Rained. Later Ar and I had tea. We plan on going to Elim around 9/20 thru 9/25. Tired. 11:40

September 8, 1964, Tues- ... Ar had a rough day with Tim. He gulped down half a bottle of aspirins. ... Wrote to Elim.

September 9, 1964, Wed- Foggy, rainy, hot, humid. Busy at work. Dan's back to school. Martha's got a cold. Tonight Dan was sick with a headache. I played with Tim. Ar defrosted the refrigerator. Later tea by the fire (papers). Martha's reaching for this book. 11:20 PM.

September 11, 1964, Fri- Sunny, hot. Worked till 4:30 PM and paid bills. Tonight I played with the kids some and washed the car. Martha's crawling all over the living room (seal fashion). Tim's doing very well. 

Sometimes it the hard stuff like Tim waking much too early, running away, and being "impossible." And sometimes it's the little things, like the baby me demanding attention, reaching for Dad's diary, and crawling all over the living room... It was a package deal, some of it literally impossible and other pieces beautifully and peacefully normal. This was us.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

In Other Woods

It was a good morning and I came home from work feeling cheerful, but the cheeriness was short lived when I let myself be drawn into the political controversy. I've been managing fairly well, at least outwardly, until today, and to make matters worse it was with someone I love more than life. Truth be told, it doesn't matter which end of the spectrum one is on if we can't be kind. I am often disgusted with both ends, and yet I am the only one responsible for my response. Frustration and self defense so often get the better of us and in the end it brings forth misery and sorrow. Oh, Lord! Help me!!!

I needed a walk this afternoon so Hannah, Idris and I headed for the village. On our way back toward home we took a different route... We went through a piece of woods I haven't visited in over 40 years. Hannah had second thoughts, but somewhat grudgingly followed her crazy mother. I am so grateful for her cranky, compliance as I have long wanted to revisit the little creek that flows through this all but forgotten place. I hadn't lugged my camera along, but in my back pocket I had my "not-so-smart" smart phone with a halfway decent camera. God smiled and blessed me with sunshine as we neared the creek deep in the woods.

What a beautiful gift.

Getting back out of the woods was a bit trickier than getting in. A housing development sits in what was once a farmer's field and the little trail along the edge of the woods is long disappeared. It's a good thing Hannah had a great sense of direction. We emerged from the trees at the neighborhood park where Idris took a forbidden trip or two down the playground slide and then we headed home.

On our way back around the block, I saw a woman struggling to get her groceries into the house. I wanted to stop and help, but this crazy virus almost had me walk on by. As I was passing her driveway, I realized I had a face mask in my pocket. I decided to put it on, take a chance, and help her. She seemed grateful and I found another neighbor who grew up here in the neighborhood and is living in her childhood home.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

And Then We Took a Walk

When I left the office last week, I did not make another appointment with my chiropractor. My lower back has been feeling better since being home, and  my neck was just adjusted. Besides, I was going back to work again and unsure of my schedule. Then, late this morning that familiar twinge in my right side returned, not terrible, but noticeable just the same. I decided to wait it out and see what happened. What happened was that the chiropractic office called me at noon. The secretary said Dr. Q had noticed I wasn't on the schedule this week and would I like to make an appointment? So I did. And I made one for Hannah too because she'd been saying she needed to go, and this afternoon we did just that.

Tonight, after supper, Hannah, Idris and I took a walk up to the village and back again. It was a little cool, but comfortable for walking, and the sun was shining. Sunshine and walking make the world feel right again, even if it really isn't.

When we returned from our jaunt through town, I sat down to copy a little more of Dad's diary. July of 1964 were some of my parents' darkest days...

July 8, 1964, Wed- Anguish, wild dreams, cold sweats, tears and terrible depression are words to describe our long night. But in all this the Lord was with us. Rough day. We miss our Timmy so. Worked. Tonight we've experienced some relief. Exhausted. Bed. 11:30

July 9, 1964, Thurs- The Lord has lifted the load and given us a much more positive outlook on Tim's separation from us. We're looking to Elim Christian School as the Lord may lead. 

Tears relieve the pressure, but they don't necessarily take away the ache. Dad went to work each day and often worked long hours. Mom stayed home to take care of Dan and me, and every day their hearts ached for their little boy in the care of the State School. A late July entry tells of race riots in the city of Rochester, and a visit to Newark. "This afternoon Ar, Dan, Martha and I went out to get Tim again. We took a ride. He enjoyed it, and didn't mind when we brought him back."

A week later, August 2, "He was too doped up to enjoy anything."

The following day Mom wrote a letter to Elim. She must have been desperate. If the school accepted Tim into their program, there would be no weekend visits, it was too far away, but this was their best option and they pinned their hopes and prayers on this.

August 4, 1964, Tues- Sunny, warm. Breakfast. Poor Ar doesn't get much sleep these days. We are anxious to take our Tim out of Newark. Very busy all day till 8:30 PM Tonight I played with Martha. She laughs cute. Tea. Time 11:45 PM

On August 5th, "Ar went out to Newark and made arrangements for Tim's release Tuesday. His diagnosis and physical are complete. His papers are on their way to Elim. The Lord has made the sun shine through."

August 11, 1964, Tues- Sunny, warm. Worked till noon. Ar and I went out to Newark and brought Tim home. Poor little fellow is all mixed up. He cried and ran a lot, but calmed down some in between. Tonight he played some, smiled and sang. We took a little ride. Time 10:30 Bed. We love him so much. It's nice to have him home.

It's hard to imagine the rush of emotions, and then again it's not so hard to imagine. Sometimes it's all too easy, perhaps because tiny children, though oblivious to what may be going on behind the scenes, pick up all too easily the emotions of their caretakers. Sometimes I can imagine the sorrow and terror all too vividly, and I know, even though I've only copied to August 16, that it was another year before Tim went to live at Elim. I was just a baby, but this was my world. In so many ways it seems a small piece of my life, but in my first year and a half it was all encompassing. It wasn't just a small piece, it was my entire life.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

I'm Adjusting

I didn't go to sleep after work today. I'm sure taking a mid morning snack along was helpful. Part of my problem yesterday was that I was so hungry, and being that hungry makes me sleepy. Yesterday I ate some oatmeal when I got home and then crawled into my bed. Today I ate a banana and a few cashews at work, and then devoured two apples on the way home. At home I drank a slow cup of coffee, which is another way of saying I had a cup of coffee and took my time drinking it.

The day was pretty much uneventful. We had a smaller handful of children than yesterday, and I served them leftovers from yesterday's lunch. Tomorrow we'll get back on track with meatballs, though I'm not sure if I'll serve them with bread or spaghetti. We don't have any rolls for subs, but that is not a problem. I'm looking forward to seeing my friend Jonah tomorrow.

This evening I stayed with Number Nine for a little while so Hannah and Sergio could have a date. They picked up some burgers, drove down to the lake, and ate in their car. Idris and I ate out dinner, played cars, and cut up some strawberries to put on shortcake. It's been a very nice day even if I didn't go for a walk.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Work, and Stuff

I went back to work this morning. It did not make the world go back to normal. We had a grand total of 9 children, and three of them belonged to staff. I had four hours to load the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher, make and serve lunch, clean it up, and set out snack. Needless to say I had a little downtime. All staff wore face masks. I do not like face masks. They are hot and make breathing difficult, they steam up my glasses, and make it impossible to see when glancing downward. Yes, I do know why they are required, but I still hate them. I pray a day comes soon when they can be put away forever, but I am beginning to doubt that will ever happen. In spite of hating masks, I had a very nice snuggle with a 16 month old who did not want to let me go. That makes going back and wearing a mask worthwhile. (I also realized my first day at the daycare was exactly three years ago today. That's cool.)

I'm still copying Dad's diary a little at a time. I have 7 months down. A little here and a little there, and maybe I'll eventually get all five years of this book on paper. My heart aches as I read the story of them putting their small son in the care of a state school. I can only imagine their anguish.

July 7, 1964, Tues- Words can't express the grief we feel for our little Timmy. We took him out to Newark and left him there. Our only comfort is that we're sure the Lord is with us in all this, and somehow He'll make the sun shine again. This is a terrible experience. Very tired. 11:25 PM

I wasn't even four months old, scarcely old enough to smile...

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Two Hikes

It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was perfect, bright sunny days and mild temperatures. Yesterday we took two hikes with a short nap between.

Our morning walk took us to Ellison Park where we took the lower path to the sand dune and walked the upper rim. Lots of up and down climbing. As usual, I was behind, distracted by the wildlife, the adorable couple in front of me, and the familiar feeling of connectedness I have with this particular park. Both my parents lived within walking distance of this park, one as a small child to young teen, and the other as teen to early twenties. It can feel as though a part of me belongs here, especially when I remember childhood picnics.

It was a beautiful hike

Our second hike, in afternoon was at Tryon Park. It was new to all of us. A mountain biking trail on the edge of the former Ellison Wetlands, there was an abundance of well worn trails here too, and the familiar up and down hiking. I dragged my feet and took a ton of photographs.

Today there was no hike, but I did take a walk around the block with my sister and her boys. Tomorrow I go back to work. It will be a short 4 hour day. I'm not sure what to expect. Things are still kind of crazy with the lock down, social distancing, and the wearing of face masks. I've loved being home with my daughter and grandson these past weeks and am somewhat happy I'm not jumping into an 8-hour day right off the bat. Getting up at 5 am would not be cool. Ha ha!