Thursday, December 30, 2021

There and Back Again

Last Friday, Christmas Eve, I got on a plane and flew to Florida. Two new things; flying on Christmas Eve, and being away from home on Christmas.

Tensions were running high here at home before I left. I had gotten out of work early (10:30 am.) and there was a layer of wet sticky snow on the ground. Mid afternoon Sergio suggested we go for a walk. While I pushed the stroller carrying Killian in his snowsuit, Hannah, Sergio and Idris had a snowball fight. At 5:30 pm. Hannah dropped me and my suitcase off at the airport.

On Christmas morning I frightened one small boy who peeked in my bedroom door by saying "Good morning!" He hadn't expected a "strange" woman to be sleeping in Dad's office and burst into tears. Thankfully, I was able to calm his fears by picking him up and talking to him. It was a beautiful Christmas morning with matching pajamas, a fancy breakfast, and lots of presents followed by a trip to visit the other grandparents where there were more presents. Lots more presents.

On Sunday we went to look for the manatees, but the weather was warm and sunny and the manatees were not hanging out in their winter hot spot. Even so it was a wonderful outing. On Monday we walked about the city, stopped at the playground, looked at the lake, and ate lunch in a Mexican restaurant. Tuesday morning was spent at home and before I knew it the time had come for me to go home. I was feeling a little more emotional than expected.

I didn't get to the beach and I didn't find any long lost friends. I'm still hoping for that on my next Florida trip and reminding myself that this wasn't really a vacation. It was a trip to visit my son and his family for Christmas and it was beautiful. (I think I like Florida.)

PS. That's an alligator swimming in the lake.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Last Minute Posting

I fully intended to post something tonight, but I dropped the ball and now I desperately need to turn off the light and go to sleep because I have to get up at 5 am and go to work tomorrow. Yes, it is Christmas Eve, but a piddly, few children still show up at the daycare and so, much to our chagrin, it remains open. We are expecting two babies tomorrow and I am in charge of both. 

The daycare closes early tomorrow afternoon. At least there's that. I get out at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. In time to go home and be at the airport in Rochester by about 5:30 pm to catch a flight out around 7:45. On Christmas Eve. I'm leaving my computer home this trip, but still hoping to locate my misplaced favorite camera lens before my departure. (Thankfully, God knows where it is. I'm hoping he lets me in on the secret.)

The bag is packed, I'm ready to go.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

It's Almost Christmas

 I looked through my Facebook memories this evening. Photograph after photograph of days gone by... The Naughties batting at Christmas ornaments, snow-covered apple trees, grandchildren and gingerbread houses, and The Cabinetmaker. Everything I loved with all of my heart; my home and my family. The only thing I ever really wanted. My treasures...

The ache, softened only slightly by time, returned once again... I could delete the blog. I could erase the photographs. I could refuse to look. Instead I go back time and time again. Sometimes the memories bring a smile. Sometimes I laugh out loud. Other times a lump grows in my throat and tears spill down my cheeks.

Holidays are emotional. Rather than softening the blow of family secrets revealed, time has made impossible sitting in the same place and pretending everything is fine. Everything is not fine, no matter how much my heart and mind want it so. Everything is not okay.

In the past two months, two of my children have blamed me for not protecting them from the abuse they suffered as children, but the truth is that I did the very best I could with the tools and knowledge I had at the time. I read recently that "abuse doesn't necessarily start out in a very obvious way; it creeps in slowly like a poisonous gas. The more you breathe the gas, the less clear your thoughts become. By the time things start happening that a sane person would easily recognize as abuse, it's generally too late- you are no longer quite 'sane.' Your sense of what has happened has become completely distorted by exhausting mental games and emotional torment." Early on I knew a very real and present danger existed, but somewhere along the way, as I breathed in the "gas," I lost focus. Even now my mind wants to rationalize and deny.

I sent out the apology letter I'd been contemplating weeks before the first child approached me. Seven identical letters sent privately to each of my children. I heard back from six. The seventh has seen it but not responded and this was not one of the two who had voiced blame. Abuse is a complicated poison with the perpetrator often being forgiven for offenses committed while the "non-offending" parent is left holding the blame. I've been told kids are smart and they will figure it out eventually. Maybe. But they've been breathing the gas all their lives. If it's been so very hard for me, how much harder it must be for them...

Sunday, November 28, 2021

It's Been Two Weeks

Two weeks between posts. There's sure to be something left out that I'll one day wish I'd put in, but today I'm not sure what that will be...

* Second counseling session with my son went better than the first which was two weeks prior. I'll just say I wasn't as mentally prepared for the first as I may have been for the second. Being a mom is hard some days.

* We celebrated Thanksgiving last Sunday with a dash of Covid. Several family members are ill but none seriously. Not everyone contracted the illness in the same place as not everyone was here on Sunday. Most family members are not vaccinated. (It's still their choice.) I have tested negative and am free to travel about as long as I don't test positive or develop symptoms. Being vaccinated does have its perks for the moment, but nothing makes sense and everything is weird.

* It is not totally possible to avoid my family members in a tiny ranch with no basement. We share a galley kitchen and one small bathroom. When I first moved here four years ago, I self isolated in my attic bedroom. It's still a nice place to retreat, but it's lonely and socially unhealthy. However, we are formulating a plan because three weeks is a very long time for a small child to be kept home from school. (He tested negative.)

* I finally dragged my tiny Christmas tree out of the attic yesterday. I am way late setting it up. It is a bright and cheery spot in my little bedroom.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Days are Just Packed

It was a good week, a busy week, and an emotional week. My grandson helped remove the license plate from the back of my old car Tuesday evening. I think he used a grinder to take the rusted heads off the screws. I drove home without any plates on my car... Picked up my new ride Wednesday evening. Love it! I am now officially an adult.

Minnesota made the long drive to Florida this week. They were sick, homeless, and stressed out but they made it safely. I was blessed to be updated by my sweet son along the way. God knows I whispered many prayers for them along the way. I suppose at some point they will become "Florida" instead of "Minnesota", but not yet. I need to give that some time.

Yesterday afternoon I went to watch a movie with two friends. We drove to the opposite side of Rochester to see "The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of CS Lewis. Loved it. Very thought provoking and relevant to things I've been pondering. I went with no expectations, which turned out to be good because I was not at all disappointed. Maybe I'll even go see it again.

 My friends and I went out to eat following the movie. There was a Jeremiah's Tavern just across the street and it was perfect. I jumped outside of my usual box and ordered the Chicken and Biscuits which was loaded up with carrots, celery, and onions. Comfort food. Just what I needed.

On the way home Chris and I stopped at the pottery studio to pick up my pieces from my last class. There should have been seven, but I could only find six. I'm still missing a red one and will have to go back and look again another time.

This morning I chanced to meet an old friend at church. She'd been invited to sit with us by another friend who didn't realize we were already acquainted. This friend and I talked for quite a while after the service, sharing hearts, praying together, and finally walking out to the parking lot where we stood in a brisk wind and talked a little more. I told her I'd bought a new-to-me-car and how God always takes care of me, but when I pushed the button on my key and the lights on my new car flashed, she looked surprised. "Is that your new car?" she asked. Turns out she has the same make and model in the same color! "We're twins!" I told her. ha ha! God really does have a sense of humor.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Bits and Pieces

* It's been a stressful week. By week I mean since my last post.

* Wednesday. I met one of my kids at the therapist's office. Absolutely overwhelming. It took a few days to process all the emotions and settle my heart and soul.

* It's hard to process thoughts while tending to 3 or 4 babies all day long, but they are good therapy. I miss the other kids, but catch them when I have opportunity. I still get lots of smiles and hugs.

* I went car shopping on Saturday. A friend offered to go along and we actually had fun. I even bought a car. I'm a real grownup now. (I think.)

* On Sunday, after church (Yes, I actually got there this Sunday!) my sister Rachel and I went for a long walk through the woods, around the Webster Recreational Center, and back again. Later I made some chicken noodle soup, and took Idris down to the lake for a little while. It was a nice weekend.

* Yesterday I was stressed at work. Lots on my mind 

* My Minnesota family is struggling. They're moving to Florida, closing on their house, and dealing with sickness, movers, and lots of unknowns. It's so hard when all I can do is pray. It's not nothing, but sometimes it feels like nothing... They start the long drive tomorrow. Please pray for health and safety, for peace and rest, and for the transition to a completely new environment. And thank you. This mom appreciates it ever so much.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

The Car Saga

My car is still at the shop. It appears to need a new catalytic converter. The parts on either side have already been replaced... It's the converter itself that is pricey and he's had no luck locating an aftermarket part. There are aftermarket brands but nobody can get one. The only choice appears to be ordering from the dealer. It will take about four days to get here and cost two grand. And that's just the part. *Ouch!* Thankfully, I do know how to save money. I just never get to keep it.

I still have to give my mechanic an answer on whether to order the part and do the work...

Sunday, October 31, 2021

I'm Okay

Not working in the daycare kitchen created a strange surprise yesterday. I was walking through the store when I came upon a Campbell's Soup display. There on the shelf was the elusive Campbell's Chicken Gumbo Soup. My mom had a recipe for making Sloppy Joe's with just the thing, so I bought two cans of soup, a package of hamburger rolls, and a couple pounds of ground beef. Maybe this cooking break at work will work to Hannah's advantage.

I woke up feeling ill this morning. Headache. Queasy stomach. (Probably from the headache.) I went downstairs for a cup of tea and something to tame the headache, listened to church online, and went back to sleep for half an hour or so. When I next awoke the headache had dissipated and I found functioning possible.

My car goes into the shop Tuesday. I'm borrowing a car from my cousin for the next couple of days and hoping my own will be back to feeling like herself again soon. *fingers crossed

I took my cousin's car for a ride down to the lake this afternoon so that I wouldn't be driving it for the first time tomorrow morning. Our glass hunting sandbar is pretty much gone. The rains from last week's nor'easter washed it out into the lake and opened the creek to brown trout, steelheads, and salmon. Good for both fish (maybe) and fishermen. I snagged a few pieces of glass from what used to be the sandbar and snapped a few pictures. 

Down toward the road and on the opposite side of the creek from the parking lot I found a woman fishing. "I know you," she said, and I answered, "You do?" She asked if I used to homeschool and then told me her kid's names. Nothing was familiar at all except her eyes and her voice. "What's your name?" I asked her, and that was when I knew that we didn't know each other from homeschooling at all. It was CoDA. We chatted for a bit, then she went back to her fishing and I went to Target.

It's Halloween night. When I was a little girl the streets of this small neighborhood were filled the costumed children, but in recent years the crowd has been pretty thin. Even so I bought a couple bags of candy this afternoon, just in case. It's 6:20pm and I've had three children come by so far. I'm here by myself so it's kind of nice having a little company, even if they don't stay more than 20 seconds. 

Oh, yeah. Yesterday afternoon I cleaned off my shelf at the pottery studio. I'm just throwing money away (or making a huge donation) by keeping it. I never go outside of taking a class, so there's really no reason to keep it. I'm feeling a peace about it this time that I didn't have at the beginning of the year. I still love playing in the mud, but I'm thinking it's going to go in a new direction. Stay tuned to find out, along with me, what that means.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Some Days I'm Okay

Some days I am fabulous. Some days I am okay. And some days I am neither fabulous nor okay. And that is okay.

I started the day fine, fabulous even, but this evening I am finishing up a tad less than okay. Twelve days behind me and I am itching like crazy. Perhaps there is an unknown requirement to have scratched absolutely every place on my body before the torture has passed. This evening I remarked how my arm pits hadn't been itchy yet... Well, we can check that off now too. I'm drinking Nettle Leaf Tea in the hope that it will relieve some of the discomfort. I slept last night without taking anything else. Of course I scratched vigorously during the night, but I slept too.

My car is unhappy. Tired and sluggish. I need to take her into the shop again... She doesn't like climbing hills or switching into the higher gear. I fear the mechanic's diagnosis and I haven't even called him yet. *sigh*

The back half of the garage roof is leaking. There was a discussion about roofing it when we did the rest of the house but it was thought unnecessary. Where do I find someone to roof half a garage? I can't even find someone to change out a sliding glass door... And how do I pay for it when I need to fix my car?

I am perfectly happy being single. Most of the time. This year has found me the most settled. It's been a really good year. Even with everything good and wonderful, the ache inside still surfaces and the wounds still bleed. Some days I still can't believe I actually moved out of the house I loved so much and away from the farm that was my home, that I left behind the boy I'd married, the father of our children and the man I loved in spite of the abuse...

One of Mom's favorite sayings was "God hates divorce." It was drilled into my heart and soul, deep into my very being. She never bothered to tell me that God hated abuse even more, or that abuse wasn't always broken bones and visible bruises. I saw mean, cruel, confusing, and even volatile. I saw a man who mistreated our children in order to control me, but nobody I asked for help saw. They saw a wife who needed to submit more, and pray more. They saw a husband who was being "undermined," not a family in peril. And my mom? Well there were some things she did try to tell me... "I always knew he was a predator type..." she'd said, and I thought she was referring to me as the prey. I didn't understand what she was saying and I held the telephone away from my ear... In the end I had to draw a line and it almost killed me in the process. On the outside I tried to smile, but on the inside I was a broken mess. 

There are still days I ache but the days of hope now far outnumber the achy, bleeding days. In another week or two the intense itching should dissipate and disappear, and I'll be free of my dependence on antihistamines. In the morning I'll call the mechanic and see if he has any advice. Eventually I'll find someone to help me slap some shingles on the back half of the garage. And, I'm going to keep loving the life I have, the one full of babies and little people, fantastic and inexpensive vacations, and little trips to the lake or woods with my camera. It's really a wonderful life.

Monday, October 25, 2021

The Weekend

 It was a nice weekend. We celebrated Idris's birthday (which is really the 27th) with a party on Saturday afternoon. I made pizza for the guests and Hannah put together a fabulous cupcake shark. It was cold outside so we had a full house. I love that this child gets birthday songs in both English and Spanish. I also loved that he seemed to appreciate it more himself this year. (It was actually Bethany's birthday, but she was willing to share with her little nephew, and we sang the birthday song for both.)

Yesterday morning I met my friend Gail out in Sodus Point for one more walk along the shore. The sun was out and we collected a few bits of glass along the seaweed strewn sand and stones. When we got hungry, we drove down Lake Rd to Burnap's Farm Market for lunch. Theirs is a seasonal market and so they'll be closing down soon for the winter.

A bit farther down Lake Rd I turned off into the orchard and drove all the way through to Shepherd Rd where our farm sat like an old friend who looks mostly the same but has dyed her hair and wears an unrecognizable garment. I looked enough to see that Jon has cut down the apple trees on the property he owns and put up a fence. Kudos to him for facing down the farmer. Other than that I couldn't look much and found later that I hardly remembered the drive from there all the way back to Webster. It still aches but the memories of home are sweet.

I am okay. Both inside and outside. I can make healthy choices, like going off medication that causes terrible itching (I scratched all day Saturday) and breaking a date with an old friend (I was invited by the father of the groom to a wedding) when I see that his choices aren't healthy for me or my family. God is still here with me, fighting for me, leading me, gathering me close when I start to wander, and always, always loving me. I am forever blessed.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Bits and Pieces

 * Zyrtec withdrawal is going well. I still get itchy but every day is getting better. I've taken both Benadry and NyQuil throughout the week (Yes, I do know they contain antihistamines.) to help me sleep at night. They don't have the same intense itching withdrawal symptoms and I feel confident that I won't become addicted to either one. I honestly only wanted to get through my first week without the Zyrtec and will try sleeping the weekend without either one. I'm no longer wanting to scratch myself down to the bone, so something good must be happening.

* I spent the entire week with babies, anywhere from 3 to 4 of them. On Tuesday I had a clingy 14 month old who eventually spiked a fever. She is such a sweet little thing. I already knew early on that she wasn't feeling well, and since we've had both RSV and Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease going through the daycare, I was fairly confident something was cooking. Her daddy came to get her not too very much into the afternoon. The rest of the week has been spent with Very Littles, anywhere from 6 months down to 3. It's been a busy week full of bottles, diaper changes, and cuddles.

* Last night a few of my own grandchildren were here. I got to snuggle the mermaid and she went to sleep in my arms. *sigh* Number 12 (Logan) and I played catch with a stuffed dolphin while his brothers and Idris bounced off the ceiling and walls. Ha ha! I went from my work daycare home to another. What a fabulous day!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Magically Delicious

I am beginning the grand, new adventure of quitting Zyrtec and let me tell you, this is going to be agonizing. Not only do I have seasonal allergies, but I deal with terrible itching, which is why I have taken antihistamines long term. Every time I forget a day, I begin to experience intense itching. I could scratch myself raw. I have been 

known, in the past, to wake up vigorously scratching my feet, ankles or legs. I've had lines and patches of hives left from my fingernails. Just rubbing up against something can get the itching started, something as simple as removing a piece of clothing. 

Last week I discovered that intense itching is a symptom of withdrawal. I was itching because I was taking the medicine! Oh, boy... It's been two days and it could be three weeks. I tried tapering off the medication a bit last week but even so I am driving myself crazy with the scratching and there is not a part of my being that can't join in the party. (I took a Benadryl this evening in the hope that I'll be able to sleep.)

In other news, better news, my people and I took a trip back to Mendon Ponds this afternoon. Number Nine had several little birds take a seed from his hand and was thoroughly delighted!

 I love watching to look the of wonder and sheer delight come over the faces of my kids and grandchildren when a chickadee lands on their finger. Even Killian found it amusing.

I had needed a walk in the woods and this outing was absolutely perfect.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Disappearing Act

 I haven't written a post in weeks, partly because I've been tired, busy and distracted, and partly because it can be hard to put my thoughts into something congruent and understandable. Mostly, by the time I come upstairs to my computer I'm tired and not able to express anything I want to pass on. The sad piece is that I'm no longer keeping much of a journal at all.

* The first weekend of October, my friend Gail and I went to a Sea Glass Festival in Ship Bottom, New Jersey. 

The weather was absolutely fantastic and I fell in love with the ocean all over again in a new way. While home packing for the trip, I took my bathing suit out of the drawer and then chided myself. "Martha, it's October. You don't need your bathing suit." Oh, silly me! Thankfully, I am well practiced in getting my feet and pant legs wet while down at the lake. The ocean waves and surf were glorious!!! By the time we left the beach I was wet all the way up to my backside. (I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of my vacations this year!)

* Things have been switched up at work. We have a plethora of babies and so I have been transferred from kitchen duty to the baby room where I am in charge of four babies who are 3, 4, 5,and 6 months old. All girls. (That's my mermaid granddaughter in the picture.) Most of the babies are pretty easy going, but there's a feisty little character in the mix who keeps me hopping. I'm still hopping on the days she isn't there, but when she is, I hop faster. Ha ha! They are a sweet little bunch and all enjoy a long, close snuggle here and there. The worst part of the job, aside from being trapped in a back corner and forgotten, is that I miss all my other little friends who are taking their naps when I go on my lunch break. I snatch every moment or two I can to smile, wave, or give them a hug.

* I'm in the middle of another wheel thrown pottery class. This time  Dan (who is my chiropractor, and I haven't been there in weeks...) is in the class along with Katie, one of his receptionists. I had to laugh when Tuesday night he made a suggestion and she said, "You're not the boss of me." I'm failing at the wheel this time around. It feels like my heart just isn't in it anymore and I'm about ready to give up the shelf I rent and never use. The money would be better spent on my Friday night ventures to do pottery with my cousins. I thought I might have a change of heart after this class, but it hasn't happened so far...

* It's a rainy weekend. I'm inside all week long so when the weekend weather is nice I don't stay in. Dark clouds, wet ground, and a constant drizzle make it easier to stay home. I might even sort through some of my room. Maybe.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bits and Pieces

* Life is weird, and September has been extremely stressful. Emotional relief came midweek, a little earlier than anticipated, when my heart and mind were suddenly noticeably relaxed. Perhaps it was Tuesday evening's pottery class... but more likely it was a settling of thoughts, as if several previously misaligned pieces suddenly shifted into place creating a totally different perspective.

* My kids are struggling and it pains this momma's heart. If I could make them little again, I would make sure their life "tool boxes" were better equipped, but the days of me packing for them are over. Today they are left with choices. Either find the tools themselves, ask for help finding them, or learn how to get along without. There are SO very many things I would do different, but all the "if only's" in the world won't change what is. We can only go on from here.

* My favorite firstborn turned 40 this past Friday. How he caught up to me so fast is a mystery. I was so disappointed to miss his birthday, and then I realized that he probably wasn't fretting over it like me. The realization took the sting away, (and I was just there a few week back). I am a silly mom sometimes.

* It was a great weekend to be down at the lake. I even got my feet in the water again. Summer is holding on with all it's might. The lake water is getting colder, but still very enjoyable. I'll be gone away this next weekend so Saturday might have been my last opportunity for lake walking this year. (That's my friend Gail looking for beach glass.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Two Weeks

 I've never gone so long between posts as between this one and the last. I can hardly recall what's happened that I might want to look back on...

* Minnesota. I lost track of how many times Jim said, "You know, Mom, you could stay another week," or "Mom, don't you want to stay another week?" I have to admit, it was very tempting. Deep inside I wanted to say yes, but I have a job that I needed to get back to and only three of the five days I'd taken were paid. When it came time to say goodbye, Parker (Number 11) was just waking up from a nap. He wasn't much in the mood for a cuddle, so I kissed his little forehead, told him I loved him, and choked back the emotion that wanted to well up inside and leak out my eyes.

On Thursday night, September 2, my blog friend Kim picked me up at Jim's house and we went for a walk at the Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary which was only about a mile or so away. She had a limited span of time to spend but I was grateful for her company. I don't know if I will ever get back to Minnesota and I missed her last time I visited. My friend Kristina wasn't feeling well when I was there and so we didn't get a chance to meet up. I'm hoping one day in the future we will make another connection.

Jim was off work for the weekend, so we took a ride with the boys on Saturday afternoon. We stopped to say hello to Jim's childhood buddy Dan and his wife Rachel in Farmington on our way to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. It was a quick visit, mostly some hugs, a picture or two, and a little conversation, and then we were on our way. Dan and Rachel had a prior engagement to attend and hadn't been aware of my presence in MN until the previous evening.

We took the boys on a little hike through the woods to a "hidden" waterfall where an ever changing group of people enjoyed the cool water. The little found it wonderfully fascinating, while their older brother kept a sharp watch on them. I watched through my camera lens.

I returned from Minnesota on Sunday, September 6 following a fabulous brunch at Grammy and Granddad's house where we took some family pictures and Jim helped me do an "early" check-in for my flight because I'd forgotten all about it when we went to the woods on Saturday. He took me to the airport a little after 4 pm for my 5:30 pm flight home. I arrived in Rochester at approximately 11:30 pm local time and my friend Chris, who works near the airport, picked me up a little after midnight and took me home. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I miss my Minnesota people. In fact, I miss them very much. 

 * After my week away and flight home, I was relieved to have Labor Day off work. There were no picnics or parties planned. Late in the afternoon I took a drive out to find my friend Gail at her cottage in Williamson and we combed the rocky lake shore for bits of tumbled glass. It was an unusually quiet Labor Day. On my way home from Gail's I stopped by Bethany's house to drop a birthday gift off for Jilly (Number 8) who turned 6 while I was out of town. Jake (Number 5) had a birthday on September 11 and is now halfway to 18. (He's nine.)

* Work was crazy while I was gone and I returned to a daycare running at partial capacity. It's been a strange week and a half. The children have returned to school and are slowly trickling back in from mandatory isolations. (Yeah, that. I skipped town just in time.) Something in the daycare feels off, but it isn't the sickness. I'm hoping whatever it is passes and everything begins to feel normal again, but this too is a growing moment. 

* There was a family gathering on Sunday afternoon with chile. The forecast inspired us to change locations and so there were 12 grandchildren running about and frolicking in the house, yard, and driveway. They caught baby crickets in the grass and played in the rain. There were grown up conversations, heated discussions, and moments of encouragement. My heart is full and achy at the same time. 

* I started a new pottery class last night. Same instructor as in the spring as well as one classmate. I also know two others in the class; my friend Dan and his friend Katie. Although I haven't been to the studio much in the past few months, it felt comfortable and relaxed. I'm looking forward to the next eight weeks and wondering what kind of vessels will emerge... 

** I'm also still enjoying pottery nights with my cousins. This is my second "lace" cup, this time with a handle. I haven't yet decided how I'll finish it. It's possible I'll have it fired at the studio as they run their kilns at a much higher temperature. Time will tell.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Lots to Love

There is a lot to love in Minnesota. The little ones here are full of smiles and snuggles. 

Jim is working from home, and Michele continues to recover from childbirth. She is absolutely amazing.

We've spend most of our time inside. The backyard is off limits due to an impending tree removal, but we've gone out on the front sidewalk for a bit of time each afternoon. "The Sickness" is keeping us close to home.

I don't feel like I've been a tremendous help here, but I have snuggled children, changed diapers, and cleaned the kitchen. Well, I loaded the dishwasher anyway...

Saturday, August 28, 2021

The Lake Was Gorgeous

 The lake was gorgeous last night. Rough and tumble waves rocked the shore and blasted the breakwater drenching anyone and anything in the way. I got my feet and pant legs wet and it was wonderful. I love the lake calm and still, and I love it rough and wild.

I'm heading out of town. In a little less than an hour I'll pack my bags into the back of my car. I'm flying to Minnesota to see my grandsons and meet their baby sister. I'm hoping to be helpful to my handsome son and his beautiful wife. I'm also hoping for a minute or two to catch a visit with my friends Kim and Kristina. I have a week.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Bits and Pieces

 * August is going way too fast. The summer is going way too fast. I thought I'd have more free time. LOL!

* Life hasn't turned out exactly as I'd envisioned, which I'm sure doesn't surprise anyone else whose lived a good portion of their own. Situations and circumstances just keep taking us by surprise. Some surprises turn out sour, but there are the sweet surprises as well. Thankfully, life gives both hard lessons, and unexpected blessings.

* Work occupies a major portion of my time and energy. Sometimes that is hard, but it is softened by the smiles and affection of the little ones I am there to serve. The little friend who lost his daddy a few weeks ago was very happy to see me on Monday. I was blessed with smiles, hugs, and childish chatter, and he is not the only one who looks for me. Yesterday a small sweet voice called out from the toddler room, "Marrrrthhhaaa... Where arrrrreee yoooouuu?" It was repeated over and over as I passed out breakfast trays and I would call back to her, "Nataleeeeeee... I'm commmmminnnngggg."

* My momma heart is aching this summer. A situation I'm unable to share that is constantly thumping about in my thoughts. I find myself crying out to God. I don't know, of course, what the final outcome will be. I have to give every anxiety into God's hands. It is no longer possible to pull my hurting children into my arms, to rock them on my lap, or kiss their wounds away. They are grown up now and must find their own way through the heartaches of life.  "Oh, Lord!"

* I booked a flight to Minnesota. Time is going so fast that I barely realized I'd be leaving in little over a week... My Minnesota people are planning an out of state move in the not too distant future, so unless they change their plans (which isn't likely), this is quite possibly my last Minnesota trip.

* Two of my boys came over last evening. We sat in the garage and I listened to them talk. There was blatant honesty, exaggerated stories, and comic relief. They spoke of experiences that are both amusing and terrifying all at once. I've never been of the mindset that my kids, especially my boys, have or will continue to avoid substances and activities that might send a mother into a panic. I wasn't sure how to respond.  Another piece of life to let God handle. "Oh, Lord!"