Monday, April 22, 2024

The Life I Now Live

It's nothing like I ever imagined, getting up and going to work every day instead of watching grandchildren and gardening. I don't prepare the meals or bake cookies. I don't organize the house or wash the floors. I get up each morning and go to work. It's not anything like I thought it would be. The children I imagined would fill my days do not. In fact, in many ways we hardly know each other. Instead I spend my days with children who will, in all likelihood, soon forget me altogether. It's a difficult truth, but it doesn't make loving them any less important.

No doctor appointments this week. I might finally work a full 40 hours. Next week are my follow up appointments from last week's tests. I've been reassured by a retired doctor friend regarding my echocardiagram. He says trace and minor heart valve regurgitations are not uncommon, and mine are not likely to be causing any problems at present. My heart looks good and blood work has all come back without any major issues. I'm pretty sure the cardiologist will agree.

A dear childhood friend called me on Friday afternoon to deliver some news. This friend was recently diagnosed with stage 4, inoperable, liver cancer. I am stunned and saddened. I don't see her often but she is dearly loved. Life is rarely predictable...

The passing of a distant family member caught me off guard this afternoon. She left behind a husband and four, some of them adult, children. The news was unexpected and heartbreaking.

It was a cold weekend but the sun came out today and the toddler rooms were able to go outside on the playground. Any day with outside time is a good day. Almost everyone took a nap. Almost. We have one small child who did not. She was not tired. Thankfully, she was quiet so her friends could sleep.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Bits and Pieces

* News of the eclipse party is everywhere. The eclipse was fantastic, the gathering was the best!

* After every fabulous, rejuvenating event come unexpected stressors. We are stressed. We are stressed for several and various reasons. All we can do is move through them because they aren't going to be over until we do.

* Work is stressful because children are maniacs. (I don't expect anything different.) Work stresses are being managed as well as possible. Hopefully everything will work itself out in time and without any more incidents. (Incidents are inevitable which is why maniacal children are stressful.)

* Did I tell you I was scheduled for an echocardiagram in June? Well, it's tomorrow instead. Yesterday I went in for an MRI on my lower back and afterward decided to see why my follow up appointment with the cardiologist was so far out when my papers say 4 weeks. After checking the schedule, it was discovered there had been a cancellation this week. Did I want the appointment? Absolutely!

* Stress does crazy things to a body. Many of the sensations I have been feeling recently would have been brushed off in the past, but with the knowledge that I have an abnormality in my heart, there comes an even greater consciousness of these sensations. Is today's pain in my upper back related to my heart or did I sleep wrong? Am I once again carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders? Am I imagining symptoms or are they real? (I wasn't crazy in February...) I can not tell the difference between what is serious and what isn't. I will be relieved when tomorrow's appointment is over and I have some answers. (PS. I took a sick day tomorrow.)

* My car has a new battery, fresh oil, new lift support struts so the back will stay open when I want to put my groceries inside, and new brake lights too. Oh, and the gas tank is full.

* Please keep my little family in your prayers. We have big things happening. Thank you so much.

PS. I felt God smile again this afternoon when my phone rang. The person on the other end had no idea I was trying to call them back for precisely the same reason they were calling me. I never even had to tell them anything. I just smiled and agreed to their suggestion. It was perfect!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Life keeps Moving Forward

Monday's joyful gathering is history, and we're all reveling in it's shadow. Moon shadow, that is. Ha ha! Mr. Moriarty's story has been shared by wide and varied news outlets including the Boston Globe, People, and TikTok. It's a beautiful thing!

Monday was fabulous, the rest of the week has brought several stresses that can't be mentioned at this time. Prayers are appreciated for two distinctly different situations we have brewing. We're looking for positive resolutions to both although both are quite serious. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, yes?

Monday, April 08, 2024

In the Path of Totality

What an absolutely incredible weekend! Saturday was gorgeous, there wasn't a cloud in the sky on Sunday, and today the clouds rolled in thick and heavy, saving our eyesight but not dropping any rain.

It was Mr. Moriarty's Opus. His driveway and front yard were filled with family, friends, former students and news crews. It got dark as night at 3:20 pm and was light again by 3:24 (or something close to that). The gathering was amazing and the eclipse was fabulous.

Old classmates were reacquainted, underclassmen became friends and we all felt like family. It was a grand reunion. I even took my yearbook along to have it re-signed 46 years later. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Things have been ramping up in Rochester, NY for a while now. The total solar eclipse is less than one week away. Our area will have 2 hours and 26 minutes total eclipse time, with 3 minutes and 42.5 seconds of totality. In all honesty, I've been ignoring the event for quite some time. I've been through several partial eclipses and, until just recently, I figured I would be shut up in a room with ten children, unable to experience the phenomenon. I knew I wasn't going to be taking the day off, so I put it out of my mind.

... Let's rewind the clock 46 1/2 years...

Okay, it's the fall of 1978 now. I am a 14 year old high school freshman sitting in my Earth Science class. The teacher is new to the district this year. He is young, just 22 years old, handsome, and very tall. It is said that he wears canoes on his feet rather than shoes. His foot is a size 17, but I digress... On this particular day he is handing out a worksheet titled "Total Solar Eclipses From 1952 through 2030." There is one to which he wants us to pay particularly close attention. It is 46 years in the future and is expected to pass directly over Buffalo, NY. He tells us we will be reuniting in Buffalo for this once in a lifetime event on April 8, 2024 and he wants us to remember this.

I have to admit, I do not have a clear memory of this day in 1978. It was a very long time ago, over 3 of my then 14 year long lifetimes, but there is a tiny ember of a memory, a very faint glow. A lot has happened between then and now.


Fast forward to March 23, 2024... I am sitting at the table in my son's Florida house. I am looking at my computer, and as is my every so often custom, I decide to check out the obituary notices in my hometown newspaper. Somehow, rather than going directly to the death notices (Yes, I am rather morbid.), I connect myself with the front page instead. Looking back at me is a picture with a headline that reads,

"50 years ago, Webster teacher asked pupils to reunite for 2024 eclipse. His moment is here"

Interested, because I was a Webster student 50 years ago, I begin to read and find myself suddenly transported back in time. I instantly have a renewed interest in the eclipse that is now closing schools and shuttering area businesses for the day. There on the screen is an aged version of my former Earth Science teacher. I begin to poke around online. I look up his Facebook account, I message friends to inquire as to whether they have been invited. I begin to follow the story a bit more closely. I even ask if I can come to his party. His answer, "Absolutely! Please attend."

This past weekend a new request showed up on Mr. Moriarty's Facebook. NBC Nightly News was coming to interview him, part of Lester Holt's team, and he was looking for former students to attend. Could we bring old yearbooks or anything else from those 9th grade years? I decided to go out on a limb and text my boss to see if there was any way I could get out of work in time to attend. She messaged me back a few minutes later and said yes! That's when I got out my old yearbook and popped it into my car. I wanted to make sure I had it along on Monday afternoon. I wanted to know what kind of grades I received that year and looked for old report cards, but so far I haven't found them.

I arrived at Mr. Moriarty's house yesterday afternoon in time for the news team to film me walking up his driveway, with him coming out to meet me. (Yeah, it was a little bit staged. Ha ha!) Inside I met the father of a coworker (I was wearing my work sweatshirt.), lots of former Earth Science students from various years, and of course, Mrs. Moriarty, who had been my study hall teacher way back in 1978-79. 

(This is getting to be a lengthy post...)

There were interviews, pictures by the news team, and lots of sharing with former classmates. There were just three "vintage" students, as Hallie Jackson referred to Barb, Ric, and me. I don't watch the news much so I wouldn't have known her if not for others who said, "There she is!" when she came out the back door of the house. She seemed like a normal, regular person, and was very nice. I couldn't be star struck because I hardly knew I should be. Honestly, I mostly live under a rock. LOL!

It was a very fun couple of hours. Like Mr. Moriarty said, "It isn't about the eclipse anymore. It's about the people. It's about the connections." I am very much looking forward to the actual event on Monday, April 8, 2024, the one Mr. Moriarty was so looking forward to back in 1978 when he was a brand new teacher and we were 14 year old Earth Science students.

PS. We're not just vintage, we're first class.

From Mr. Moriarty- "Hi Friends, the interview from NBC Nightly News with Hallie Jackson will air on Sunday, April 7 at 6:30. I believe the spot will be near the end of the program."

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Tulip

If you are not familiar with The Tulip Tale, you can find some background here. (The first post is from last year and will help you understand where I'm going with today's story.)

I haven't felt the same heaviness this year, but I did find myself thinking of her this past week, my beautiful salmon colored tulip. She not only survived despite the odds against her, but she was the prettiest tulip I have ever seen. She taught me about life, survival, and God's amazing ability to heal. I caught myself glancing across the yard last week, knowing I wouldn't find her yet hopeful just the same, but she was not there. She is gone now, never to return, her purpose in life complete, and yet the lessons remain.

I almost didn't go to church this morning. I know how that sounds being Easter and all, but I haven't been the last two Sundays (I was in Florida) and sometimes it's hard to go to church alone, especially on a Sunday so geared toward families. It can accentuate the loneliness of being singular, especially in a group of people I don't really know. In the end I decided to go anyway, because I knew I'd regret staying home. Diana greeted me in the sanctuary and invited me to sit with her and God provided the gift of not being entirely alone.

There was a children's moment during the service where a woman invited the children forward and she read them a book, Good News by Glenys Nellist. I smiled when on the first page there appeared a tulip praising God. There she was, my beautiful tulip, smiling at me from within a board book. "I once was lost in darkness, but now the sun I've found!"  The voice of God whispered in my ear and I knew He heard the unspoken cry of my heart. I smiled silently.

A woman gave the Easter message as is the custom of this new fellowship I've been attending. It was the women who followed Jesus and attended to His needs who were the first to proclaim the risen Christ and so a woman is given place to share the Good News on Easter morning. She delivered a beautiful message of God's love.

After the message and sharing of the Lord's Table came two final songs, words on the screen above so we could follow along. The last song, Beautiful Things, had a picture of beautiful, red tulips blooming in the background. If I ever needed confirmation of the Father's love for me, and my lost tulip being an unmistakable gift of His love... And to think I almost stayed home. I left with tears in my eyes.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Bits and Pieces

 Every so often I let a bigger chunk of time go by than I intended. 

* On Friday, March 22 we finished up my Disney Birthday Adventure by visiting Animal Kingdom with Jim and Michele's two youngest children, Jonah and Charlie. It was was an absolutely incredible week topped off with a birthday cake on Saturday afternoon. I couldn't have asked for  more and am so grateful for the lengths they went to in order to make the week so incredibly special.

Jim and I visited Gideon's Bakehouse inside the West End Market on Corrine Drive in Orlando on the way to the airport Sunday at noon. We had Parker along for the ride. I bought a few of their spectacular cookies to take home, and then wandered about the Orlando airport picking up a few souvenirs there that I hadn't found or missed in the parks at Disney. It was a direct flight home so no layovers this time.

* Monday morning found me visiting the cardiologist before work. This was scheduled ahead of time and my first visit. I'm now scheduled for an echocardiogram in June along with another blood pressure medication and a return visit to the cardiologist. (Turning 60 is an exciting adventure so far!) It's good to know I wasn't simply anxious or crazy when I made the appointment in February because I was feeling off.

* There was a mandatory in-service staff meeting after work from 6-8 pm on Tuesday evening that covered all things related to recent visits from OCFS and CPS. The case involving our classroom is not yet settled (it should be halfway there now) but we have been assured by the director that all will be good in the end and no one is in danger of losing their jobs. In the meantime, my co worker and I remain separated and work is stressful, albeit a bit friendlier. I was so tired after work on Wednesday that I put myself to bed by about 7:30 pm.

* Some news of interest. You may have heard about the up and coming total solar eclipse that will be occurring on April 8. Rochester, NY is in the path of totality which makes it a pretty big deal around here. Schools and business will be closed and we are expecting a record number of visitors to our area. That in and of itself is pretty exciting, but there is an added excitement I did not know of until accidentally stumbling upon a news article while in Florida last week. (Here's another in case the first doesn't work.) Back in 1978 a 22 year old local teacher, in his first year of teaching Earth Science, was looking 46 years into the future and inviting his 14 year old students to gather together for this very event. 

Fun Fact #1- the event is on the horizon. 

Fun fact #2- I was one of those students 

Lester Holt and his NBC news team are flying into Rochester to interview Mr. Moriarty and some of his former students! It's almost bigger news for some of us than the eclipse. LOL!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Wildly Wonderful!

 I flew into Orlando on Saturday, March 16.

Sunday, March 17- Jim and I took a walk at Black Bear Wilderness Area in Sanford where I saw my first in the wild alligator.

Monday, March 18- Jim and Michele took me to Disney World! It was fantastically fun! I loved all of it!!!

Tuesday, March 19- We stuck close to home and met up with my long lost brother in law and his wife at Hollerbach's German Restaurant in downtown Sanford. It was Jim's first time meeting Uncle Stan.After lunch Jim got a haircut across the street and we walked the 3 miles back home. 

Wednesday, March 20- Jim and I went to Epcot together. It was fabulous! We ate our way around the world, checked out all the gift shops, and enjoyed a myriad of rides through various countries. Guardians of the Galaxy is the best ride ever. I think I dreamed of it in childhood.

Thursday, March 21 (today)- I got up at 5:15 am, drove to the coast and met my friend Marty for sunrise and breakfast on the beach. 

Back home in Sanford, we were surprised by a visit from Jim's friend Dan and his wife Rachel.

And then we watched a rocket launch from the driveway.

What an amazing week!

Sunday, March 10, 2024


Sometimes life runs up behind and slams into your back like an unexpected toddler, threatening to send you sprawling, not because they are so big and tough, but simply because you didn't see them coming.

Saturday, March 09, 2024


In one week I will be back in Florida. I've never been to Florida in March. I have been in December, I have been in July, and I have been in the very end of August when the hot, summer air blew off the land, laughing and threatening to cook us alive. I don't expect March to be quite as hot as August.

This last week was a challenge. Toddler 2 is a little different than Toddler 1 even though we often trade a child or two and the rooms are separated by a half door. The children in Toddler 1 are slightly older, more vicious, and very loud and boisterous. Also, they don't listen. Mostly because they don't have to. 

I have two doctor's appointments this week, one on Monday morning and the other Tuesday afternoon. I also have a hair appointment on Tuesday afternoon. Somewhere between now and Wednesday evening I will begin to pack my bags. I'm flying into Orlando again, but not so early in the morning. I'm just a little excited.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Investigation: The Abridged Version

Punishments can be punitive.

Did you ever find yourself in the middle of a family feud, except you and a member of the other clan were besties? Ever been told you can't play with your best friend or hang out together because the "adults" involved weren't getting along? That happened to me when I was about 14. My best friend told me to come over the back way so none of the neighbors would see me walk up to the front door. I hung myself by the back of the pants on the wire fence and ripped a bug hole in the back of my new jeans.

I have another piece to this post. A long one, but I received an update from work this evening and so I am putting my previous post back into draft form. Prayers are appreciated. Thanks.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

Time Marches On and On

This weekend came with a wonderful gift. I was invited to visit my little friends Julia, Charlotte and their brother William on Saturday afternoon. It's been six months since I left the daycare in Macedon and I haven't seen them in all that time. Mom showed them pictures before I arrived and they were all excited to find me at the door. It did not take long at all for them to warm up, show me their snacks, bring me toys and books and sit in my lap. They will be turning 2 years old in just a few weeks and were just five months old when I started caring for them. Oh, my heart! I have missed them so much!

I didn't go to church this morning. Whether I am struggling with anxiety or something else I do not know. My heart has been knocking on my chest wall again this weekend. The doctor offered a medication for anxiety but I'm hoping to settle my mind and body without. Deep breaths. Lots of deep breaths.

Across town lives a beautiful, old friend. She has faced a lifetime of tragedies and was on my heart this afternoon. I decided to go knock on her door and see if she was home. I told her I'd come to give her a hug and tell her that I love her. She offered me a cup of coffee (I had water instead) and we sat and talked at her kitchen table. I hugged her tight before leaving and kissed the spot on her forehead where I accidentally hit her in the head with a tennis racket when we were teenagers. 

A little before 3 pm I met Hannah for a late afternoon lunch. We decided on the Tropical Smoothie Cafe. 

The weather was mild today, the perfect day for an afternoon walk. I decided on the "biggest" block and walked past the woods at the Dead End and on through the bordering neighborhood. Down by the school a little girl was riding her bike in a driveway. Her mother waved and I crossed the street to say hello to Hayleigh from work and her little daughter Savannah. On my way back toward home I passed what looked like a baby white mouse on the sidewalk. After passing I actually turned around and walked back to take a closer look, but it was just a piece of wadded up tissue paper.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Take a Flying Leap

(It's Leap Day!)

Winter has returned for a minute or two. With snow. I went to the lake after my doctor visits on Tuesday. It was such a beautiful day with very springlike temperatures. Yesterday the temperature plummeted and there was snow on the ground this morning. It'll be gone by Saturday, if not tomorrow.

So... things at work have been going better. My boss has been extremely... nice. Nothing was said about the email, nor was there a reply, but she has been extra friendly. I'm not sure exactly what this means but I'm willing to wait and see. I will be guarded, but honestly don't wish to cause trouble or stir up strife, nor am I trying to make enemies.

We had an incident at work today. (I'm not saying anything more, simply putting this here for myself as a reference point.) Maybe I'll tell the story after it's all sorted out and settled.

My blood pressure continues to be up and down but my resting heart rate has been good. The doctor's notes said, "She is normal weight," which I found encouraging even if I would like to lose 30 pounds. I'm trying to eat better while waiting for spring and the ability to walk more consistently. I was in pain back in the fall and did not walk near as much as I'd hoped. We're in the home stretch. Just another blizzard or two and it can be spring.

Pictures from my stop at the lake on Tuesday afternoon when it was 70 degrees or more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Feels

 I write it here because it helps get it out of my brain and onto "paper"...

The struggle is real. I don't know whether it's due to mid winter (even though it feels more like April) or because tomorrow (now today) marks ten years since my mom's "graduation day," or because the work situation really is taking a toll, but I feel defeated and defective. I know feelings do not equal truth and there is a way out of the abyss I have fallen into. I just haven't found it quite yet...

Two doctor appointments tomorrow; one for a cortisone injection (here's hoping it solves my problem with SI joint pain) and another with the doctor I saw a week and a half ago about my blood pressure (which is sometimes up and sometimes down). I didn't have an appointment time for the injection until this afternoon and so took tomorrow off. It's unpaid because I didn't ask to use PTO in time... Getting used to new people, places, policies is not fun. I was not paid for the day the doctor wrote off either because it was "just under the six month employment time requirement." Ugh! I'm working on another email... 

I'm confused. The Employee Handbook says on p. 14,

"All full time employees will be awarded 16 hours 
of Paid Sick Leave upon hire. All employees will accrue
one hour of Paid Sick Leave for every 30 hours worked, 
up to a maximum of 56 hours per calendar year. Employees 
do not accrue leave for payments that are not for hours 
worked, such as vacation and holiday time.

Employees begin to accrue Paid Sick Leave immediately upon
 hire and are eligible to use Paid Sick Leave upon accrual 
as needed."
I understand the six months wait for vacation pay, but the time off 
with a doctor's note should have been considered sick time. 
Am I wrong?

Thank you,

Here's hoping they pay me the 24 hours of vacation time when I go to Florida in 3 weeks. I really, really don't like fighting for everything (including accident reports).

I am tired. There are a myriad of ways to raise children and deal with discipline issues, and they change according to the recommendation of society. I won't go so far as to say today's parents and caretakers are doing it wrong (the verdict won't be in for 20 years or so), but I know that my way of raising kids is outdated and considered "negative" in the eyes of the younger generation. It leaves a multitude of ways to interact wrongly in a daycare setting. Every week (maybe even every day) I find myself looking the other way and silently saying "I don't even care" when a child misbehaves. I do not recognize myself when this happens.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Much Needed and Unanticpated Long Weekend

All weekends should be at least three days long. (Ha ha!) I feel so much better and my numbers continue to look better too. I'm headed back to work tomorrow.

Yesterday I went shopping and bought the supplies to make Chicken and Noodles which is one of the lunches I used to serve when I worked in the daycare kitchen. I mentioned on Facebook how I really, really miss my kitchen job and had three people mention different foods I had prepared. Hannah misses my goulash, Beth misses the chicken salad, and Tahnya has been craving Chicken and Noodles for five years now. I'm planning to make her some too, but I had to make a refresher recipe first and it turned out delicious!

My sister met me at church this morning. We have gone together several times now and it is feeling more and more like the place I'd like to settle. My heart is peaceful (although occasionally palpitating) and calm. I am finally feeling a renewed connection to scripture and the God who loves us more than I am able to comprehend. We met for a very late breakfast/lunch after the service. A rare occurrence.

The afternoon was spent at home trying to get my feet warmed up. I was finally successful after turning on a space heater and sitting in front of it for a while. In all honesty, I do prefer the spring temperatures of the last couple of weeks even though I know winter is not over yet.

Plans are being laid for my trip to Florida. There are a few friends I hope to see in the week I'm there and I managed to connect with every one of them this weekend. (I am so excited!)

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Numbers

Still high but looking better. 

Having an unplanned long weekend has been good. My heart, though still occasionally making itself known, is feeling more at rest.

Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, February 16, 2024

The Continuing Saga

My blood pressure is just as high at home as it was in the doctor's office, so it's not the White Coat kind. The good part of that is I did not go to the doctor for nothing. The bad part is my blood pressure is way too high.

I am scheduled to have a cortisone injection in my sacroiliac joint on February 27 (They called today) and I had to send my boss another time off request for that and the follow-up appointment. I don't blame her for wanting to go crazy with my abundance of appointments. I'm a little crazy with it myself. One thing just leads to another...

* My visit to my GP about my back pain led to physical therapy, which led to orthopedics, which led to the Spine Center/pain management doctor, which is leading me to the cortisone injection and a follow-up appointment..

* My apparent allergic reaction in Cape Cod led to the allergist noticing my elevated tryptase levels which led to him sending me to hematology to rule out anything serious. (He thinks it's just a hereditary condition that makes me more susceptible to itching and hives but wants to make sure. Test so far have pointed in that direction.) That appointment is March 11th.

* My visit to the eye doctor led to a visual field test, which led to the possibility of eye lid surgery. (LOL! Like that's going to happen... There are way too many other things to address.)

* My appointment yesterday, precipitated by my visit to the Spine Center, led to an EKG, which is leading me to a cardiologist on my return from Florida in March.

That doesn't include the recommendation to see an orthopedist for my hands, and I haven't even mentioned yet how my right sinus always feels like there is a blockage in there. Headaches are almost always on the right side and it always feels like there is something in my right nostril that doesn't come out when I blow my nose... Ugh. Have I told you I once didn't go to the doctor for years and years?

Anyway, taking a mental health day was profitable. I wasn't comfortable doing nothing and I wasn't comfortable doing something, so I decided to at least be accomplished. I cleaned the utility room in the center of the house. I feel much better knowing most of the dust and cobwebs have been cleaned away from the furnace and water heater, off the walls, and out of the corners. It's not finished yet but the difference is astonishing.

PS. Some pictures of last week's pottery night creations. Tonight I'll be rolling more slabs and hopefully glazing.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

So There.

So, I was feeling anxious enough to call the doctor this morning on my break. A little short of breath (nothing excessive), a tad lightheaded (which could mean nothing), and totally overwhelmed along with that heart that I can almost always feel beating. (It's beating. That's good, yes?) 

My boss was less than thrilled when I told her. "Will you be coming back afterward?" she asked in an exasperated tone, along with a look of disgust. 

"I don't know," I told her, "It depends on what happens.

"I'll have to rewrite the schedule," she muttered.

I could be reading more into her tone and answers than I should. I want to like her. I want her to like me. I've had more than my share of appointments in the 6 months I've worked there... She doesn't really know me, and I don't know much about her, but there has never been any hint of concern from her. No "I hope everything goes well!" or "How is your hand feeling?" (I fell on it in January.) Nothing. It feels as though she couldn't care less.

Anyway, I had my highest blood pressure reading ever when I arrived at the doctor's office. They checked both arms with the machine, and then did a manual check as well. The doctor checked it several  minutes later and it had relaxed significantly, but it was not any lower than it had been on Monday. She decided to prescribe a low dose of medication and suggested I pick up a blood pressure cuff and track my readings for the next two weeks. They also did a quick EKG and said perhaps I should see a cardiologist due to a slight abnormality. (If my kids are reading this at all, don't panic. I'll let you know if there's anything big going on. My appointment with cardiology isn't until I come home from Disney.) Oh, and the doctor also wrote me a note to stay home this afternoon and tomorrow. 

Winter has descended. It was cold when I walked into the doctor's office a little before 1 pm. Bitter, even, but the ground was clear and dry. And hour or so later, when I was buying a blood pressure machine in Target, the snow started coming down. It will be an entirely new world out there tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Under Pressure

I have been feeling stressed. Toddlers are great for raising blood pressure and mine is way too high. I do not like the numbers I am seeing (at the spine center on Monday), and I don't like how I've been feeling. It was too late to call my doctor's office this evening so I sent them on online message to inquire about it. I don't have a headache, I can see fine, and my speech is not slurred. I'm not dizzy and can walk just fine. (It's the galloping that sends me sprawling and I've purposed not to do anymore of that.) Just putting this out there because it's what's on my mind at this particular moment. Yes, I will connect with the doctor. Thankfully, I have one. I am grateful.

What is wonderful in my life? My mother taught me to "count my blessings" so there is always something for which to be grateful. I have a great vacation on the horizon and I am very much looking forward to spring. I've got some great mugs waiting to be glazed on Friday and people asking if they are for sale. But, in all actuality, I am mostly feeling anxious. Maybe it's because it's February and I miss my mom...

I drank lots of water today. Lots and lots, and now I am having a cup of camomile tea with honey. Perhaps I should scale back on the coffee, not that I drink a ton or anything, just a cup in the morning and another of half caffeine in the afternoon. Maybe replace one cup at a time with cinnamon tea. Maybe.

Oh, I bought myself a comfy, new, little recliner. It's built for women and smaller than the usual. I picked it up at Home Goods a couple weeks ago and it seems very good for my lower back. Great foot rest and fabulous back support. It fit perfectly into the back of my car. I like it a lot and now all I need to do is pay for it. Ha ha!

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Two in a Row

 It's been an interesting year. A year ago I decided to find a new doctor. I didn't have one because I seldom needed one and had been knocked off the past doctor's list of patients for not going often enough. (Who knew that was a thing?) I eventually settled into a practice close to home, caught up on the missing physical and blood work, did the recommended tests, and even went to physical therapy for the pain in my lower back. Not only did I do the doctor thing but I saw my GYN, found a dentist, and got back in with the eye doctor about two weeks ago. 

In September, after a strange allergic-like reaction while on vacation in August, I saw an allergist who had discovered something slightly unusual in my blood work. It's probably something genetic, and if so could explain the possible seafood reaction I had in Cape Cod. He wants me to make an appointment with hematology to rule out anything more serious.

In the meantime, my eye doctor scheduled a visual field test, which was yesterday morning. My upper eyelids lay like puffy curtains over my eyelashes, making it hard to keep my eyes open. (Honestly, sometimes it's an effort.) Eyelid surgery would vastly improve my ability to see, and probably renew my desire to read as well. 

I fell at work a few weeks ago and ended up going to Urgent Care for an x-ray of my right wrist and thumb. Nothing was broken but the suggested I go to an orthopedist. I didn't. My boss was thrown off enough that I gone anywhere at all... and my hand was feeling much better. I've been careful not to overuse my right hand which has apparently resulted in me overusing the left. I felt a popping in the outer part of my thumb yesterday and didn't think much of it, but today the pain has gradually gotten worse, even traveling into my wrist, arm, and fingers. A coworker said I should have it x-rayed too but I bought a brace and took some ibuprofen...

Next week I have an appointment with a pain management specialist. LOL! For my lower back. If I take meloxicam on a regular basis, there is not much pain, but when I back off for too long it comes back. Turning over in bed can be painful. They say it's my SI joint, which is why I went to physical therapy. I now have buns of steel, but my back still hurts.

It sounds like I'm getting old or something. Ha ha! I recently learned that galloping, indoors or out, is not safe for my body, but I'm still trying to convince my brain. I'm not in miserable pain and I stay upright on my feet, unless I pretend I'm a horse. A coworker was "skipping" about the classroom today, but I opted to sit that one out. LOL! I don't want to be the baby (or old lady) who can't mop the floors or lift children, I don't want to be the whiner, and I don't want to go back to the doctor with something new to complain about. I also want to climb mountains, sail the ocean, and ride a zip line.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Just Because

February. Or is it April? It certainly doesn't feel like the middle of an upstate, central, or western New York winter. Where is the snow and the sub zero temperatures? Not that I mind a mild winter, but I don't quite trust these mild ones... Last weekend was absolutely marvelous! Next week we could be buried. We never know.

It's been a week steeped in emotion. In years to come I won't necessarily know what the emotion was regarding, but I chronicle it here just the same. Tears, they say, are healing and so our souls bleed tears. They come in torrents, washing pain and sorrow from deep within our souls and God, in his tender mercy, collects them in a bottle... I've cried gallons of tears in my lifetime. How big must these bottles be?

The toddler room has been total chaos. Toddlers are absolute tyrants. They are defiant, headstrong, and cruel, especially to each other. Pushing, hitting, kicking, biting. Throwing, tearing, grabbing, climbing. Screaming, yelling, whining, crying. And then they look at you with sweet innocence, wrap little arms around your neck, speak your name for the very first time, and grin ear to ear over new accomplishments. It's exhausting, frustrating and rewarding all at once. (I forgot to mention any of the other messes they make... food, poop, boogers... paint, mud, drool...) You'd think with all the things we tolerate in the classrooms, that administration would be kinder. Ah, perhaps we all really are tall two year olds.

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Metamorphosis

I've been visiting a new church. The tangible example of change (aka "repentance") in yesterday's message was the caterpillar who is reduced to mush inside the chrysalis. (I do believe I've already survived the mush stage...) In the case of the caterpillar, once the metamorphosis is complete and the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, there is no going back. There is no more caterpillar. The caterpillar is gone. It is, in other words, dead. At least dead to being a caterpillar. It was never meant remain a caterpillar, but to die to it's original life in order to gain something new. The to butterfly was never intended to remain on the ground. It was destined for the sky.

The church I'm visiting is different from any of the churches I've been to in the past, and yet much the same as well. I am appreciative of fresh perspectives, new insight, and renewed hope. Holding onto faith has been difficult the past eight years, and it is in this vein that I am ever so grateful for a God who holds His children when we are not strong enough to hold on ourselves. (Perhaps it is true that we are never strong enough... ) I am hopeful that I will soon read scripture without the tinted glasses that clouded my vision for so long, and that it will be, maybe for the first time, unimaginably clear. The stories will not be new, but perhaps seen with new eyes and deeper meaning. 

The butterfly can't go back and I can't go back either. I was meant for something more.

I hope you don't mind metaphors, to go along with the metamorphosis taking place in me. I feel a little bit like a Methuselah generation butterfly because I felt like mush forever. (I'm sure they spend at least a week or two longer inside their chrysalis because I had one hanging on my swing set for a little over three weeks once. here and here) My wings might not be completely dry but I haven't dropped to the floor yet either. Here's hoping my wings are straight and strong.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Windows to the Soul

It was just an old family album full of photographs from days long gone and I suppose everyone has a few gawky childhood photos that they would rather not remember. My worst school picture was the one taken in the seventh grade when I was five months shy of my thirteenth birthday. A blemished complexion, long, greasy hair, and the nervous expression of a child entering junior high and puberty at the same time. Perhaps somewhere along the way my mother complied with my wishes to destroy the pictures because I did not run across them last night. Instead I ran across others.

Two high school photos; one taken in the fall of 1979 when I was a sophomore, and the next the following autumn, early in my junior year. It isn't as though I didn't see the swollen eyes previous to last evening. They would have been quite literally impossible to miss, yet last night the contrast between the two images struck me in a new way. I never did drugs in high school. I didn't smoke or drink, yet there in the second photo, all over my face, is pain. Deep, searing, mental and emotional pain... One picture full of hope and expectation, the next apprehension and despair. The hopes and dreams I'd carried for the previous seven years had been dashed to pieces and destroyed forever. I wasn't pregnant yet, but it wouldn't be long. I was caught in the trap of feeling no longer worthy of the one I'd loved since childhood (Joey), desperate to hold onto the one with whom I'd lost my virginity (James), and barely more than a child.

It was the eyes that caught my attention last night. These are the eyes I struggle with today, the upper lids swollen and droopy, hanging like curtains. Thirty years ago allergy injections relieved the swelling and my eyes opened up again, allowing others to once again see into my soul, but time and tears have rendered them perpetually puffy and me searching for a way to relieve the swelling. I'm trying a saline nasal spray along with a nasal steroid in hopes of clearing passages and reducing swelling. I have an appointment for a routine eye exam in another week. I know repressed (or is it suppressed?) emotions can wreak havoc on our bodies, leaving us susceptible to unexplainable chronic pain and disease, but can it also affect our eyes?

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Twice in a Row

 I stayed overnight at my son's apartment last night. Nate is playing guitar in his church worship band on a fill-in basis and needed to be there early this morning. Since fun didn't sound like getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning to brush snow off my car, I decided to pack a bag and take my pillow for a Saturday night "Pa-Grandma Party" instead. (I forgot my pajamas... Go figure.) Nate made pancakes and scrambled eggs for dinner and we watched a movie. 

This morning I got the kids ready. I fed them breakfast, and they picked cereal and milk so that was easy peasy. Nate had left clothes out for them. Only Lyla needed help so that was easy peasy too. Then we made sure teeth were brushed, hair combed, and faced washed. The van was buried by last night's "winter storm" so brushing the snow off was the next task. 

Getting the vehicle clean and everyone into their seats didn't take near as long as I'd imagined and we ended up having way too much time before church so I did the only thing a sane grandmother would and I took them to Dunkin for a box of 25 Munchkins. We had no trouble devouring them and I took them to church all sugared up. Ha ha!

Church attendance two weeks in a row. Two churches I've never attended two weeks in a row. Communion two weeks in a row. I took some cute pictures of Nate and the kids on their way back to the car.

Monday, January 01, 2024

Time Marches On

Looking backward is not advised, and yet each morning I look back over my Facebook memories, pour through the pictures and find myself amazed at how fast life moves along and what has transpired. Past moments on the farm very often catch me by surprise, bringing with them all the feels of yesteryear; bittersweet, poignant reminders of another life...

Materially speaking the farm was everything I'd ever wanted but had never dreamed would be mine. Simply stepping out the back door took my breath away. Three barns and a house surrounded by apple orchards, three and a half acres of land on a country road, and a wood burning stove. The kitchen was spacious, the living room big enough to hold our ever expanding family whenever special occasions arose. We spent countless hours outside in the yard, on the back porch, or gathered in the living room. Picnics, parties, holidays, we did them all...  And then the bomb dropped and the bottom fell out of my world. 

Grief is complicated and complex with threads of varying thicknesses and colors, twisted and wound into a multitude of indistinguishable knots. For months I picked numbly at knotted, outer layers, terrified of what lay beneath the surface, often setting the entire mess aside. I did all I could to live a normal life in a world that had suddenly shattered. Death leaves a visible gaping hole. Abuse leaves an unseen, shredding of the soul. Outsiders witness the abused gasping for breath, but they do not see the wound. The gasping renders others clueless. Rather than come alongside the breathless, they offer empty platitudes or avoid getting involved altogether... 

The best way to untangle a knot is to follow one colored strand, tediously and methodically unwinding it from the others. Eight years. I've been untangling threads, cords and strands for over eight years. It's a wearisome task.

(And here my thoughts were interrupted by someone I love. My phone was ringing and on the other end someone who intricately understands the complexity of grief, abuse, and knotted threads. If only (another fruitless hope)... If only I could wind the hands of time backward, to erase at least of portion the heartache to which my not-knowing-better has contributed. Today I know something different. Today I would give different advice.)

Can I untie the tangled, haphazard knots in this string of life? Can all the pain of yesterday be woven into hope and beauty? This is my earnest prayer.