Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Loving to the End


She was almost 90 years old, and she didn't remember much of anything very well. She spent hours making “phone calls” on the television remote, talking happily to no one. But she remembered her boyfriend Bill, and missed him whenever he had to be away. He was about the same age as she, and toothless, but they found each other beautiful. He came to visit her at our hospice residence as often as he could, and they sat for hours holding hands and telling us all how lucky they were to have each other. Confused though she often was, some days she would look at me with clear eyes and tell me that she had never been happier.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Springing Forward

The temperatures are still below freezing most nights but it was almost 70 degrees yesterday, which made the piles of snow infinitely more bearable!  

The deer are grazing further back from the road now, but not yet staying in the woods where it is still slushy.    

My crocuses sprang up yesterday in what seemed like minutes.   I came home to pick something up yesterday and there weren't any.   Spent ten minutes in the house and when I left again, I had a dozen flowers.    Most of them are gone today, eaten, I think, by the bunny mob that gathers here.

My grief group made the cutest project this week, and I love to watch how crafting takes their minds away from their sorrow, if even for a little while.    My mother used to say that busy hands are happy hands, and there's some truth to that.
I went shooting with a friend yesterday, which always make for a fun day - we work different schedules and shoot together when we can, but not all that often.   He just got a new gun and his wife has no interest in shooting, and he wanted to show it off so I was a perfect fit.    One of those wonderful situations, where I am good friends with both people in the couple, but I generally spend time with them as individuals and not as a couple.   So I had lunch with his wife and later spent the afternoon with him.    Once again, I got some great photos of the 'flash' from his gun.  
 He tried and tried to do the same for me, and we finally decided that my longer barrel just makes my flash less visible.   At least that's my public position.   Actually, I think I just got better photos!   I shot a little better than I do with my usual shooting buddy, but shot much better when I was alone than when he was with me -- performance anxiety?    He says he thinks I overthink it when I'm competing, so that's something to think about. 
I walked every day this week!!    Hold your applause, it isn't exactly a habit yet, and still hard to get myself to do it.    I've set the most minimum sissy goal, too.   I tell myself I only have to walk one mile, or if I have a few extra minutes, half an hour.   The big incentive is that my search and rescue group has set a new requirement that we be able to walk a mile, with full pack, in 20 minutes.   I am not sure I'll be able to do it, because it takes me about 17 1/2 minutes to walk my daily mile without  pack.   And really, I don't much care, because we can also just get a doctor's note and I know I can do that.    But I am trying to keep my eye on the big picture, my own improved health, and this goal at least sets a standard to aim for.

She's not fat, she's fluffy


 This story may not be politically correct but it is true. He was only 40 when he was told that there was no cure, and he was worried about his mom, because his older brother had died a few months earlier and his dad was terminally ill. He told her that he would go to a hospice residence because he refused to burden her with his care. But, he told her, don't write me off just yet. I intend to live as long as I can, and it's not over until the fat lady sings. At our hospice residence, he was an interesting guy, and the staff got to know him, and of his love for music and books. He and his mom visited together every day and they laughed about his “fat lady plan” a lot, with that grim laughter that sometimes comes with terminal illness. In fact, they decided that at his funeral, when the day came, she would play “His eye is on the sparrow” by a particular favorite singer, whom they thought of as “the fat lady.” One night, as he was growing weaker, he asked his mom if she thought it could be almost time for him to go and she told him yes, she loved him and would miss him, but she understood and would be okay. His mom left for a little bit and when she came back, one of the aides told her that she didn't know why, but she had felt led, almost compelled, to stop by his room and sing “The eye is on the sparrow” for him. He went to sleep then and never woke up. And yes, the aide who came in to sing . . .  . well, not one of us would have said so, but she would have readily admitted that she pretty much fit the description.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Still Winter Here


I got my fabric in the mail several days ago, my prizes from the gift certificate I won from In The Boon Docks.   I picked the nurse and the Day of Dead patterns to make zipper bags for specific people.   So far my projects haven't gone so well, but I sure do like the fabric.  :)

First I worked on a new (to me) bag pattern for a 5-year old girl who loves skeletons.   It didn't work out the way I intended it to.   In fact, it barely worked out at all.   But her mom says she will love it anyway.   I'll make her another one with my usual fail-safe pattern later.
Next weekend I will work on the nurse-y bags and hope I do a better job.  

I was given a lovely surprise gift on Sunday.   A pen pal friend sent me home from dinner with a lovely fountain pen attached to a note saying he hopes it will improve my handwriting, lol.   It won't, but I love the pen.   I've already written two letters with it.   It's a pen that teases me with a little flair, encouraging me to get a little fancy.   So far I've resisted, but I'm hoping to give in a little as time goes by.
Today I drove almost 100 miles to visit a dying patient and pray with his family.   I love my drives out in the country. 

The snow is finally melting more and more, at least in the fields.    A week ago, deer were grazing at the side of the road, where the first patches of grass had appeared.   Today they were grazing further back in open fields, causing less concern that they would make a wrong turn in front of me and making the long drive a little less stressful.   On my way home, it started to snow like crazy, creating white-out conditions for part of the drive.   It doesn't look like it will be Spring any time soon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Melting!

I'm afraid to speak of it, but it SEEMS as if some of the snow might be melting!   The big piles of gray, dirty snow in front of my house (and most everywhere you look) are NOT pretty, but they lift my spirits anyway, because they hint of spring. 
I took this photo of the snowbank in front of my house yesterday.   Today, after hours of drizzle, it is nearly gone, and brown grass is visible almost everywhere.   Well, 'almost' might be an overstatement --  there are still large areas of snow.   But we are on our way, just in time for the official start of Sprin tomorrow!

And what a lovely way to welcome a warmer season -- I won the most wonderful prize yesterday from In The Boon Docks -- a $25 gift certificate from Pink Chalk Fabrics!    I started shopping as soon as I got the notification from Lisa that I'd won, and was ready to go the minute the electronic gift certificate arrived a very short time later.   Some really unusual fabrics, that will soon be turned into gifts for a couple of friends.   I can't wait!   Thanks so much, Lisa -- I'll show off my choices when they arrive in the mail.  :)     I can already tell that Pink Chalk Fabrics has great customer service, since they've already responded to my (several) questions super fast, and they've already shipped my order, so I know I'll have it soon.  

Today I went to see my granddaughter's school play, a musical called Geology Rocks!    She was a volcano, and adorable, of course.   Like all of their school plays, it was fun and educational and an amazing display of very young talent.   The kids get better and more confident every year and it's a joy to watch them all grow.    So much fun!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Walking On Sunshine

A sunny weekend for a change!   It was WONDERFUL to see and bask in sunlight, at long last!    It was a lovely weekend in all ways.    Friday is supposed to be a day off for me, but not this week, because a family called me in early yesterday morning to sit with them for awhile at the hospice.    They didn't need me for long, just long enough to reassure them, and more than long enough to remind me how precious life and love are.   Their loved one died yesterday afternoon and my heart breaks for all of them.    If you have someone you love who is still with you, hug them tight.
Today, Saturday, I had a Bridal Show.    They are the best deal in town for Brides-to-be -- for a small fee, Brides can win prizes, learn about a large assortment of wedding services and vendors, taste free food and cakes, see table decorations, hear how disc jockeys sound, and just generally get tons of ideas.   This show was free to prospective Brides, and the facility where it was held set out a buffet of all their menu items, had a full bar, and a cupcake and dessert table, all free to the attendees.   There is usually something to let the vendors know who the Brides are, a sash or a crown, and today was no exception.   The Brides wore "Bride-to-be" headbands.     I gave away a $25 gift card in one of my little zipper pouches, and of course any Bride who signs with me after meeting me at the show always gets a discount.   
Several couples stopped to ask questions and chat but I don't generally get much business from the Bridal Shows, so we'll see if I get any follow ups from the Brides I talked to.   But the food was good -- there were some interesting veggie dishes, including corn fritters, and some beef that was delicious but unfortunately cut on the grain so it was as tough as a rock.   And I had a very tasty Martguerita cupcake for dessert.   Yum.
The Bridal shows are always interesting, that combination of young love and soooo many mismatched couples.    On top of all that, I find myself playing the Comparison Game -- I was once young, pretty, slender (no really, it's true).   I was once hopeful, perhaps long after I should have given up that hope, but so many things in life, so many things in love never came my way.   I won't try to prove it to you here, but I've got me some stories.   And you know the odds, I'm more likely to win the mega millions if I ever buy a ticket than to find a lasting relationship now.  I keep telling myself to shake it off, but I wonder if I ever will; this was something I was always so sure I would eventually find.    I envy them so much.   Oops, I guess I'm whining again!   I need to make lemonade out of life's lemons, so a mega millions ticket might be in my future.  :)

Tomorrow is our last Dominoes Sunday for the winter, which is always bittersweet.   It will be almost another year before the three of us get together to play again.   Since St. Patrick's Day is Monday, we're having corned beef and cabbage, of course.    I made Dominoes cookies to commemorate the occasion, and walnut brownies on the side.   Clearly I won't lose any weight this weekend!

Monday, March 10, 2014

March On!

My weekend was full of meetings and fun and family and friends.    Dominoes season is almost over -- just one more Sunday to play!   I will miss is so much.   I'm planning to make cookies shaped like dominoes for our last game -- I need to either find some tiny chocolate chips or M&Ms or else make some pretty big cookies!    For this past weekend's dominoes Sunday I made a Winter Fruit pie, with apples, pears, cranberries and figs -- surprisingly delicious!

My work schedule today was sort of split in half because I had calls to make in the morning, and a meeting to go to at night.   So I used the middle of the day to bake cupcakes and take them to a new drop-in center for the mentally ill that just opened up down the road.   They were so excited to see me, or at least excited to see the cupcakes.    I turned them all into smurfs with my blue frosted cupcakes - blue tongues and mouths everywhere I looked! -  but they didn't mind a bit.   
I will definitely make a point of taking cookies or cupcakes to the drop in center whenever I can, and I also plan to try to come up with some fun craft ideas to hold a group there once in awhile to help them try new things, just as I do with the grief groups.

Meanwhile, while I'm baking pies and cupcakes, I still have piles of papers and projects that need to be sorted and finished and put away.    My house is in danger of looking like a hoarder lives here so I really, really need to clean and organize.   Maybe tomorrow.   Instead of doing the things I should, I made a couple of cute St. Patrick's days pouches this weekend, and I (finally) finished my flannel baby rag quilt.    Avoidance seems to inspire me.  :)
The sun is shining and life is good -- I could use a little Spring Fever energy, but if spring is in the air, it's still buried under a foot or so of snow.   No complaints.    I'm getting used to the idea that it might be Always Winter and Never Christmas.     Besides, if the snow ever melts, I'll need to stop wearing these bulky sweaters, and evidence of all those pies and cupcakes is bulging out all over.   Oh dear, another project to add to my to-do list -- sort a few pounds of clutter and lose a few pounds of winter weight.    As I say, maybe tomorrow.  :)