Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I pulled up a couple of my potato plants today and I got (ta dah) POTATOES!!   Who wouldda thought?!
My daughter is in New Orleans tonight, riding out the storm - or preparing to, because there's nothing but a little rain at the moment, but we both know that Isaac is drawing near.    She has no transportation of her own, so she signed up with the city for evacuation, but none was ordered.   And then tonight she got an automated call saying that evacuation was mandatory, but there will be no buses, so it's a moot point for her and many like her.   The anniversary of Katrina and it sounds like the city hasn't learned how to do anything except cover its own butt.  There's every expectation that my daughter will ride out the storm without incident.    But it's going to be a long night.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sleep Over - Where's The Sleep?!

My little grands came for one last sleepover before school starts. We worked on our castles, and our soldiers, and our fairy houses. We went for a walk to gather acorns and pinecones. We made fabulous Shrinky Dinks -- even more fun than I remembered!
(this is one my grandson made!)

We made our own pizzas, had ice cream sundaes, and what sleepover would be complete without watching Care Bears (again). My grandson told me that I am a good grandma, And my granddaughter said (with some admiration) that I am VERY soft to sit on. Ahem. It's all been good. Can we sleep now?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thank You, Kim!

This week I received the coolest little prize, a package of Lightload Towels that I won from Kim at Snug Harbor Bay --  they are so tiny that they will fit easily into my purse, tackle box, glove compartment -- brilliant!   But they open to the size of a hand towel, and Kim says they are very absorbent.  
Thanks so much, Kim!   I am excited to use them but don't want to open them until I really need them because they are so darn cute!    And I know that a genuine need will arise -- I seem to recall just last month when I dumped an entire cup of coffee down the front of my shirt while I was driving to my sister's house.   I sure could have used one then -- next time I get clumsy, I'll be prepared!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Eye of the Beholder

When I parked my car, I saw a menacing young man, arms and neck covered with tattoos, standing in the driveway. I knew I had the right house because I had been here before, and it was the middle of the day, so I took a deep breath, gave him a curt nod, and walked quickly to the front door. The lady of the house let me in as always, and I spent some time with her dying husband, and then sat and talked with her. As I opened the door to leave, I felt myself tense; the man, with his shaved head and surly expression, was still there, between the front door and my car. Just then, the old lady said to me, 'oh come and see my garage. My husband used to do all this work, but he can't climb ladders and paint any more, so now my little one does it for me,' and she beamed with pride at the man, her grandson. Her “little one,” taller and broader than either of us. In a flash, instead of the face of an angry, dangerous man, I saw the bored expression of my own 7-year-old grandson, and tears burned my eyes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Songs Of Joy

Several days ago, I held a woman's left hand as she lay dying, and her middle daughter held her right hand.   The other sisters had decided not to come that day because they couldn't face seeing their mother die.    The mother gasped and her daughter began to flutter with concern.    As I always do, I talked to them both, in the form of a prayer, telling them not to be afraid, telling them they were loved, telling them that the sisters would be okay, telling them that they were safe. When the mother had breathed her last, I stayed with the daughter until her sisters arrived, and then I prayed with them all, promising them that their mother was okay.    

 Later the daughter told me this story: shortly after I left the room, the three of them heard the melodic stroke of a harp. First they blamed one another, believing that one of them had brought a cell phone into the room, but they soon ascertained that there was no phone.   Finally they agreed that the sound had come over the loudspeaker, and that it must be our way of announcing that there had been a death.   

They later found out from a nurse what I already knew.   We don't have a loudspeaker, and the harp sound did not come from us.     

I don't offer any explanation for the sound or its source.   But whatever it was, and wherever it came from, it made all the difference. The sisters stopped judging one another and themselves for what they had or hadn't done for their mom, the pain of their grief was a little less sharp, and they found themselves laughing at the way, they were convinced, their mom had found a way to reach back to give them one last sign of her love.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where Has The Summer Gone?

It's true what they always told me, on this side of the "Hill" of life, time moves more quickly.    This summer has flown by, and I have very little to show for it.   I've had so little energy this summer -- it's been so dang hot -- that I haven't done the (many) things I wanted and intended to do.   Almost no target shooting, very little fishing, no overnights with the grandkids, hardly any cooking, no quilting or crafting or preserving, pretty much a total bust.   My lack of energy bothered me so much that I saw my doctor last week, but nothing obvious seems to be wrong.    He blames my job, suggesting that spending 20+ hours a week with dying and grieving people takes more energy than I realize.    Silly man.   With my hospice-influenced mind, I push away worries about silent killers and the dropping of other shoes.  It didn't help that my little sister was sick, very sick, last week.    She and I are both feeling increasingly mortal.   As the kids prepare to go back to school (noooooooo!), I hope to fight back a little by creating a schedule of my own.  Some effort to keep my work away from the rest of my life.    Perhaps, too, just a smidge of exercise and a healthier diet will help give me the energy boost I so badly need.

It was only 90 degrees yesterday, and today is even cooler.    I've harvested several tomatoes this week, and lost a few to an unknown tomato bandit.   Something has taken horse-sized bites out of several of my large tomatoes, and stolen the little cherry tomatoes outright.   It's hard to begrudge them, whomever they are, in this summer of drought.   There's not as much as usual for critters to eat out there.    

I have a riot of herbs in my garden and should thin them out, but the bees are loving them, so I'll leave them until fall.   Not sure yet about the potatoes - I pulled up one plant and found only one walnut-sized potato.     I hope there are more hiding down there - I recently found a potato soup recipe that I'd like to make again!

I found out today that I won a giveaway from Kim at Snug Harbor Bay,  and the prize is a Lightload towel - I can't wait to try this little disk that I can pop in my pocket and open into an absorbent towel when I need it!   Thanks, Kim!

On a more serious note, I sat with several people last week as they took their last breaths, and most went peacefully.   One family, though (and I apologize in advance if this sounds harsh), sitting vigil with their 96-year-old mother, carried on as if they were losing a child.    I was not surprised when her passing was a struggle, as her family refused to accept that she would die and kept calling to her, shaking her, forcing water into her mouth.   They were blind to the distress they were causing her.    Sometimes I feel very helpless in my work.