Sunday, August 18, 2019

Dog Days of August

My goodness, it has been so dry and hot.
My little second graders are getting a workout in our little school garden.  So far, we've managed to keep most of it alive.
A friend from school recently lost her Daddy.  I know that struggle to return to the classroom when your broken heart is somewhere else.  As I watered one night last week, I was spraying and sniping in the little garden bed I made with my Mama in mind.  I was so surprised to see the rose bush blooming. Earlier in the summer that bush was fairly decimated by bugs and a fungus.  I decided I'd make a little bouquet from the biggest bloom (which wasn't really very big) for my friend who loves a wild bouquet as much as I do.  As I clipped and pondered, the song came to me and I begin to sing and weep, feeling very near my Mom in that little spot.

Consider the lillies, they don't toil nor spin, yet there is no King with more splendor than them,
Consider the sparrows, they don't reap or sow, but their heavenly Father is watching them grow.
We have a heavenly Father above, with arms full of mercy and a heart full of love,
He really cares when your head is bowed low, Consider the lillies and then you will know.

Oh my, life.

I sort of despaired of ever getting any flowers from my garden, but slowly I am able now to share some with others, which always delights me.

So, our Blue Eyed Boy turned nine and wanted to fish, so Pap took him to his brother's lake. He caught a lot of fish and really enjoyed himself.

 He ordered hot ham and cheese sandwiches and gummies for lunch. Done and done!

I took this Sunday off from preparing dinner as it was my school's big church picnic.  
I hadn't been very available to Noella between Handy Man's medical crisis and my inflamed sciatica. 
This week our little man turned three, so I picked them up and we went to church and then the picnic.
He's gotten so much more verbal.

 If you look close you will see we are enjoying a chicken dinner.  Except Mr. Smiley who felt the need to have dessert first.  I get that, yes I do.

 Then it was off to play in the duck pond and other fun activities.

So, this week is the test that will tell us what Handy Man's heart repair accomplished.  
He continues to do more bit by bit.
Another card came from a sweet friend this week.  I've so appreciated the way we've been loved through this very rough bump in the road. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

One Down

Handy Man and I both made it to the weekend and was glad to see it come. Handy Man commented that Saturday sure shrunk from the past weeks of Saturdays.
He's glad he was able to go back to work, but due to the need to be on light duty, it isn't the most exciting work he's ever done-inventory.
Here at home, as we prepared for Playdate this afternoon, it seemed so very normal. No, he still can't, or shouldn't be moving around huge things, and needs breaks still for some things, but it is mostly back to him being my right hand. I sure missed that and sure appreciate having it back. Thank you Lord!
We headed up to school first thing in the lovely cool morning yesterday to plant some discarded plants someone donated to our little school garden.  I mentioned that a place in Borden was clearancing their mulch, fifty cents a bag, but I didn't really know where it was or if it would be a big crowded mess.  Handy Man said to give it a go, so off we went. It was actually just past the hour of the sale, but the guy waved us in and we bought a truck load. It was the kind that is over five dollars a bag, so it felt like a steal.  We brought some home and took the rest to school.
My little second graders and I made it to the creek, but we didn't get to gardening. They will be busy spreading mulch on our little garden, which with the edition of the nine plants, isn't so little anymore. That will be their service project to the school this year.
I really enjoy their wide eyed wonder. At this point, they aren't sure if they have a teacher or a magician.  I love that.
Back to the afternoon.  I've taught so many people how to make this bread that I make all the time (I've used about 35 pounds of bread flour this summer), but it seems I'm still the only one who makes it with regularity, until my nephew Jordan.   I didn't know if I had all the bread I needed today, so be brought some to share.

The creek beckons.  

 So many of my wee folk have long since out grown the old dolphin swing, but  it is still quite fun to swing your dolly.

I enjoy these days with family and friends.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Still Going

Handy Man managed work well, but following up work with rehab was fairly wearing, but he did it.
My room is about as ready as it is going to be.  I probably won't be in any better shape than he will be after my first day tomorrow.
This is ever a very melancholy time for me. I so love Playdates and the garden that the transition in the heat of summer to the classroom is always a bit challenging.
I find after school starts that Sundays are hardest, so I decided to change fall Playdates to Sunday for those who could come.  This past Sunday our pastors and our interns from church joined us.  We were having a big time when folks started trickling out.  I realized I hadn't taken a picture. Ack!
I grabbed the camera and caught a few before the last of the bunch left.
We had close to 30.

I am so my mother's child. Give me someone to feed and song to join and I am golden.

Lands, I've become quite a crier this summer. Lots of loss, almost loss, gratefulness.  I have always been a family person, but it seems now more than ever.

These pictures just make me boo hoo.  I just love my sweet girls sitting around picking and singing, just for the joy of it.

And this. Oh my. I had begun to doubt I would ever see Pete smile again.  He just seemed to have a lighter step and bigger smile than I had seen in so very long.  Thank you Lord!

And these two, well they are just cute.

The whole lot of them are cute.

I hear a little rumble of thunder. Please bring some rain.  I love my little gardens, but I am weary of watering.  Guess I better just be glad I have something to water with huh?

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Strange and Fasinating Place

One of the places it dawned on me that we had never been was where they constructed an Ark.  I can't really tell you why.  Somehow I wasn't sure how I felt about that. I'm notorious for not liking conflict, and seems a lot of conflict surrounded the building of it, and I wasn't sure how Biblically it was aligned.  I asked Handy Man if he'd like to see it and he said that he had wanted to. So with our last Visa gift card, we headed east.
I don't really know exactly what I was expecting.  I guess just to pull up in front of something that resembled an Ark, go in, walk about, go home.  Well, not exactly. I knew when I saw the parking lot that this was a lot bigger deal than I had understood.  You walk a ways to buy tickets, another way to wait for a bus, a wiggly way on said bus to a visitor's center and then another walk to the Ark.  It was just so big. I had not planned on that.
It was very impressive to me. If you read the signs, they make it very clear that much of the inside is pure artistic license, though effort was made to base the expression on whatever records there  are of the time and the area. The idea of how they enclosed the animals and fed them and removed waste was intriguing.  A lot of reading. I'm not sure it would be great fun for littles unless you took lots of breaks.  They have a little zoo and a playground, beautiful gardens. Snacks on all three decks. A big restaurant buffet and littler food areas, so I was able to keep the man fed throughout.  I left my camera at home.
I know there are people who want a scientific explanation for everything.  I guess the Ark builders maybe meant to show it could happen and how, and they do a great job.  I don't need a scientific explanation for everything. I absolutely believe in a great source of creativity that I can only admire, but can't really understand.  I'm good with that. Some folks think that means I am stupid.  I'm okay with that too.  
For instance,  one Handy Man who's heart was so bad, so very bad, nearly beyond life in medical respects, who was blessed with a gifted surgeon, who cut away 210 cc's of his heart, and then sewed it up and hoped for the best, but absolutely did not know if it would work and even if the heart worked, would the rest of him survive the damage.  And a cardiologist who never expected him to wake up quickly knowing everyone with no neurological damage and admitted he had no idea what would happen next.    One Handy Man, who after eight weeks, will return to work on Monday.  Yes, he will.  I'm sorry, there isn't enough science out there to explain how a heart can be dramatically reduced and relearn its way.  All the feels people, all the tears too.  Praise God!

Just four months ago, the rug was abruptly jerked out from under us.  Handy Man went from being very independent,  and hard working, to not being able to work and having to rely on me for transportation and other things.  It was a strange dynamic for sure.  We didn't really know if that would ever change.  Now it seems strange that on Monday we'll go our separate ways, our old known ways, but in other ways, forever changed.  Yes, it will be strange.

Moving along, after our Ark Encounter, I gave away a ton of books from our reading being revamped at school.  

While Rae and a friend where perusing the goods, Giddy-Up wanted me to come look at a locust coming out of its shell.  I realized it was probably time, so I turned the camera over to him.  Bean and Bugg have long been using my camera and Giddy-Up was old enough.  He started out a bit unsure, and there were some blurry pictures, but soon he figured it out and he was off.  It was fun to see what he captured.

Friday I returned to work.
Today we went to see three of ours in their drama camp performance. They did a great job.  I was especially surprised to see Buttercup do a solo. So brave and beautiful.

We again were blessed with a pile of delicious tomatoes from Uncle Joe and just finished chopping when Drummer Boy came to mow.  I knew Handy Man had been itching to get in the seat of this Big Dog.  Drummer Boy was very amused at watching him figuring out this new to him piece of machinery.   Very entertaining. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Technology Ugh

Well, my home computer gave it up.  I knew it was coming.  It had been nine years, so a good run, but I so hate new technology.   Even if I loved getting a new computer, this was not a good time.
Having four hundred different user names and passwords makes me want to run screaming in the night.  So often I've found with new appliances and technology, it really doesn't work, at least for my purposes, any better than it did. So, too much money and stress for what?  Ahh, first world problems.

So, my stress level is high anyway with going back to work a reality.  Then, I didn't find out until Sunday that our classrooms were supposed to be ready a week early (yesterday),  and I have a new Interactive Panel in place of my SmartBoard that I do not know the first thing about using, which wouldn't matter if I did, it isn't connected to a thing.  Add to that, another four people in my circle  left us in the past week- another precious grandma, two beloved daddies and a dear sister.  My, my, my, so sad.

Handy Man and I have been busy.  Since losing the life vest and seeing that his heart could manage during the stress test he seems to have come leaps and bounds-praise the Lord!  His been a big help here at home and in my classroom, and in the little school garden we've had to keep watered.  I wanted to do a couple of fun things and I had two gift cards that were the Visa kind that could be used on anything, so last week we went to an elephant encounter.
 When it comes to beasties, my first loves are my SamWise and my chickie girls, but after that it is gorillas.  I would probably be one of those kind of people that go off and live with the gorillas. Those mountain gorillas have my heart, though hot flashes might have sent me running back to civilization, I just got to tell you. After I'd read about everything written about gorillas, I moved on to to elephants, which just blow me away with their strength and intelligence.  Soooo, I might could be persuaded to go live with elephants as well.  Since I can't, I was interested in this encounter.
I have a lot of mixed emotions about animals in captivity.  I would prefer they weren't.  However, I am well read on the way elephants are used for labor in other countries as well as the slaughter for ivory.  This hunk of love Lou, has excellent care and ten acres to roam with companions, so not a bad deal.  I just loved her. I could not help myself.

 She gets a bath every day with special soap to keep her skin healthy.
 Handy Man commented that he never expected to give an elephant a bath.

She's actually hairy all over, but it is hard to see until you get close.  We were with her for two hours and it was so fun to watch all the ways she uses that amazing trunk and to learn about her life.

After her bath, she gets let out to roam and eat and do whatever elephants do with her buds, Pancho and Lefty.
I love flowers about as much as beasties. The ones Rae grew are so long lasting. Some of these flowers were almost two weeks cut.
 I worked a lot in classroom these past few days and had some great help from friends that I so appreciated.
On Saturday there was a free bluegrass concert in the square in Corydon.  We went out with Aunt Tish, had a great time and returned and enjoyed some leftovers for supper.

Ol' Mother Hubbard invited us out for dinner on Sunday.  Ol' Henry had volunteered as a mentor for a young man at camp, which was closer to me than to her, so after church I rode out and picked him up.  It was hot and I knew he was tired, so we stopped and got a big drink!  I'm proud of him.

 It was back to work on Monday, most all of the day before I went to wish Bean a very happy 15th birthday.  How did that happen?  It was good to see Ceece's Mom and Handy Man in a different setting than the hospital. Can I hear an "Amen."

A long, long time ago, about 27 years by my recollection, the Lord gifted me with a youth minister who helped make life with three teenagers doable. I had no idea  she would also turn out to be such a good friend of mine.  She wanted us to do a little road trip before I returned to school, so today I got to show her around my most favorite little town, New Harmony.  Not only was the weather great, but there were those huge, delicious, multi-layered puff clouds.  It was simply perfect and I so appreciate it.
 Speaking of appreciation, another anonymous card came with more groceries.  Tears come again.  I hope the person knows that Handy Man is just incredulous and I am grateful.  Tomorrow we should find out about work, so hopefully soon there will be no need and before long we can do some bestowing gifts, though I've tried to supply lots of love and thanks through bread and cinnamon rolls.
It reminds me of the old Johnny Appleseed song. Do you know it?
Oh the Lord's been good to me and so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need, the sun and the moon and the apple tree,
(healing, helping hands, groceries)
Oh the Lord's been good to me!  He has.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My New Ride

Somehow I've been busy as bee all day everyday this week.  I am plumb tuckered.
Yesterday Handy Man went to the River with the Captain with the intent of skippering the boat with his sidekick Gilligan, I mean Bean, whilst the Captain whacked weeds and cut the grass.  Apparently, someone had something somewhere in the way and wouldn't move it, so the Skipper part didn't happen.  I sent the camera to document the day.

So there you have it.  A day on the river.

This morning I  went to my friend's grandmother's funeral mass. I was a reader.  I always love to read scripture.  I took a few things into school and met the teacher who will be taking over 5th grade,-nice gal.  Then I hurried home because Handy Man could hardly wait to get his truck.
This was his last time to be cast as the rider in our 90 days of Driving Mr. Handy Man.

Drummer Boy detailed the truck and kept it here, out of harm's way, at his business till we needed it. 

 Happy Day for the Handy Man

Next, we ran to town to check on Rae's garden, water a bit and gather some vegies. 

I just love their little yard all blooming with goodness. 

Next stop was Aunt Tish's where Uncle Joe brought home the corn.  Back home to fry some for Drummer Boy and family. Then Handy Man and I headed to school to plant some recent clearance finds from Lowe's.  And I am just about past going.  Whew.  
Thank the Lord for these beautiful days. I so love cool mornings.  

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Big Surprise

Not only did Handy Man pass his stress test, in a very unexpected turn of events, he lost the life vest as well. It did not seem like that was any kind of possibility at the last cardiologist appointment.
He's stayed in perfect rhythm throughout the test, praise God! 
 I suppose I don't need to tell you that he is thrilled.  89 days with being poked in the back and ribs and wagging around that battery pack, unable to drive, etc. was long.  His first trip in the truck under his own steam will likely be akin to getting your driver's license or your first car.  
As is usual for me, I have a hosts of mixed emotions.  Grateful the surgery appears to have been successful ranks highest. 
  A bit of, "Are you absolutely, emphatically certain he is safe?" 
 And generally, a complete paradigm shift , emotionally and otherwise.  I have not had one thought in 89 days that I didn't  run through the "What about Handy Man?  Will he be able to do......, Will he be alone too much...." and on and on and on.  As my return to school grew closer, my anxiety ramped accordingly about him being alone and unable to drive, about missing work for appointments, about his work.  Oh my.  
So, he begins cardiac rehab next week and depending on how that goes and if work decides he can return on light duty, well, we'll see what happens.
It is still a bit of a fine balance.  In one respect, his healing has been miraculous. In another respect, he has a long way to go to feeling like he once did. Part of that is the doc's keeping his bp and heart rate so low.  You just aren't going to feel that great.  So, still going slow, but thank the Lord, going, going, going.
This week we'll work on walking a little farther and longer each day.  
So happy for a bit of a break in the heat.
We had a busy weekend.  A friend gifted us with tickets to Ring of Fire on Saturday.  Then we went to a restaurant with a gift card from earlier.  Lastly, since the restaurant was close to Trader Joe's, we checked out low salt options.
Yesterday, after church we chopped vegies for all sorts of deliciousness- cucumbers and onions, fried sweet corn, salsa and more, so yummy.
I had some food to deliver as two more dear friends lost loved ones this week.  I believe since July 10 last year, me or my people have lost 17 mamas or papas or friends or grannies.  Awful.
I stop and consider how close we came to adding to that number.  I don't have any words.