Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Uncle Jimi

Oh dear, that old fatigue, a hateful guest.  I did not mean to post this without words, in fact, did not think I did, but I clicked and there they were.
Uncle Jimi has been in intensive care since Monday, with a host fighting for his life.
Somehow he grew a potassium level of 10.  With the norm being 3.5 to 5, he took it upon himself to astound a great deal of medical staff, none of which has ever seen such levels. This astronomical anomaly resulted in heart failure, not once, but three times.

They've managed to lower the levels, but now can't seem to manage blood pressure and are not finding success in getting him off the vent.

This feels like deja-vu.
Kaye had a Pete. Jimi doesn't have a mate.  Tish has been giving full support to his care and his boys, siblings, and many nieces and nephews are circling the wagons.

I took this picture to hang up in his room.  I guess I don't want anyone to forget there is a person inside of that severely sedated patient.

We've again, with another sibling, been thrown into the deep dark woods.  Just looking for a clearing, even if for only awhile.  I would be grateful for your prayers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

So are the Dates of Our Lives

Friday evening brought an end to Round One of the Papperly Chronicles.  Ol' Henry, as the oldest in his little clan, was the last to enjoy a personal date night. I wondered most about this one.  His dad's family has a farm, so lots of run and play space and animal care are a fixture in his life already.  He's been enamored with tractors since he popped out.  As for me, I have barely an ounce of vehicle expertise. I might, though I'm not promising, be able to tell you the difference in a truck and a tractor, but that's as far as it goes.  They work with a key and it's all magic.  He, on the other hand, can tell you every last thing you might need to know to go to work manufacturing them.  My arts and crafts expertise has never much impressed or interested him.
Actually, he was the most vocally and physically (much hopping about ) excited one of all.  We began with tinder collecting and an explanation of what worked well and how we would use it.
 With part of our tinder, we created our fuel for the bee smoker and suited up for a little bee exploration.  It is a perfect time of year to share with children.
 Since this frustrating hive flew the coop, I could easily show him examples of everything and he is an apt pupil.

 As always, a little chicken tending must be done and he was happy to be of help.
 After the work part, a little Cinderella snuggle was in order.

 With bees and chicks seen to, we moved on to his second wish, a science experiment.  Seems I lean to the solvent, mixture, state of matter sort of thing. Whoa, I look very scary here.  It was a long week at school.   Here, a mixture of peroxide and Dawn, with some yeast thrown in as a catalyst creates an exothermic reaction which he could feel and see.  Way cool I'm telling ya.

 Next, time to start a fire.  Like his sister he thought he ought to let me know that this was a no, no.  It's hard to explain how doing something one on one with an adult (making fire) is a different story than playing with fire around other kids.  He enjoyed his success, as we all did.  The night was growing cooler.
 He wanted ravioli, so we heated it in pie irons, but he also enjoyed a hot dog and baked beans.
 When we'd had enough fire play, we headed to the sacred woodshop. His first comment, "Wow, I don't think I've ever been in here before."  Again, he was very interested in all the working parts.
 I suppose you've figured out that child development fascinates me.  I found it interesting, that while every last one was perfectly behaved and stayed with it till the end, the boys attention would wander a bit, while the girls never did.
Here he is applying the bee's wax we pinched off the comb.
 Next, the magical steel wool.
 Though candle making is a craft, he was into it and very proud and happy with his final product.
He told me I was a great aunt, actually, maybe the best aunt anywhere. "In fact, " he said, " I think of you more as a grandmother figure."  Sweet boy! That made me smile, especially since I've long since referred to them as my grandchildren.  Of course, as life goes, it also made me sad. Kaye would not have done the type of things with them that I do, but she would have spoiled them and they would have known they were much adored by her.  I always tell them about her when it seems appropriate.  Always I miss her, but this time of year she is more gone than usual.
Ol' Henry has a friend who is passionate about bugs. He came over this afternoon and we suited up for another bee tour. 

Yesterday I entertained Rae's boys, so this evening is just a little resting time. 

After big classroom experiences, I always have my students reflect in a journal.  In reflection of our dates I can say I loved my time one on one with them. I wouldn't trade one laugh, one "ah, ha" moment, one captured picture. Well, that scary one of me I could without.  I can also say that I certainly understand grandparents who take their grands to a movie or the zoo for a date, especially when I have a daytime class that expects me to earn that paycheck.  It's a bit of a challenge to be "on" all day, and then all evening too. 
Sometimes I have a bit of regret that I've created a sort of Disney World at Gramerly's.  I mean, seldom is there any just visiting, it is always doing.  They don't just come and hang-out.  These dates,  I imagine, will only increase that expectation.  But, overdoing is my disease, so be it.
I'm so very thankful that not so much as a band-aid was required with all that fire starting, sawing and exothermic reactions abounding. Thank you sweet Lord!
And my side-kick, I've really never experienced him enjoying the wee ones as much as he seemed to throughout these dates.  Watching him with them was a little compounded joy.
So, contented is what I feel and that is a precious feeling indeed.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Playdates are Still Happening

In trying to store all the special date nights in the archives, I've neglected a few Playdates.  We have a wild time around these parts I'm telling you.
We still had no new shipment of beef and the neighbor, God love him, told Handy Man he'd get him a deer.  Handy Man said, "That would be great, but get what you want first."  Said neighbor texted Handy Man on Monday and said to procure a license ASAP, which involved me, since it involved a computer and printer, then the meat man called and said he was bringing the beef, then 1st Lt. had to be called because we don't know beans about dressing a deer, anyway, and the meat man came with the beef. Monday was wild.  1st Lt. returned on Playdate night to grind the venison and, as stated above, Playdate is always wild.
At Playdate, 1st Lt had his trusty sidekick to help.  Bean throughly enjoyed his fall break trip ocean fishing and catching lots of fish with Oma and Opa.  So happy that it turned out well.  Last year's trip was cut short and Oma ended up in the hospital and has just had one tough ol' time of it. This year was ever so much better.

 We do things right at Cluckingham Palace.  Eggs are gathered by a beautiful princess in a hiked up ball gown and to the tune of a harmonica.
 Chicken back rides (Giddy-up's term instead of piggy-back) are a sporting event.
 There are still a few flowers in the garden. Missy Bugg gathered and arranged them. So lovely.
 Giddy-up need some jeep time, but it was getting cool, so I grabbed whatever I could easily to protect Mr. Smiley's ears and hands.  He loves, loves, loves watching his brother's antics.  Plus he was full of a nectarine he'd been gnawing on for a half hour- cutest punkin'.
 Then  this afternoon, I wondered how a picture of the eclipse would turn out.  Now I know.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Not Quite the Papperly Chronicles Caboose

But almost. Moving to the end of many dates Pap and I have had with our peeps this past month.  I picked up Antebellie at 2:00 and we had a lovely afternoon and evening on one of the most beautiful fall days there could be.
I've learned some things from our big dates.   One, I do know them quite well, even though I usually see them as a herd, so I was very able to tailor their date to their personalities.  Two, with the older ones especially, I did find that with several hours with just two of us, I got a much closer look at them.  I just don't think there is any substitute for quality time.  It leaves me grateful for such times and of course somewhat melancholy that there isn't enough of me to go around for many of these personal dates.

On Antebellie's list was cooking on a fire, sewing, fishing and a science experiment.  But with siblings coming home with of tales of Pap's workshop, she was willing to put the science on hold.
Handy Man  had to work late every day, so we began with her fairy dolls.  Since sewing was on her list, we sewed their colorful gowns instead of using petals.
I happened upon some new fabric markers for her to create her own pattern.  She had chosen two wood peg dolls, and she had already chosen other fabric for their gowns.  I asked did she want a third peg doll?  This little dearie is a processor.  You can see her mind working.  I suspected she was working out a situation where she would have three dolls and her sister only two.  After a bit, she said she thought she'd like this gown to be an extra for the two dolls she had.

I wanted her have some woodburner experience before trying her dolls faces, so she practiced a bit.
 May I introduce Arabella and Molly.  So. Stinkin'. Cute.
 We talked alot about her excellent talent in art.  She said she preferred sketching to painting.  She wanted to paint, but just didn't feel she was too good at it.  I asked her how much time did she spend drawing, versus painting.  That cleared up the matter pretty quickly.  I asked if she'd ever used watercolor pencils-she hadn't.  I think they give you the best of  both worlds.  I got mine and we packed up and moved outside for our next date experience.
While I got things ready, she drew.

Then she used water to soften some of the color. What, a tree that isn't a lollipop?  No big yellow sun with rays in the corner? Ground that isn't level and a sky that touches the earth, with no direction from me?  Be still my heart.

She shared with me that she was finding some frustration in her art not looking exactly like she wanted it to.  Ahhh, familiar territory for me.  I shared with her that her ability to see was growing up faster than her ability to sketch, but not to give up, she'd get there if she kept practicing.
She's reading Little House in the Big Woods, so we talked a lot about Laura and the value of fires in that day and time.  When she realized she was actually going to give fire starting a whirl, she exclaimed, "My mom is going to kill you."

Chicken tacos, okay, so I bought taco shells.
"Umm," said the girl, "Do you have any soft tacos?
" Would you prefer tortilla shells?"
 "Well, it doesn't really matter, but I have these teeth falling out all over the place and they are easier to chew."

Time for a break and some fire cooked supper and a sigh, "You are just spoiling me rotten."
We had supper ready for Pap and then they were off. Pap was amazed at her independence.  Anyone who baits their own hook is a keeper in his book.

I'll not entertain you with more pictures of the same sawing you've seen over the last several posts, but they were again put to good use, as she fashioned her butterfly fairy house. Land's, she looks fourteen in this picture.

Didn't I just take this picture yesterday of my own little garden fairies?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Entertainment Continues

Okay, I've lost count of which date night this is.  After being entertained all weekend, we had one more night of smile and laughs with Miss Linee.
Since I hadn't been to  the grocery and Handy Man isn't crazy about spaghetti, after picking her up, we stopped at Spaghetti Shop and picked up her ordered supper. Are you proud of me.  That is just something I would usually never do. I must be getting old.  She didn't seem to miss my cooking.
This child never stops talking and she is just so funny.
Her Grandad has a farm and sheep.  She asked if I had learned of the terrible farm event.  I said that I had heard it mentioned.  She responded, "Well, I'll tell you the story. Well, what I know of it." And she did, with much emphasis.
Charlie Gladheart gave my grandad a ram.  It just attacked grandad and hurt his leg and it bled and we called an ambulance and he had to get stitches.  Now, here's the bad part, he is OLD. My Aunt Glenda already takes care of my gram and now she's taking care of Grandad, and I just hope he can walk again and be okay.And, well I said something I shouldn't say, but just to my dad, but I'm going to tell you too- I hate that ram.

I don't blame you little Linee, that was a scary scene for you to witness, especially from critters you've only known as gentle.

Poor Pap had to work late, so we ventured into the woodshop for the saw. I thought I could remember what we used with Bugg and could at least have the limb cut for the supports. You would think they are entering a great temple of some sort.  Every kid walks in slow, holding their breath, in awe of being in the "forbidden place."  So fun.
In addition to being known for being Miss Personality, I also know her to be just a bit, ahem,  impulsive, so Linee and saws caused me a bit of angst.
I was hyper alert and we made it through the date with no bloodshed. Thank you Jesus!

Next, time to take care of the critters.  I told her she must have brought us good luck, because that was a record number of eggs in a very long time.

We grabbed some supplies and headed to the tree fort for a little autumn art.  Any of this sound familiar-ha! She told me, "I love nature, it is so precious."  Indeed.

She wanted to learn new Jesus songs on the guitar.  Ugh, well I had to confess that I really was not the person to teach her a song on the guitar.  "That's okay," says she, "I'll teach you."  Well then.  I did tell her I could teach her the song her Granny loved and teach her to sign, "You are My King."  She was satisfied, so we sang all evening.

As we prepared to do the art, she reminded me that she wasn't the artist in Ol' Mother Hubbard's cupboard- that was Antebellie.  I told her you didn't have to be great at art to enjoy it and I thought we'd enjoy doing art together.  She said, "Okay, maybe you can teach Antebellie to sing."  Oh lands, those times when you fight everything in you to not bust out in giggles.

She also ordered reading together, for which I am ever happy to oblige.  We chose Ms. Gardner E's gift of Flicka, Ricka and Dicka and the Big Red Hen.  There is an old Swedish Auntie in the book, so when I read her part, I tried to do an old Swedish accent.  Actually, I have no idea what an old Swedish woman might sound like, but Linee, she was impressed.  When I noted that a paragraph had first grade vocabulary, I pointed to her to read.  Well, one of those lines was the old auntie. She didn't miss a beat, but did her best imiation of me and cracked herself up, which in turn caused me to laugh.  She then said, "Well, I'm doing my best."  "Girl," said I, "I'm not laughing at your accent, I'm laughing at you laughing."  So, we laughed some more.  We love that book.

Finally, time to fix Pap some supper.  She successfully washed and cracked all nine eggs for the fritatta.

  I spilled some onion peel on the floor and she exclaimed, "How about we clean this place up for a change?"  More suppression of giggles.  Ahh sweet girl, if you only knew-cleaning takes place often, but obviously, not so anyone would notice.

Pap was impressed with her culinary skills and she enjoyed her spaghetti.
 It was off to the fishing hole.

Pappy reported that casting was the joy of the trip. She didn't leave the line in the water long enough to catch anything. This did not surprise me.

Now to the woodshop to create a tiny fairy fort.

She too, was fairly intrigued with the whole procedure and wanted to help with everything.

Then back inside for speedy fairy doll creations.

I had hoped to hot glue a hat and flower petal skirt, with leaves for wings.  Miss Linee had a very different idea.  These particular fairies would need to change hats and outfits often, so no gluing on hats, which meant they needed hair (back upstairs). I told her I wasn't sure how the wings would hold up, changing petal dresses all the time.  Pap saved the day by suggesting the obvious- put wings on the petal dresses.  That Pap is a genius.

Riiiiiinnnnnnngggggggg.  I knew who that was before the weird voice announced the caller.  Ol' Mother Hubbard was calling to tell me to get that little missy home.  Whoops.  Just call me Auntie Mame.  Two minutes for two more outfits and we were on our way.  A good time was had by all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Damp Musical Adventure

Again this fall, Handy Man and I ventured south to the Museum of Appalachia's Homecoming in Tennessee.  This time we brought Tish and SuZQ along.  I seem to recall some bits of sunshine that fought the gray woolly skies for a tiny shaft to shoot a few rays through, but it was rare.  Mostly, it was mud and drizzle, but manageable.  We enjoyed it.
We stopped in Corbin to have lunch with a beloved cousin, our quilter  Debbee.  And she had such a lovely surprise. A toasty warm quilt for each of us.
 If predictions of another bitterly cold winter  are true, this bad boy will be a constant companion.  I love it!

If you've never been to this festival, it is kind of hard to explain.  The rain interrupted the the flow of musicians rather drastically on Friday, but folks were braver on Saturday and Sunday.  Anywhoo, this guy, John Rice Irwin. travelled all over Appalachia, taking anything anyone would part with, including an entire post office, multiple cabins, a sawmill, etc.
 He has them set around (cabins and such) in a green hilly area,  kind of like a little village, with a couple of big buildings that hold the small treasures. In addition to musical groups, there are folks making beans and cider over open fires, demonstrating weaving, spinning, cedar shingle making, and on and on.

You might discover that one of the treasures was donated by your Dad's brother- weird.

A donkey, mule, a few sheep, goats, chickens and ducks are thrown in for a little farming community ambiance.
So, there  are scheduled groups who appear on three stages, but in fine weather, there is some little group picking around every corner you turn from five year olds to 80 year olds.

This is a Dad and his four boys.  Many groups are families.
 This is Cowboy Copas' daughter.  If he had lived he'd be nearly one hundred, so she's pushing eighty.
Then, the autoharp and dulcimer society, might be camping out at your very own hotel and spend the after hours serenading you in the lobby.

Or you might go to the local Golden Girls restaurant, and a whole group of musicians on guitar, Dobro, violin, bass, mandolin and banjo, again the youngest and quite accomplished eleven year old fiddler, to the seventy something grandpa, set up right beside you and  provide entertainment for another hour.

This very place is the very reason I came to own both a guitar and a dulcimer that I still can't play Mary Had a Little Lamb on.  Ahem, well, maybe next year.

And, as always, grateful to go, grateful to return safely, grateful for the nephew who tends my critters whilst I'm away.  Thank you Lord!