Saturday, October 31, 2015


I'm still not caught up from Fall Break, so we'll fall back a couple of weeks. Good day for it as we fall back this evening and gain an hour.  I love that in the morning, but dislike it immensely in the evening. Oh well.
While still on break I had to opportunity to visit Giddy-Up's preschool.  Good minds think alike.  In my dream of my own school, I wouldn't separate kids by ages and on the first day of the school week, everyone would be welcome to the morning learning.  Mamas and their babies at whatever stage, right up to whichever ones were oldest.  In this little school, that's what happens.  It is definitely more of an age appropriate playdate, than what resembles traditional schooling.  The purpose of the school is to encourage and guide the mamas (though I am sure papas are welcome, there were not any that day) in ways to facilitate their own children's learning.
He goes two days a week and Rae and Mr. Smiley come as well.  There are classrooms off of a gymnasium.
They do sit on a circle, have a song and a story, then are free to discover and play in centers based on the theme of the day, have a snack, sweep, wipe and vacuum, then free gym time, followed by one more story before the morning school ends. As the morning goes along, the teacher narrates what she is doing, why and how it applies to their development.
My little Giddy-Up is such a great listener.  He sits close, listens and responds to the teacher.  That boy loves a good story.
 It was my delight to chase Mr. Smiley and let Rae help Giddy-up make his playdough in fall colors with yummy smells of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Of course this little smarty pants wanted his turn to play in the flour.

 Mr. Smiley is such a thinker, he just amazes me.  There was a lamp that he couldn't turn on, so he immediately looks under the table for the cord, tracks it down to the plug, finds a plug and tries to plug it in. He is ever trying to figure out how everything works.
He went over this little truck with a fine toothed comb until he found the wee black buttons that produced lights and sound.  Look at that cutest Face of Discovery.

He is developing a huge vocabulary and making sentences. When you change him, he takes the diaper to the trash. When he wants a drink, he gets it out of the diaper bag and when he's done, he puts it back.

 It takes a lot of snacks to fuel those growing brains.

 A fall walk produced lots of interesting objects to examine with a magnifying glass.

Both boys find this skeleton man intriguing.

Though he loves to play and discover, he's not fond of being too far from Mama.  A big squeeze in the middle of play is just the ticket.

What toddler can resist and entire gym to run and run?

 Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.  I love all the beautiful skin tones found in this little preschool.  So glad I was able to be a part of their morning.

We've been up to lots of fallish activities that will come later.

After my last blog post, I received an e-mail from Aunt SuZQ asking when I had taken that picture of Baby Boy and Glenda.  Huh?  I didn't remember taking a picture of Baby Boy and Glenda.  I went back to the blog and enlarged the picture and saw the image that about caused her to have a heart attack.
I think Linee and Baby Boy were thrilled to get to sit at the bar by themselves.  Ol' Mother Hubbard and I slid into a booth and my back was to the wee folk, but I grabbed the camera, turned and had them smile and snapped. I had not seen Ol' Mother Hubbard in a bit and since the kidlets were content, we were busy catching up.  By the time we left, whomever was seated by them had left.
I posted hurriedly that evening and never even really looked close at the pictures.
Well, let me say, I've looked close many times since and it looks for the world like my sister is sitting right beside her Baby Boy- same size, same hair on head, same profile,  and same position of her right arm in front of her mouth that I have seen one thousand times. It looks exactly like she's sitting there, in her favored place to eat, on her 64th birthday, just having some brunch.  People, what are the chances of such an occurrence?  Wow!
So, I leave you with that and hope you enjoy whatever frivolity you  might be up to this evening.  Be safe and enjoy. I always love seeing my week folk in their get-ups.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Where Will I Shelter My Sheep Tonight

Happy Birthday my sister girl.  We're missing you here.  I decided before fall break that it might be best for me to just not try being at school and keeping myself together today, but when I checked the calendar, it revealed that my children were up for mass today.  I have such a hard time being out of class anyway, but leaving them with mass and a sub is just too much.
Every mass, we sing and sign after Communion. It's my fifth grade thing.  I was trying to decide on a song when the custodian and I were chatting about music being such an important part of our growing up.  He told me he seldom saw his own Mom, but she sang like Patsy Cline.  Well, of course you came to mind and I brought your CD for him to listen to.  As I expected, he was mighty impressed.  That's when it came to me to do that old song, "Where Will I Shelter My Sheep Tonight " that you sang so beautifully for so long. You always hoped we'd be able to get the littles in one place long enough for me to teach them to sign. You loved the signing.  We never made that happen, but I did think I could make it happen on your birthday with my students.
There was a problem though with the CD made for your service.  The song was clipped at then end and went right into you singing "Just Call me Angel of Morning."  I knew I couldn't get to the CD player to turn it off in time and well, that song is just not appropriate for mass.  I did get a good laugh out of that and thought how much I  wished I could call and tell you about my mindful ramblings, because I knew you'd laugh too.  I tried to find someone else singing it, but it was a bit too twangy for my taste.
I thought to call Laurie-Lou and she was able to copy me a CD without the morning angel elbowing her way in.
I asked for two weeks for a parent to be there to video, but no one took me up on the offer. I had hoped to be able to show it to Mom.  Interestingly (God incident), a videographer  was there creating a marketing piece about the school.  I asked if I could get a copy of that part and he said he'd be happy to do that.  Thank you Lord.
So girl, you sang in mass today and my sweet kidlets signed and took the song so seriously.
Ol' Mother Hubbard brought Linee and Baby Boy and then we went to the Waffle House.

I remembered you telling me about being there once and Willie Nelson walking in.  Wow.
I remember you all the time. Rae sent me a beautiful card with a songbird on the front. I miss our songbird.   I'm so appreciative of those who remember.
Girl, it's been a long road.
You left some mighty big shoes to fill.
Aunt Tish is giving it her all.
I love you Auntie GLou.
Happy Birthday

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Falling Into the Festival

Where Mom is living has a Fall Festival.  Of course, we wanted to show our support. So I donated six pans of cinnamon rolls and two loaves of bread to the Cake Walk.  Miss Bugg got all gussied up and we went about 2:30 and wheeled Mom all around until about 7.
Upon arriving, I took Bugg to see Butch's door, that has all manner of spooky stuff, including a hand that squeezes a heart as you walk by.  She was thrilled.  Butch came by about that time and took us in to show us several more spooky contraptions.
 The animal shelter had pets at the Festival and Bugg and Mom enjoyed this little fellow.
 In addition to the donation, we paid dollar after dollar till Bugg finally won a cake. Sadly, all the cinnamon rolls were gone.  That girl can eat some cinnamon rolls now
 My little spider princess has been transformed into a clown.
 They had a haunted hayride and I was torn about what to do as Bugg wanted to go and I didn't want her to go by herself, nor did I want to leave Mom sitting by herself.  I love when the Cavalry arrives in the nick of time.  Mom's good friend Laura and her daughter and grandson came and her daughter kindly offered to accompany Bugg.
 Bugg has been pestering her Mom to visit a Haunted House.  Well, the Haunted Hayride was a bit scary for her, so don't know if she'll be quite as excited about a Haunted House.  Poor Cassie didn't know she'd have two kids in her lap before the ride was over.
When we returned Mom to her apartment, Bugg and I ran by her house to check on the workers.  Aunt SuZQ, Gwanfader and the Cpt. were busy painting.
Mom just isn't having the easiest time.  She's long had trouble with her knees.  She's worn a multiplicity of braces, had many shots and, well, whatever she could do.  For someone in her shape, everything in this new place is far. She needs a scooter, but she still has to have xrays again, then go to the ortho guy again, then submit all of that, only to likely have it denied we're told and have to do it all again in six months.  Why oh why do they make it so hard.  Last night was her first, since she moved two weeks ago, to stay by herself.  She lived through it.  Tomorrow night I'll take her supper and it's bath night.  I surely hope things get easier.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Falling into Break

Monday was our fall Playdate over my break. We didn't get to have a bonfire earlier in the year, so Monday was the day.
Our population was low, as Bean was on the beach somewhere with friends, Ms. Glitzy and Gwanfader had other obligations.  We did add a couple of new ones later in the day-friends of Ol' Mother Hubbard.
I had forgotten something and had to make a run to the grocery that morning.  When I returned, I found this cutest bug in my yard.
 I have a drive that goes the length of the yard before you turn into the parking area.  I stopped to talk to this cutest honeybee and when I continued on into the drive, I broke his little heart.  He eventually forgave me and we spent sometime playing in cornstarch while the chickie girls looked on.
 The day was glorious, well for the most part and the breeze kept those annoying mosquitoes at bay- hurrah?  Giddy-Up's animals needed some treatment.
 Next to arrive was Missy Bugg and Giddy-Up wasted no time in turning his doctor care to her. She was well bandaged to face the day.
 Ol' Mother Hubbard arrived and play began in earnest. They are all still attracted to this broken down swing set.

On my way to grocery that morning, I made a stop at Dollar Tree and grabbed some face paints.  Very scary children filled my yard.

As Ol' Henry's friend didn't arrive until later in the afternoon, I enlisted his help planting the hydrangeas I moved from Mom's last Sunday. We chatted about all things farm while we worked.
When his friend got there, they gathered tinder and we started the fire. By this time we had some hungry goblins.
 We'd moved on to to marshmallows when huge black clouds encroached on our parade.  Suddenly huge rain drops were falling and we were grabbing and running.  Too late, we were all soaked, so the goblins moved on to water play.

 The animals still have to be fed, so Pap called all feeders and headed to Cluckingham Palace to gather eggs.

It was a big fun time!  Can I say I love me some fall break.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Starve Hollow

Handy Man was on vacation with me last week.  I felt terrible that all his vacation this year has been trying to hold me up through loss, decision making, caring for Mom and cleaning.  Though we moved Mom on his first Saturday off, and immediately began the "What Remains" cleaning, I could not let that glorious weather go.  I was looking for somewhere we could run to for a day or two.  A friend at work mentioned Starve Hollow and since it was only an hour away and the forecast last Tuesday was amazing, away we ran.
 These tiny cabins are so seriously cute and perfect for us.
 A hefty dose of woods and sunshine was exactly what we needed.
We arrived at 3 on Tuesday and, thank you very much, I started the fire with one match and kept it going till we left at noon on Thursday!
 Since I was designated fire tender, I would read, feed the fire, read, putz around the woods for more limbs to keep the fire going, photograph some little beauties when I came across them.

 Handy Man would read, feed the fish, read.
 I also cooked all the meals, a switch when we're camping actually. I plan and pack, but usually he cooks.  I wanted him do do mostly nothing for this little spot in the road. I very much wanted to say, "Thank You," for how good he's loved me this summer.  It was perfect.

Friday, October 9, 2015

And the Beat Goes On

So we called in all the forces and made quick work of moving Mom into her new space. Always helps to provide sausage, biscuits and gravy.
 We don't know how long she'll stay in that apartment. It is a two bedroom, which was all that was available.  When a one bedroom opens up, we'll be moving her again.
 A neighbor stopped by with Tweety Bird on his shoulder, by far the thing that has impressed Mom the most in these new digs.
SuZQ, Tish and I scurried around like deranged squirrels getting it all up and going. We did our best to make things as much like normal as possible.  Jordan hooked her up with her favorite television minister and the cable guy got her phone working. She gets to keep the number that she's had all my life ( I might have, sort of threatened that cutest cable boy with some hell fire and damnation if he didn't make that happen, maybe).
I spent Sunday day and Sunday night.  I helped serve communion at Vespers and met Jeanine, Virginia, Barbara, Joanne, Lillie, Jane, Irvin, Butch and Kaye so far.
As is often the case, we want something for Mom that Mom isn't interested in- making friends, having a life.
Today, Handy Man and I headed back to her house to continue what I've been doing since June, sorting and storing.  It is a depressing job going through someone else's things. Trying to determine what will have value to someone. Bleah.
In the middle of sorting we got a phone call that when she pushed the button on her lift chair, it started smoking. Oh, my, that is never good.  I hurriedly straightened my sorting mess whilst Handy Man went through ever drawer with anything left in it seeking tools and off we dashed.  Interestingly, a maintenance man was in the elevator and said there was an empty apartment somewhere with nothing but a chair, and if we couldn't get it fixed to talk to the nurse and he'd try to check on the other chair.  
Hmm, just a chair, sitting in an empty apartment, doesn't leave much to the imagination about said chair's owner.  Bleah.
Well, the remote was burned up with my mother reclined in the chair- are you kidding me. Add to the fun, she has a UTI and needed out of the chair, pronto.  Handy Man, you are my hero.  So, it can't be fixed, so I hightail it to the nurse who is completely exasperated along with Aunt Tish, as they've been trying since yesterday to reach the doc about the UTI, and the nurse tells me she's been working at this all day and has never even laid eyes on my Mom, doesn't even know who she is, though she has her room number down pat.  Turns out she doesn't know the maintenance man either.  What?
Listen, the cardinal rule of a teacher is that you immediately find out who the person who fixes things in the school is and make him your friend, if you know what is good for you.  I've been bringing yummy treats to the fixer in our school for ten years, until he retired.  I sent the current one, even though he's just a sub, on his way on fall break with a favorite CD.  It is just the smart thing to do.
So, Handy Man and I dash out to medical supply places and at the first one this little sweetie tells me that it can be ordered but it takes two to three weeks.  At this point I'm past not having fun, I'm a bit testy and reply, "Why in the world would it take two to three weeks to get a part for something that allows a frail, elderly person  to get up out of her chair?"  "Well," she replies, "They don't care, they already have your money."  Bleah.  
So the next place tells us Monday, which sounds infinitely better than two to three weeks, but not the answer I wanted either.  Bleah.   In the meantime, Miss Nursey must have located the mysterious maintenance man, or not, as what she tells us is that he has gone home.  No one else in the building has a clue as to the whereabouts of this chair. Bleah.  And, still no word from the doctor.
So glad we've moved her somewhere safe and secure, where she will get good care. Well, not right now I'm not. Perhaps we'll get there.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

In Search of the Holy Grail

Aging is not for the fainthearted I've heard say.  Well,  the same can be said for finding a safe and comfortable home for the aged.

Since receiving the awful news about what was actually happening with my sister in June, the next question on our mind and hearts was what would happen with Mom. Two weeks out, I started visiting places and put her name on a waiting list.
There is not room here to share all the many facets we've had to consider.  Mother is mobile, but frail and has poor eye sight.  My mother, for most of my life, was a whirring dervish. She worked a hard job in a cigarette factory, raised seven kids, cared for my father 29 years post aneurysm, cared for both of her parents and then took on two grandchildren to raise as well. She never was a joiner. She didn't  do bridge or bunco, shopping or concerts. She raised a garden, fed her family and every other person who would sit down at her table or take a to-go bag.  After the stroke and Kaye's death, she sat down in her chair and only gets up to go smoke.  Ahhh, the smoking, and the fact that all day long she watches one television evangelist, added to the fact that we work all day, made bringing her home with us a challenge.
We've been blessed by someone else's hard place.  A woman who needed work of sitting with and doing exactly what Mom needs was available and has joined us in her care these months, for a most ridiculously low cost. Thank you Lord!  Still, there are not funds to pay to run her house and her care.  In addition, the caretaker's situation could change, leaving us with no one.  Mom would've faced down a lion over something important to her, but has never wanted to live alone. It never occurred to her she would have to consider it. She knew GLou would care for her all her life.  Did you know that round the clock sitters cost 4 to 7 thousand dollars a month?  That sort of left us with no other choice but assisted living.  My hope was perhaps, in an apartment she might find a friend or two.  Might want to go to service where the minister was present.  But alas, there were no affordable apartments open either.  These past four months have been an exhausting, nauseating, roller coaster ride for her and us.  Aunt Tish and SuZQ trying to manage insurance, meds, vet benefits, it is just unreal what is expected of the elderly. Gwanfader joining Tish in staying nights when the caretaker is unavailable, funding keeping her home.  Handy Man going when I've had another commitment, it's been a wild ride.  We have cried rivers.
Well, the call finally came, an open apartment.  I know elderly folk, generally speaking, just do not take moves well.  My Mom doesn't want to move. So I will post this and head to town, and with my siblings begin the process of this major shift.  Would you please keep her in your prayers.  If you know and love her, could you send her a greeting, or stop by and say, "Hey."  I would appreciate it.

She made it out for Playdate. I stuck a candle in all the birthday peoples cinnamon roll and we sang Happy Birthday, several times.

Teresa was stuck in traffic, but also had a birthday in the last month, so we celebrated her as well.

After everyone headed home my sweet boys needed just one more fun activity.
I don't know how many hours I've spent standing at the sink guarding babies whilst they played in the water.

Mr. Smiley loved this, so I suspect I'll see a lot of pointing to the sink and signing more in my future.

Ahhhh, a sprinkler!