Thursday, April 17, 2014

What do you do after a funeral?

What do you do after a funeral?  I’m asking because I’ve had a hard time filling the space.  The funeral for grandma was Saturday.  It was well attended.  The luncheon was spectacular.  There was no lull in good conversation, and so many hugs.  The day was full.  So, why, at the end, after the flowers were given new homes, after the food was divided up and after everyone hurried to their cars through the rain on that late afternoon, why at the end did I not want to be home?  It felt strange and empty.  I attempted to fill the time with busyness; first changing into comfortable clothes, my husband built a fire to take the chill from the air, I washed dishes, tidied the house, set my sweet-smelling bouquet in the middle of the dining table, and then sighed.  My husband asked me what I wanted to do, he was up for anything.  I didn’t know.  It felt wrong to make plans.  My body was tired but my mind wouldn’t allow a nap.  We decided on getting pizza, (even though more food was the last thing we needed), and a movie. 

The following day we went to church.  Afterwards lunch, followed by the long nap that had eluded me the previous day.  That evening we went to a birthday party to celebrate with my husband’s family.  It was the perfect diversion.  Home again later that night it was hard to believe that the next day was Monday and it was back to “normal”.  

But it didn’t feel normal.  In fact Monday was depressing.  I normally enjoy a quiet house when the husband’s at work and the kids are in school but I did not enjoy it this time.  I ended up crying.  After a bit I decided to pull it together and do something different, I completed my resume.  I had noticed a job opening a few days ago and it was one that I wanted to try.  So I spent two hours sprucing up my resume, then went in and applied.  I got to fill out a four page application.  It baffled me that a good portion of this application had questions devoted to honesty or the lack thereof, and questions about stealing and drug use.  For example, they wanted to know if I thought it was okay for someone to take merchandise without paying for it if they really needed it.  Was it okay to take merchandise without paying for it if it was small and inexpensive?  (Do some people really say ‘yes, it's okay’?)  Did I consider myself more honest than most people?  I circled two answers on that one and was asked why I had two answers.  Well, I circled “yes I consider myself more honest than most people” first but decided that made me sound self-righteous.  I mean who are the “most people” being referred to?  So then I circled the answer that said “I consider myself to be as honest as most people”.  I assumed that any answer other than the “No, I consider myself less honest than most people” was correct.  

The young man who interviewed me was very nice and tried to make me feel comfortable but I haven't interviewed for a job in 17 years.  I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for a long time and I’ve either been self-employed or had smaller jobs that didn’t require the interview process.   I was surprised when he asked me if I took a drug test today would I pass it.  Ah, yes. (There were also questions on the application regarding, if it was okay to take drugs before work or on break?  Since he wanted me to take a drug test, I assume that I got that answer right when I chose ‘no’. )    After the interview I got to drive to a lab and submit a sample for a drug test.  It was undignified and that's all I'll say about it.  Anyway, back to filling my time.  The whole job interview process was actually a great diversion for a few hours.  I came home excited about what I had done.  I perked up and made lasagna for supper. 

Tuesday I did some housekeeping and decided to sew.  I wanted to accomplish something, and I did.  A clothespin bag and two weird looking bunnies.  It went surprisingly smooth.  I didn’t worry about straight lines or even matching thread.  The goal was to do something and I did.  

Wednesday I went shopping for groceries.  I saw a little old lady who reminded me of grandma and that made me tear up.  Then I saw a friend and her mom who made me smile.  God looks out for me.   Later that night I met my sister and mom at the library, followed by coffee at our favorite place, Bud's.  It was nice to talk and laugh.

So that brings me to today, Thursday, another normal day that doesn’t feel quite normal.  I have plans this afternoon, someone needs me and it’s nice to be needed.  I say again, God looks out for me.  And this is how it goes after a funeral.  Trying to move forward, trying to seem normal when nothing feels right, and before I know it I will have made it.  It will dawn on me one day maybe when I’m outside getting the mail, that this day was completely normal.  And that realization it will bring with it the sting that comes from the knowledge that I have moved on.  But the sting will give way to the relief that I made it.  

Please tell me you see a face on the bunny on the left.
No laughing.

Back view.  Maybe I should add tails.

Clothespin bag made from vintage material.

Back view.
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We're going to learn a new word


It's with a heavy heart that I say good bye to my Grandma.  She passed away peacefully on Sunday after a long battle with Alzheimer's.  To my family and friends, you can read her obituary here.  I shared a small tribute on that link, as have a few others.  She touched so many lives.

The past few days have been full of family and friends sharing stories and memories of her.  I've been searching through my own and I'm blessed to have so many to choose from.  Most are funny because Grandma always enjoyed a good laugh, but some are more serious because she had a lot to teach me.

As little girls, my sis and I fought all the time.  Grandma was ever patient with us but one day she warned us that if we didn't stop fighting she was going to get out her shillelagh.

"Shillelagh?  What's a shillelagh?", we innocently asked.

"Go look behind my bedroom door and you'll see what a shillelagh is."

Off we ran, around the corner and into her cool bedroom.  We peeked behind the door and became quite wide-eyed.  There leaning in the corner was a stout stick, almost as tall as I was at the age of seven, and bigger around than one of my skinny arms.  So that was a shillelagh.  I told my sis that she had better be good and abruptly left the bedroom.

Another time when my sister and I were fighting at grandma's house, we learned that there were worse things than a shillelagh.  I remember it was a beautiful summer day and sis and I apparently couldn't find anything else to do but fight.  So grandma came out into the yard and told us to stop. She took each of us by the arm and made us face each other.  Grandma proceeded to tell us how lucky we were to have each other.  "Friends won't always be there but a sister will."  (Please imagine two bad little girls rolling their eyes.)  Then she said that she wanted us to apologize to each other.  Sis and I mumbled bad apologies.  "Now say it like you mean it," she said.

So we tried to be more sincere but made little progress.

Then she said, "Now hug."

What?!  Hug?!  No way.

"We're going to stand here until you do.  Now hug."

We stood there for a while hoping Grandma would give in but instead, we got her 'evil eye' stare.  You didn't mess with Grandma when she gave that intense, raised eye brow look.  (shiver)  So we gave each other straight-arm hugs and turned to leave.

Grandma grabbed our arms again, "You're not done.  Now kiss."

Huge intake of breath!  Horror!!  No!!!

. . . I don't remember kissing my sister.  I must have blocked that memory because I'm sure if we hadn't kissed each other we would have had a shellackin' with her big shillelagh.

Shillelagh (club)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
shillelagh (/ʃɨˈlli/ shi-lay-lee or /ʃɨˈllə/ shi-lay-ləIrishsail éille [ˈsalʲ ˈeːl̠ʲə], a cudgel with a strap) 
is a wooden walking stick and club or cudgel, typically made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob
at the top, that is associated with Ireland and Irish folklore.

**My grandma had Irish roots.  We were taught to say shil-lay-lee. And no, sis and I were never 
shellacked with her shillelagh.  We may have been bad little girls but that hug and kiss scared us

Friday, March 21, 2014

And Not a Drop of Wine Was Consumed

We met at the library which is the perfect place for two not overly hip, would like to live life more adventurously but lack the proper motivation so we read about it, kind of girls.  She tried to sneak up on me as I stood there reading the jacket of a mystery novel.  But since I know her, I anticipated such a juvenile move, and spotted her mid-scare.  We spent our time perusing the aisles and choosing books.  When we each had an arm full it was off to our next destination, coffee and tea at Bud's  

We love going there and would do it more often but families and schedules make life a bit too busy to fit this in as much as we'd like.   We order our drinks, she gets an Irish Mint Mocha and I get Mitten Mint-Apple tea, and make our way to the back of the coffee house.  It’s live music night so the front is crowded, but we are able to find seats in the back behind the fireplace.  We can still hear the music but feel more free to talk loudly enough to hear each other.  Side note:  One time we had our coffee up towards the front on live music night, and I got caught talking quite loudly when the music suddenly ended.  You know, that second before the applause sets in, yep, there I was. . .yelling.  Sis got a nice laugh out of it but I was entirely embarrassed.  
We catch up on our kids and our husband’s.  We chat about our writing, diets or lack thereof, our parents, our grandparents, and what we had for supper.  She spots the new wallpaper on my phone and asks indignantly if it was a picture of England.  I told her why yes it is and that I had just put it on this morning.  She reminds me that England is hers.  She’s going there someday.  Before she dies.  I smile and nod.  England is a distant dream of ours and we tend to panic if we feel one of us is getting closer to the dream than the other.  I don’t know why we do that since WE ARE GOING TOGETHER (I think she sometimes forgets that.).  Our time together goes by quickly, sprinkled with laughter and secrets.  It’s the best time.
We hug and warn each other to drive carefully and to watch for deer.  On the drive home I crank up the music, the kids never let me have it as loud as I like, and try to keep under the speed limit.  It’s hard to do.  I am happy and light.  I feel younger, not a middle-aged mom and wife, but a girl who has fun, and has dreams, and simple conversation at a coffee shop.

**You may wonder why I titled this as I did.  It’s for my dad.  He worries that on occasion too much wine is consumed by his daughters.  : -)

Thanks for stopping by now go have some tea.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is Anyone Else Hot?

So, yeah, I'm going through menopause.  Sometimes it's awful and sometimes it's not completely awful.  :-)   It's definitely different I"ll say that, with the headaches, the fogginess, lack of concentration, not to mention the hot flashes. I've heard people say, 'Don't let it run your life.'  Well, that's kinda hard because it is my life. It's my reality.  It's what I get to deal with every day, at least for now.  And when researching menopause on the World Wide Web there's so much conflicting information.  I finally realized that there wasn't one "correct" answer.  I needed to decide for myself what I wanted to try (if anything) to deal with the symptoms of menopause that bother me the most.  So I'm just trying the healthy living approach.  Eating healthier foods though I'm not getting rid of all sweets, a little less caffeine, and a little more activity in my day which this winter has not been as easy as I'd like.  But I'm dealing.  And I decided to poke some fun at it too.  After all, it is what it is.

You might be in the throes of menopause if. . . .

  • You're standing with your children at the bus stop in wind chill weather of -17 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your coat is unzipped, your hat is off and you are secretly wishing you could strip and go roll in the nearest snowbank.

  • Instead of eating popsicles you’re putting them under your arms.
  • You spend more time in a mental fog than . . .than. . .what was I saying?
  • You have more facial hair than your 13 yr. old son.
  • You have more temper tantrums than your teenager daughters.
  • You commonly have one-sided conversations with members of your immediate family (who are too afraid to speak) that go something like this:
(Angry) “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ATE THE LAST BROWNIE?!  I WAS SAVING IT FOR ME!  (sobbing now), I just can’t believe it’s gone.  I was really looking forward to eating that last brownie.  (Angry) I MAKE THE BROWNIES SO NO ONE ELSE IS ALLOWED TO EAT THEM!!!  (sobbing again) I just wanted a brownie, is that too much to ask?   I’m getting hot.  Turn the fan on please.  Oh, that’s better.  That feels good.  Ahhhh.  Hey, are there any brownies left?”  (Everyone runs away.)

  • You’re exhausted and you slip into bed and close your eyes.  Dreamland is a short 10 seconds away.  But your body has another idea.  BING!  Your eyes snap open, your heart is pounding like a herd of wild mustangs and your internal combustion engine is overheating and going to explode, and this is not because your movie star husband has just come to bed. Nope, it's just the night sweats with rapid heart beats and insomnia thrown in for good measure.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Conversation with Grandpa

We see him in the nursing home dining room.  He’s sitting there with his leather jacket on.  He’s ready to leave.  He sits by himself with a small scowl on his face.  He’s not alone in the room but he might as well be.  We catch his eye, smile and wave.  We watch him perk up.  Hugs come to him one by one.

We sit around grandpa and talk about the weather, the excess in snow, the excess shoveling.  He asks the kids about school and deer hunting.  He asks my husband about our wood supply.  He asks who brought him up here.  He’d like to leave.  He says he’s been up here a while now and would like to go home.  He asks what grade the kids are in.  He asks if we’ve seen ma.  He asks how deer hunting went.  He says he hasn’t seen any of his kids but doesn’t hold it against them.  They’re busy.  He says there’s nothing for him to do up here.  He’d like to see ma.  He asks if I know who brought him up here.  He’d like to go home now.  He asks how much wood we are burning this winter.  Got enough to last til spring? He says he doesn’t have much wood.  He asks if he stays up here.  He says he can’t remember nothing and this ain’t no way to live. 

Grandpa has been up to the nursing home for about three months.  He doesn’t remember. He started out sharing a room with his wife “ma” but she doesn’t remember him and sometimes becomes upset around him. So now they are in separate rooms, in separate halls and don’t see each other very much. He doesn’t remember any of that.  He gets regular visitors.  He doesn’t remember them.  It’s like grandpa is in some kind of sad time warp.  He doesn’t realize that he’s living in the nursing home.  The nights don’t exist and his days are spent with his jacket on, waiting to go home.

The hardest thing we do is leave him there.  We try to explain that we are leaving and that he stays there.  It’s where he lives now.  He doesn’t like that but he doesn’t argue.  We can tell he is sad.  But what is going through his mind? Does he understand why he feels sad?  Do his thoughts connect together just long enough to bring the emotion, but then fizzle away leaving him with the small scowl he had when we first entered the room?
PS:  On our last visit with Grandpa he was not wearing his jacket. I believe he is finally adjusting to his new home.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

At my house, you don’t want to be reading a suspense novel when your husband is gone and you have two dogs that love to bark at every sound.  You just don’t want to do that, unless you like the added gray hair and the feeling you’re going into cardiac arrest.   I remember a cartoon from my youth of a little brown dog that would sneak up on a yellow cat and bark.  He would scare the cat every time, and it would send the cat to the ceiling, claws dug in and shaking uncontrollably.  That’s how it is with my dogs.  The house will be calm, quiet and it will erupt into barking chaos in an instant whether they hear a real sound or not; and typically it’s not a real sound if my husband is gone and they are on “high alert” a.k.a. sleeping with one eye open.  We had one of those nights not too long ago.  Imagine if you will . . .

It was a cold, dark, winter night and three females were safe inside their warm, quiet house; a mama and her two teenage daughters.  The oldest daughter was sitting at the dining table doing her college homework.  Mama was sitting in her comfortable chair reading a thrilling book and the younger daughter was engrossed in her phone.  So there they were, all three females enjoying their warm, quiet house, when suddenly barking chaos erupts. 

In that instant all three females jump in their chairs, eyes wide in surprise. The dogs who were first at the big picture window by the oldest daughter, had run down to the front door in the breezeway and were still barking.  The females peel themselves from the ceiling and Mama asks in her most calm I’m-not-having-a-heart-attack voice, “Is someone here?” 


The oldest daughter looks out the big picture window into the dark and says, no.  She sits back down, irritated with the dogs and tries to concentrate on homework again.  Mama calls the dogs back up to the living room and tells them to be quiet.  The younger daughter and mama look at each other, smile, and with hearts still pounding readjust in their seats and try to get back to their phone and reading respectively.  Suddenly, there is a TAP, TAP, TAP, as if someone is knocking on the window of the front door.  Barking chaos erupts once again and the hair on mama’s neck tingles. 

“Well obviously someone is here”, says Mama to the oldest daughter.

Both of them get up, the oldest daughter to look again out the window, as Mama makes her way to the front door in the breezeway. Mama calls to the barking dogs that have their paws up on the door looking out the window into the dark night, and shuts them into the main part of the house.  She wonders for a moment if this is the smartest thing to do, as she does not know who is at the door.  She shrugs the notion off and turns on the outside light and sees that . . . no one is there.  She feels uneasy, locks the door and takes a more thorough look through the window on the door, her face pressed close to the glass.  She sees no one in the faint light.  The hair on her neck rises and tingles again as she slowly turns around and looks at the black windows of the back door.  ‘Surely no one is there’ mama thinks to herself, ‘they would have to wade through so much snow’ . . .  Mama sucks up her courage and quickly crosses the room to the back door and flicks on the outside light.  No one is there much to her relief.  Making sure that door is also locked Mama returns to the front door to look out the window again.  No one.  Mama opens the door to the main part of the house feeling nervous and silly.  She walks back into the main house where her girls are waiting for her.
“No one is there”, Mama says to them.  “You heard the knocking too, right?” she asks.

“Yes.  Three taps, like someone was tapping the window,” says the younger daughter. 

“I heard it too,” says the oldest daughter, “Okay, this is freaking me out.”

Mama, feeling freaked out, says that there is nothing to freak out about and she turns on the big outside light.  Mama tells them that maybe someone is stuck in the ditch near their driveway and came up to ask for help and the dogs frightened them.  Although, if that were true, they would have had to run very, very fast back to the road for Mama to not have seen them at all.  But Mama keeps that thought to herself as she looks through the window to the outside.  There is no sign of activity.  No car in the ditch.  The three females decide it would be prudent to look out other windows and check all the doors.  And they do, taking the dogs with them.  With the house checked and all females back in the same room, Mama closes all the curtains and leaves on all the lights, including those outside.  When that is done Mama asks them again, “You did hear it, right?”

“Yes”, they say.

“I can’t think of anything else that noise could have been, other than someone tapping on the window”, says Mama.

They look at each other.  They look at the dogs that are now relaxed, and once again sleeping with one eye open.  All three females settle back to their own activities though not as comfortable as before. 

All is quiet again.

**This is what I get for watching TV shows like “The Following”, “Criminal Minds”, and “Sleepy Hollow”.  I’ve got to stop that.

Both images (the dog and Claude the cat) were taken from Google images.  They were from a Looney Tunes cartoon.

I hope you were entertained.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Last week I dug out some card making supplies and had fun.  I haven't made cards in years.  Years!  I had forgotten how nice it is to make something with paper and glue.  Reminiscent of elementary school days where I got to use construction paper, Elmer's glue, beads, sequins, and macaroni.  Ah, those were the days. Here I used the more expensive but so much prettier card stock and decorated papers, vintage buttons, stamps and ink. Once these were done I couldn't wait to make another batch and was already putting together ideas but then I went to the library and got a couple of books to read.  I don't know about you, but when I start a book, I don't want to put it down. I can't put it down.  It becomes glued to my hands and there is no way to vacuum, no way to cook, no way to make pretty cards or crochet afghans.  I can't do anything else but read, read, read.  I had put off going to the library for three months because of this affliction.  But then I caved, gave in, just couldn't escape the call of the library.  So please enjoy these photos, as there won't be any more crafting until the books are done.  I'm sorry.  I'm weak.


I made a book mark from an
empty vintage button holder.  

This last photo is of my latest crochet project.  I'm making a little granny square blanket.  Since this photo was taken I have sewn the large squares together.  Next, I'll be crocheting an edging for it, when the books are finished. I hope to take photos of a finished project soon, but may not due to my above mentioned affliction.  What are you working on?  Or reading?

Thanks for stopping by.