Friday, August 16, 2013

Seven Quick Takes #21


One

Caring for both Boo and my Mother has proven to be quite a task...a task I love and for which I'm grateful, but a task nonetheless. Recently, Mother and I had to have a few discussions on wants vs. needs.



One day I received an urgent phone call from Mom. “I need you right now!” So, I dropped everything and ran across our backyards, unlocked her door and rushed to her side. “I need a piece of Key Lime Pie.” Ummm...Key Lime Pie does not constitute an emergency.



The following day I received another phone call. “I need you right now.” Slightly wiser now, I questioned her. She'd been shopping with a friend and had some nonperishables that needed to be put away. I told her I'd help her put them away when I prepared supper.



Two hours later I received another phone call. “ I need you right now.” No explanation, but it was almost supper time. I should mention here that the words: “I'm stuck in the recliner and can't get up.” never, never came out of her mouth. So, I walked over admiring the flowers and a bird nest on the way...only to discover that she really did need me this time.



Mom had lost the control to her recliner and was half in and half out of it. She was scared to moved. And rightfully so. I had to brace the recliner with my body and slowly lower it so that it wouldn't tip over on her. We had the first of several discussions on wants vs. needs and the importance of adequate communication so that I can appropriately respond.



Has any of this made a difference? Temporarily. And for now, that's good enough.



Two

A conversation overheard between Boo and Mother after supper one evening:



I'm going to Chesterfield tomorrow. Do you want to go with me while Kari goes off with Phyllis for a little while?”



You're going all the way to SC? They let you do that?

(It's only 15 miles away and, yes, she's currently allowed to drive that far under certain conditions.)



Yes, I'm going and yes, they let me. Are you going or not?”



I rode with you today. You get kind of shaky.”



Silence.



Can we get ice cream?”



If you want ice cream.”



Don't tell Kari. She won't let me date other women.”



I had to back out of the room and run to the living room to laugh. Does going off with your mother in law actually count as a date? (Just so you know, I ended up going with Mom and Boo because Mom was tired.)



Three

Mom's now taking insulin (hopefully temporarily) to manage her diabetes. After years of eating what she wanted and exercising by racing through her favorite department stores (and one recent steroid shot), she now has to toe the line. At the moment she's scared enough to do it. Thank heavens!



Just before she had the steroid shot, she was supposed to keep a record of her blood sugar levels. I've fussed at her on and off for a couple of months about not checking her blood sugar. Finally, because she simply had to do so, I sat down with her and tried to get her to check it herself.



And discovered...Mom has evidently forgotten how to take her blood sugar. I'd been fussing about something she didn't remember. Talk about feeling lower than a snake's belly! I also realized that with essential tremors, she's just too shaky to stick herself. Now, I understand her refusal.



What else is she refusing to do because she doesn't remember how or can't. Mom is just stubborn enough not to tell me. So, I have to stealthily guess.



By the way, Mom is now very compliant about her diet, about letting me check her blood sugar levels and giving her insulin. Exercise, not so much. Well, OK, not at all.



Four

Boo has determined that our home is the second floor in Mom's house. I guess that's good inasmuch as we'll be here for several more days until we know how Mom reacts to insulin and until she understands the importance of an appropriate diet and knows the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar.



Last night Boo told Mother that he and Boudreaux were going home to bed. I held my breath because home was definitely not in the picture right then. He and the cat marched right upstairs. Boo went to bed. Boudreaux caught two more mice and left them for me beside his food upstairs. (Why are there mice upstairs?)



Five

Mom has named the upstairs bedrooms. One is the Sunshine Bedroom. It is bright and sunny. The other is the Antique Bedroom. It contains a rope bed that Mother and Daddy bought and restored years ago, an antique dresser (maybe a family heirloom?) and a tongue and groove chest. Who names the rooms in their house? Evidently my Mother does.



Boudreaux has claimed the tongue and groove chest as his own. It's in a dormer window with a cushion. He's convinced that this is his spot. If we lose him or he gets too quiet. He's generally on his chest watching the birds and washing his beautiful red fur coat or napping.



Six

Boo and Mother are planning shrimp for dinner tonight. Mother heard that the truck stop just outside of town sells the best shrimp in town. OK, let's see, there's only one other place to eat in this town. So, it's possible that it is the best. There's not a lot of competition for the Best Shrimp in Town title.



Last Friday I baked shrimp with lemon slices, lemon butter and Italian seasoning and served it with cheese grits. I told Boo it was polenta with cheese. He was fooled about three minutes. That man hates grits. I thought all Southerners had an inborn love for grits. It appears that not all Cajuns do.



Seven

Because of Mom's increasing health issues, I've begun a home health notebook for her. I'm amazed at all that I don't know about her health. I'm also amazed at all the forms that I'm using for her regularly. Well, we are just learning about what helps control her diabetes and what makes it more difficult to control. I'm keeping a chart with her blood sugar levels and units of insulin given. This will be an ongoing chart. Right now, I'm keeping a very accurate intake sheet for Mom also. I imagine I'll only use this while we're stabilizing her blood sugar levels. She has a blood pressure and pulse chart and another chart for daily notes and exercise log (if she'll actually exercise.)



I've got to make a detailed medical history for her, a current list of medical providers, update her medication list and, oh, never mind, I'm tired just thinking about all that I need to do there. Pretty soon, I'll be updating my Home Health Notebook post with links to forms that I've found useful.



Join Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch #11


  1. Do you have any type of air cleaner in your home?
    No, I should add one for dust and pollen, but I haven't yet. We do have a HEPA filter on the vacuum cleaner. I'm not sure just how much it really helps, but we do have that.
  2. What do you do with the spare change you accumulate in your car, purse, pockets, etc.?
    We save our change, roll it and donate it to charity. This year our main charity is Africa Mercy. We've a friend who's on a two year stint with Africa Mercy and Boo seems to remember and pray for her often.  
  3. What 's one chore you wish you never had to do again?
    I guess, ironing...which I just don't do unless I'm sewing. I dislike folding and putting away clothes though I've developed a routine and it seems to be less of a trial anymore. Dish washing is another one of those I'm-not-so-fond-of-doing chores.

    Who am I kidding? I'm not fond of house cleaning. I like a clean house. I just wish it would clean itself.
  4. Are you outgoing, quiet, shy, reserved or the life of the party?
    I tend to be quiet and reserved...until I know you. Then I'm more outgoing, although I doubt I'd ever be considered the life of the party type. I'm just me. Give me a good book or a computer with my word processing and photography programs, some peace and quiet and I can entertain myself for hours.
  5. Have you understood your parents more as you've gotten older?
    Yes indeed! Most of the time my Mother and I have a really good working relationship. Somehow growing up, we never had that. I never felt too close to her then. She thrived on being busy and doing things, especially decorating and painting. I was rather intimidated by her talent. I'd rather stay home and read or draw.

    Now, we actually have discussions...not that we often agree, but we do better understand each other. We seem to have different stances on many political, religious and educational topics. I'd never have guessed that. We are working on some projects together. I never thought we'd do that. It seems our talents compliment each other. Who knew I'd develop a new appreciation for my Mother in my mid 50's? I'm just really grateful for this time with her.





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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chats on a Farmhouse Porch #10


I know it's been quite a while since I posted anything. Things have been really hectic around here and I just haven't had the time. Hopefully, with the elimination of some of Mother's medications and Boo's slightly increased willingness to “travel” to Mom's house (just across the backyard), I'll have more time to blog. Hopefully. Constantly running from our house to Mom's house is time consuming. I counted one day. From the time I woke until I went to bed, I made 23 trips back and forth. That's easing up most days. So, I have a little more time now.


  1. Have you ever baked bread from scratch?
    Yes! It's one of my favorite things to do. Kneading is a great stress reliever. Then, the smell of baking bread just can't be beat. (Well, sometimes chocolate cake or brownies could be better.) And eating warm bread fresh from the oven...heaven on earth! I promised Mom and Boo soft pretzels this week. Maybe I'm bake those on Wednesday so that Mom can take a few to her Bible study group.
  2. If we decided to have lunch on the porch, and you so kindly volunteered to fix it (thank you), what would you serve?
    I'd gladly volunteer to serve it. It's cool and drizzly here, not usual August weather for us. So, I'd choose a warm Mushroom Cloud soup, a chicken veggie salad with fresh pita bread, peach cobbler and vanilla bean ice cream with ice tea or lemonade. Lately, our peaches have been awesome. I've been freezing peach slices to add to my tea instead of ice cubes.
  3. Show us or tell us about your key chain.
    Boring! Mine is strictly utilitarian right now. It has a red clip that I can attach to my purse or belt loop. That's it. I did have an angel with a prayer on it, but Boo had a habit of holding onto it and cut his hand. How he managed that, I don't know. So, I took it off. I am making a “key chain” for Boo for his birthday next month. (He doesn't actually use keys anymore.) I'm decoupaging photos of grandchildren and Boudreaux, of course, to unused grocery and pharmacy discount cards, punching a small hole in one corner and putting them on a key ring for him. (Don't tell!)
  4. Have you ever tried a challenging or dangerous sport?
    I'm definitely not the sporty type! I've been white water rafting ONCE years ago. Never again. Do carnival or amusement park rides count? I used to ride roller coasters. One of my college roommates recently went sky diving (and wants to go again!), white water rafting, zip lining and I'm not sure what else. She's far more adventurous than I am. I'd rather travel, meet new people, see new places, learn new crafts and prepare native foods than risk life and limb.
  5. Have you ever written poetry? If not, have you ever had anyone write a poem for you?
    Well, yes, I've written poetry waaaay back in the dark ages when I was in the middle of my teen age angst. Horrible poetry, but meaningful at the time. And yes, I was the subject of several poems that my sister wrote. Terribly unflattering poems, I might add. She wrote them during her teen years as well. (Strange what you find when cleaning out boxes that your parents have stored for years.) Somewhere (OK, I know they're in one of two memento boxes.) are several poems Boo wrote to me during the years.
 
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ten Ways to Unhinge Your Sanity


I'm working on the assumption that I'm sane...or relatively so. That may be an erroneous assumption these days.



  1. Diligently attempt to unscrew and put fresh batteries in a disposable flashlight.
    Who knew they even made disposable flashlights anymore? Besides, shouldn't a disposable be clearly labeled? Wouldn't that make sense?  
  2. Try to put a slip cover on a chair without reading the directions.
    OK, this should be a simple thing, right? I've sewn slipcovers and put them on with nary a hitch. This one, the first that I've bought, is absolutely not intuitive. I had to finally read the instructions and look for the center front and center back labels...after three days of frustration. On a different note, I do like this slipcover. It just says country to me. That's what I wanted and that's what I got. Boo's take on it is a bit different. He eyes the chair suspiciously every time he's in the living room and is hesitant to sit in it. Boo, it seems, isn't a big fan of floral chairs. Oh well...
  3. Learn to play a video game rated for 4+ years old on our tablet.
    Am I smarter than a fourth grader? Not even close! Evidently four year olds have a leg up on me as well. This was supposed to be an easy way to relax. Instead, it's just one more way technology is defeating me...and the city I've been trying to save from alien invaders. I'd open peace negotiations, but the aliens are too busy bombing my poor city.
  4. Try to reason with a displaced Cajun who is convinced that the bayou is flooding.
    To begin with, North Carolina doesn't have the first bayou. We wouldn't know what they are or what to do with them. Creeks, streams, rivers...those we have in abundance, but no bayous. With all the rain we've had lately, Boo firmly believes we're in Louisiana and the levy isn't holding. I gave up trying to reason with him this evening. I just asked what he thought we should do. He thought he should go to bed. That's where he and Boudreaux are. No life jackets. No boats.
  5. Try to teach my almost 81 year old Mother to use a simple Nook.
    It's really easy. I can even do it. Not Mom. Not reliably anyway. Her fingernails are too long. She can't remember how to turn it on. She thinks it needs to find more books for her. And why can't it feel more like a book? Her nails were professionally manicured today. (Her hands shake too much for me to shape her nails.) I wrote out step by step instructions on the use of her Nook. I've downloaded additional books for her. Her Nook will feel like a Nook, however. That I can't fix. I know where I inherited my technologically challenged genes!
  6. Update Mom's phone list for her notebook.
    This is still a theoretical notebook. I haven't exactly finished it for her yet. Just updating her phone list was an ordeal. First we had to discuss everyone on said list. I now know who is in a nursing home and who should be, who is retiring and what they planning to do once they retire, who's children are doing what for them and why and whose names are on her list and have to remain there even though she can't remember who they are anymore. I had a headache when I was done. Mom does have an updated phone list now, for what it's worth.
  7. Explain why Boudreaux can't eat Spam.
    I'm not sure why I even tried. I doubt the cat would even sniff Spam, much less try to eat it. It's too salty for Boudreaux. It's made of things that we can't even pronounce. And just why do we have Spam in the first place? We don't eat it...too salty, unpronounceable ingredients, etc. Did the wicked witch of Spam pay us a visit when I wasn't paying attention?
  8. Try to schedule all the doctor's appointments Mom and Boo have in a neighboring city on the same day.
    You know, I figured we'd do it all at once. Tiring, but once it's done, it's done for several months. That was my theory. Well, Mom and Boo's neurologist has decided to give up her private practice and work in the hospital. She won't be seeing private patients. Was it something I said??? We liked her. Now, it seems that the closest neurologist that is accepting new patients is in Charlotte. I can't wait for that trip. We'll all need an evaluation...which Boo and Mom will probably pass with flying colors and I'll fail miserably. I'm scared to call the cardiologists. Mom and Boo go to different practices. What if they both close their offices?
  9. Convince a very fashion conscious woman that she must exchange her lovely sandals for shoes that offer more support and stability.
    This is a daily battle. Mom is absolutely convinced that I'll see the wisdom of allowing her to wear the beautiful sandals that she's bought to go with her wonderful, colorful summer outfits. They are beautiful. They do look lovely together. They just don't support her feet enough. Mom is less steady now than she was just a few months ago. In sandals, her feet slip and slide...which in turn, makes her slip and slide...which dramatically increases her risk of falling. I have also learned that Boo simply cannot be around when I'm explaining Mom's shoe situation to her in the morning...for his sake. Boo suggested that grandmothers should wear grandmother shoes. He made it out of the den with his skin intact...barely.
  10. Try to make an all ice cream diet healthy.
    Really, I'm not even trying this one. Mom just wants ice cream for desert after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Actually, she'd rather have ice cream than a meal. I finally told her we could have smoothies once a day with fruits and veggies instead of a meal. If looks could kill, I'd be dead. That isn't ice cream. No indeed. Instead, I make whole grain muffins or French toast or crepes with fresh fruit for one meal. Sometimes that works without complaint. Not often, but sometimes.





Sanity? Well, not in our family. I think we've taken off the hinges and I'm pretty sure we've lost the screws.  Join the fun at Top Ten Tuesday where you'll find useful top ten lists every week!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chats on a Farmhouse Porch #9

Wendell, thank you for your kind offer of your "pool" for our chat this week.  However, with all the rain, thunder and lightening we've had this past week and a half, I'm a little leery of being too close to water.  I'll bring carrots though!


1.  Is there a friend or relative who's been on your mind a lot lately?

Yes, quite a few actually.  In fact, I've talked to several of them lately too.  Comparing notes.  Commiserating.  Working toward solutions.  Decompressing.

It seems that many of us are currently caretakers to our parents, spouses or handicapped children.  This is definitely not a complaint for any of us.  It is life changing and challenging.  It's also an unscripted area for us.  My grandmothers cared for my grandfathers.  My aunts cared for my uncles.  Somehow, it just wasn't something that was discussed.  Now, we have questions about how to "do it all."  From the outside looking in, it appears that they accomplished so much with so few resources and with no more time than we have.  Why can't we do the same?  Or are we expecting too much from ourselves? 

What we have managed is an impromptu support group.  OK, a very loose, very casual support group.  We don't have answers.  We don't have perfect solutions.  We don't even know the right questions sometimes.  We do know how to talk.  And we certainly know how to pray for each other.  We do know how to find some workable solutions.  And we know what has definitely not worked for us...or what has worked temporarily. 

And we're reconnecting.


2.  Do you sunburn?

Is the Pope Catholic?  I've always sunburned with the greatest of ease!  It's one of my best summer tricks. 

I'm a firm believer in sun block, hats, long pants (capris at least) and long sleeves.  I used to envy my friends who tanned.  Not anymore.  I'm at peace with my uber white skin.  Besides, my Mom is dealing with frequent skin cancers and that puts a whole new spin on tanning.



3.  If you were visiting my farm for a week (or week-end) would you want to cook with me, pick veggies or pull weeds with the farm crew or just feed Wendell carrots until he outgrew his horse suit?

Well, Patrice, could I do all four?  A week on a farm...what a wonderful break!  Yeah, I know that it wouldn't be a break break.  It would be different and so much fun getting to know you better...and maybe some of the wonderful chat ladies.  Maybe we could have a work party.  Is there anything in particular you need to have done that you've been avoiding?  Perhaps we could do it together!


4.  Do you like to tell jokes or hear them?

I'd far rather hear them.  Joke telling is not one of my talents.


5.  Do you wear sunglasses often?

I never wear sunglasses and don't even own any.  My glasses become darker in the sun.  Years ago when I wore contacts, I did wear sunglasses.  I guess I could get some prescription sunglasses.  I just haven't.

Join Patrice for more chats at Everyday Ruralty.  Hope your head aches have vanished this week!



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch # 8

Yep, I'm late!  Recently that seems to be the story of my life.  Schedules notwithstanding, life seems to throw plenty of curve balls lately that just don't fit into any schedule.
Here goes...

1.  When it comes to vegetables, which do you use more often---canned, frozen or fresh?

Fresh is my first choice, especially if it's homegrown.  Frozen is my back up, except for green beans.  Green beans must be fresh or canned...for some reason I just can't cook frozen green beans.  They taste awful.  I just don't have time for a real garden this year.  I'm growing basil, parsley, lots of rosemary, chocolate mint and peppermint.  I've got two tomato seedlings that are struggling and a pepper seedling that may survive.  Between Boo and Mom, there is no gardening time.

2.  Do you sew?

YES!!!  I love to sew.  However, like gardening, sewing is definitely on the back burner right now.  I have a chair that needs to be slip covered.  I'd enjoy doing it, but when???  After Boo's second stroke, I sewed several "manly" hospital gowns that covered a bit more than the average gown covered.  I also made gown type tops and scrub bottoms for him.  They offered a little more dignity and made him feel more comfortable.  The tops worked well with IVs, heart monitoring equipment, etc.  I really should make another batch for Boo and a batch for Mom. 

3.  Do you have a common fear?

Snakes and spiders!!!  I'm trying to learn to identify harmful snakes and spiders and leave the rest alone...if they leave me alone, that is.  There's a green snake in the back yard that I've seen and that's slithered across my foot and a black snake that roams in our backyard and our neighbor's yard.  I'm told it eats rats.  That's useful...as long as it keeps it's distance, I'll certainly keep mine.  Ummm...the neighborhood knows when I've seen a snake.  My screams have brought neighbors to my rescue that I didn't know.  Now that's an interesting way to meet new people.

4.  Is there anything you recommend for cutting the grocery bill?

Like Patrice, gardening and preserving the harvest is the best way I've found.   I've been using coupons for the few name brand items that we use and stocking up when I can buy items on sale and use coupons.  That amounts to only a small savings.  We seldom use name brands.   Another thing that I've found helpful is to cut out packaged and prepared foods.  I bake cakes, breads and deserts from scratch.  I bake potato chips and crackers, muffins and granola.  That's probably not a great help, but that's what I do.

5.  Tell me about something that made you happy over the past week?

Well, let's see...Monday morning Mom fell.  That didn't make me happy, of course.  I realized I was going to be about twenty minutes later than usual checking on Mom that morning because I'd just put muffins in the oven.  I called her and when I didn't get an answer, pulled the muffins out of the oven, turned the oven off, yelled to Boo that I was running to Mom's house and RAN.  By the time I'd unlocked two doors, disarmed the security system and run like a crazy woman to Mom's back hall, I was shaking and imaging the worst.  Mom was fine.  She'd fallen in the bathroom and was unable to get up with a broken arm.  She was wearing the panic button that should have alerted the security company.  It didn't work.  However, Mom was fine.  (I'd imagined her injured or dead.  Any other outcome was wonderful!) 

I called Boo to let him know.  His response:  "I know.  I prayed and I knew she was OK.  Can we have those muffins now?"  That made me happy as well.  Boo generally doesn't handle emergencies well at all.  He came through this one with flying colors!  Muffins were out however.  I did make a western omelet and sliced cantaloupe.  Boo and Mom were content.

I'd be happier if nothing that exciting happens the rest of the week!

Join Patrice at Everyday Ruralty for more chats.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch #7

Yeah Patrice!  I finally have a little time to join the chat this week and I need a break.  I've got a glass of peach tea beside me with frozen peach slices and I'm actually sitting on our front porch where I can pick up our wireless connection.  I remember crab apple trees!  We had one in the backyard at my parent's house years ago, but they had it chopped down.  Mom says it made a huge mess and we weren't around enough to keep the apples picked up. 

1.  When you were a child what age did you think was "OLD"?

Kari:  I remember thinking my parents were old when they were in their 30's.  My first grade teacher, Mrs. Johnson, was really old.  She retired a couple of years after she taught me.  The principal at that small school gave me a choice.  I could have Mrs. Johnson or my mother in first grade.  Mrs. Johnson won!  After all, I thought I knew everything Mom knew already!

Boo:  I thought 21 was really old.  I thought that was the age you were able to do anything you wanted to do.  Sixty was another old age.  You didn't have to go to a job then.  But the oldest was 90.  That's when you were ancient.

2.  How often do you have dessert?

Kari:  Daily.  With Mom and Boo both craving sweets, we have dessert regularly.  Mom's losing weight and only wants sweets some days.  So, I've retrieved my "reasonably good for you dessert recipes."  We have French toast once a week and smoothies daily.  I make "cheesecake" with yogurt cheese, stevia and fresh fruit.  Last night we had peach cobbler made with whole wheat flour and served with homemade sugar free frozen vanilla yogurt. 

Boo:  Once every three days.  We could have dessert more often. 

3.  What's your favorite kind of exercise?

Kari:  Walking and gardening.  I don't have much time for gardening right now, but I do have time to walk.  Walking in town is so nice.  I see friends and family every time I head out.  Of course, we do live in a one stop light town...and I'm not sure we really need that one.

Boo:  Walking.  I used to enjoy golf, but I don't see well enough to play anymore.  Walking is fun around here.  I see people or we walk in the cemetery. 

4.  Do you watch movies on TV, movies from a rental or the library, or movies online?

Kari:  I'm not much of a movie person.  I tend to watch movies online when I watch them.  Rarely, I'll watch one on TV. 

Boo:  Mostly TV movies and most of those are westerns.  I don't like new movies.  At least, I don't think I do.  We haven't seen one recently in the theater...I don't like theaters.

Years ago, we took Joseph, Kari's son, to a movie.  It was a suspense movie, I think.  At one point, the good guy kissed a girl.  Joseph was eight or nine at the time and piped up and said, "Kissy, kissy, kissy."  The whole theater laughed.  Well, except for Joseph.  He slid down in his seat and ate popcorn.

5.  Tell me something you remember from your grand mother's/grand father's house?

Kari:  At my mother's parents, there was a bookcase against the wall in the den.  Since I loved to read, I was fascinated by it.  I don't think there were any children's books, but they had a great set of old encyclopedias.  A few years ago, Mom and Aunt Charlotte were discussing my grandparent's house and I asked if they remembered that bookcase.  Both of them laughed.  It seems Papa Hall built it.  His one and only carpentry project as it turned out.  He was a teacher and a farmer, but definitely not a carpenter.  The bookcase stood only because it was propped against the wall and a door frame.

Boo:  I remember the driveway at Paw Paw Guidry's house.  He lived in Church Point, Louisiana.  That's where the Guidry clan lived.  Paw Paw had a black 1937 Chevy in the driveway.  You didn't have too many color choices in those days.  A few times I got to ride in that Chevy.  That was a special treat for us. 

Join Patrice at Everyday Ruralty for more Chats on the Farmhouse Porch.

May 2013 Daybook

FOR TODAY....

Outside my window...it's dark and quiet with crickets chirping.  Of course, it's almost midnight.  Our front porch is right outside our bedroom windows.  We've got a lovely flat leaf parsley plant and a struggling basil in pots.  I just planted rosemary in a huge pot this afternoon.  Definitely one of my favorite herbs!  We also have two ferns that are off shoots of my Grandma Mamie's beautiful ferns.  For some reason I always thought ferns were hard to grow.  Either I was wrong or these two are just hardy.

I am thinking...of all the many things I need/should do tomorrow.  Prioritize, delegate and eliminate.  Those things that I think are truly important, I'll prioritize.  Some things I can delegate.  Boo has been folding undies and pjs recently...not well, but who cares?  Folding and putting away those two things are no longer on my to do list.  Boo has also taken over ensuring that Boudreaux, his wonderful cat, has fresh water several times daily and always has dry kibble.  I still handle the canned food.  Boo has trouble using the can opener and could easily cut himself on the cans.  Last night Boo carried the garbage out the front door, across the front porch and to the garbage can.  Yeah Boo!

I am thankful...for Boo's love, for his continual optimism and his recent helpfulness, especially now that Mom's needing more help.  I'm also thankful for Mom's orthopedic surgeon and his attentiveness.  He insisted on weekly x-rays, realized that her arm wasn't healing properly and reset it...complete with a plate and screws.  I'm extremely thankful for Mom's good spirits and her willingness to figure out how to do as much as she possibly can with her left hand.  She's doing so well!

In the kitchen...at Mom's house are freshly washed dinner dishes.  No, I didn't put them away.  It's more sanitary for them to air dry...I think.  Besides, I was procrastinating.  In my kitchen are some well rinsed dishes waiting to be washed.  Nothing is cooking.  It's midnight, remember?

I am wearing...a white tee shirt, black capris and no shoes.  Nope, no shoes.  It's almost summer and I hate shoes.  I do wear Crocs outside.  The lovely green snake I saw yesterday ensures that I won't go barefoot as much as I'd really like to do so.  No, I didn't kill it.  I'm pretty sure it was harmless.  Not completely positive, but we won't go into that!

I am creating...a household notebook for myself.  It's amazingly difficult for me to remember everything that needs to be done in two households.  We're only talking about three adults and two cats here.  It shouldn't be this hard!  I guess it's the odd things that crop up on an all too regular basis that throw me.  Mom's broken arm, Boo's late night wandering and/or confusion, Boudreaux's wound from his "night on the town."  I deal with the unusual things and lose track of the daily, need-to-do stuff. 

Is a household notebook creating?  I'm not sure it counts, but it's the closest to creating that I've managed since Mom broke her arm.

I am going to...take a quiet, leisurely bath before bed.  Yeah, I probably need one after today.  Mostly, I just want to relax in hot water. 

I am wondering...when the vet clinic is open again.  Boudreaux's wound needs to be examined and he may need antibiotics.  I've been cleaning it with saline solution and a diluted Betadyne wash.  Boudreaux isn't happy with the cleaning, but tonight seemed to tolerate it without protest.  That concerns me. 

I am reading...online about treating cat wounds and about broken arms in the elderly.  Interesting, I know, but necessary for me right now.

I am hoping...to spray paint my wicker rocker tomorrow.  That will be the thing I do for myself.  Maybe I'll plant two hanging planters as well.  Neither should take long.  So I should be able to work them in between helping Mom and Boo.

I am looking forward to...Davi's Bon Voyage party this coming Saturday.  It's just one block away and only two hours.  Mom should be able to go and socialize.  Boo can too if he's having a good day.  Otherwise, I'll ask one of my cousins to stay with him.  Davi's leaving very soon for a two year stint on a Mercy ship in southern Africa. 

I am learning...to be more patient with myself and not to over schedule unnecessary things to clutter my days.  Boo's been really helpful with this one.  When he notices me becoming stressed in the day time, he'll mention it and ask if I really need to do everything.  That's a good question.  Many things I can just let slide.  After all, spending quality time with my family is what's most important.  Two reasonably clean houses are important.  Rearranging my closets and decluttering Mom's closets are certainly less important right now.

One of my favorite things...a coffee shake with real vanilla ice cream.  Yum!

A peak into my day...

These two photos were taken BEFORE Mom had surgery.  She elected to try letting the arm heal in a cast.   When that didn't work, she had an open reduction of the ulna just above her right wrist.

Mom let me paint her right finger nails, but not her left.  Not at all sure why she wanted to stop after just one hand, but she did.
 


Here she is in her pretty red cast!  That woman likes any color as long as it's red!




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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Broken Arm!!!

Tomorrow my mother is coming home from a visit to my sister at the beach.  Faye (a cousin-in-law who's a candidate for sainthood) will be driving her back.  It seems Mother had a rather eventful visit.  Yesterday she sat in a wicker chair at a store, fell backwards and hit her head.  For once, her hard head came in handy.  She has no concussion. 

That should have been enough excitement for her, but no, not my mother.  She made it back to my sister's house and decided to go in the back door.  Sound reasonable to you?  No indeed.  The steps leading to the front door have a sturdy hand rail.  Mom knows this and was reminded of it several times this visit.  Tempting fate, or her hard head once again, she choose to use the back door.  You know, the one without a hand rail? 

Mom fell...again

Her head is fine.  Thank you for asking! 

Instead, she broke her arm.  Her right arm.  She's right handed. 

I strongly suspect that we'll be rather busy around here for a while.  Monday morning I have to call Mom's primary care doctor for an immediate referral to an orthopedic surgeon.  Currently she has a soft cast.  She needs a hard cast and possibly surgery (or so I'm told.) 

And then there's her daily care...She'll need help bathing, dressing, toileting and figuring out just how to do things with her left hand and how to do them safely.  As independent as Mom is, I need to quickly find as many ways for her to maintain her independence as possible.  I need to put my thinking cap on and really work at this one.  Somehow, I've got to come up with a strategy that will enable Mom to gracefully accept the help that she needs right now and to encourage her to remain as independent as she's able to be.  Any ideas?

I've already begun to prepare Boo.  We may need to stay with Mom for a while.  If she has to have surgery, I'll need to be at the hospital to thoroughly understand her care afterwards.  As a matter of fact, I need to go with her to her appointments to ask questions and be sure that I know what to do.  Boo understands that he may well have to have a "sitter"/helper when I'm away with Mom.  At least, he understands right now.  My biggest concern is being able to adequately care for both Mom and Boo, particularly at night when Boo is easily confused. 

We'll see how this goes.  Your prayers would certainly be appreciated whenever we come to your mind.  I guess this also means that blogging every day in May just won't happen this year. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Seven Quick Takes # 20

One
 
This has been a difficult week for me.  I developed a bone infection and have felt miserable most of the week.  Intensive antibiotic therapy and more rest than usual seems to have nipped it in the bud.  This morning I finally feel like myself, sort of anyway.  My "Blog Every Day in May" challenge is far behind right now.  I think I'll just pick up and continue on, not try to catch up.  I have quite enough catching up to do in laundry and house cleaning.  Oh well...
 
Two
 
A cousin's wife has taken Mom to the beach this week to spend some time with my sister.  We have her cat, Boots.  Boots has never been away from Mom in the three years that she's had him.  His first night at our house was rough.  He cried and wandered.  Boudreaux followed him trilling low in his throat and purring.  About daybreak they decided to sleep.  Since then, they've done well. Yesterday Boots followed me to Mom's house to check on things.  When he realized she wasn't there, he ran back to our house and waited at the front door for me to return. 
 
We were awakened by two very distraught cats this morning. It seems there was a female in heat moaning outside our window. Boots was at the foot of our bed and Boudreaux as close to me as possible. Both had huge eyes and were NOT leaving the bed until someone did something to help the poor kitty who was obviously in pain. The two boys have been neutered and have NO idea what's going on, but they don't like it. Boo tried to explain the "facts of life" to the cats. Now, that was a priceless moment...I caught the end of his discussion, "Don't look at me like that! I'm not making this up, you know!"
 
Three
 
I've become pretty adept at smoothies and milkshakes this week.  I haven't really felt like cooking.  Since Mom was gone, I cheated and just made simple things.  This morning I made a spinach,, tomato and cheese omlette with a fruit salad.  I was impressed with myself.  Boo wasn't.  He lobbied for a strawberry smoothie...which he will get for lunch along with a grilled cheese sandwich.  It's amazing how many different combinations of healthy smoothies I managed to create this week.  The only one Boo disliked was orange, peach, carrot and wheat grass.  He tried to feed it to two very finicky cats who refused to even sniff it. 
 
Four
 
Elizabeth celebrated her twenty-third birthday last Sunday.  (You remember her.  You prayed for her last fall when she was having chemo.)  Sunday was the first time I'd spoken to Elizabeth since we moved back.  As usual, she was positive and upbeat...and busy helping others at her birthday reception after church.  She is a joy and an inspiration.
 
Last night Elizabeth's sister posted,
 
"I always knew my sister was born to kick ass! She's been kickin' mine since she was born. Little did I know she wasn't made that tough to handle me but to kick cancer's ass not once but TWICE. Liz starts the second round of her fight next week.

I tell you once thing, whether its showing me tough love, opening her heart fully to strangers or sadly now battling cancer again...she kicks ass at it!"
 
Please add Elizabeth and her family to your prayers once again.
 
Caroline, Elizabeth and their Mom at Elizabeth's birthday reception last Sunday.
Five
 
I had planned to wash clothes and hang them on the clothes line today.  (Does anyone else hang out clothes or am I the only one anymore?)  I think maybe I was a little optimistic.  It's just after 10 am here and I'm exhausted.  Still, there's nothing more satisfying than the smell of clothes dried outside...except for the smell of baking bread.  If I hang my clothes on the line, will you gather them in later?
 
Six
 
I've been reading light things this week.  I've read a book by Erma Bombeck aloud to Boo and parts of one by Dick van Dyke.  Boo wanted something deeper.  I couldn't handle deep discussions this week.  In fact, I haven't had many discussions at all.  Mostly, I've slept or just vegetated.  Boo watched something on TV last night that he wanted to discuss.  Not me, I curled up and closed my eyes. 
 
This morning Boo had a solution.  As soon as Mom comes back from her trip, the two of them can listen to an Audible book and discuss it.  I wish that would work, but they have very different tastes in books.  Right now, Mom's enjoying old Harlequin romances from the 50's and early 60's.  Not exactly Boo's cup of tea.  This week end, I simply must take the time to listen to a book with Boo and discuss it.
 
Seven
 
There was a quote on Facebook that has stuck with me all week.  "A true leader isn't one who achieves victory at any cost, but one who keeps the group together until victory is attained."  That is the kind of leader I want to be...the kind who can instill such love and commitment in a group that they work together to achieve a common goal.  Once you've accomplished your goal, you still have your relationship with your group...a double victory!
 
That's it for thinking!  Now, out to the clothes line!  Have a great week end!
 
Join Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.
 
 







Sunday, May 5, 2013

This Is My Call


This is my call.

This is my vocation.

This is my witness to the world.”


This past Friday I stumbled upon Joy of 9, a blog written by Melanie Jean Juneau. On her blog header is the quote above. That quote spoke directly to my heart. I collect quotes and have several books full of phrases that are meaningful to me. This is the first one that “fit” me so perfectly.


Recently a friend, a young mother, encouraged me to go to work, to do something meaningful and important with my life. She caught me in one of my sleep deprived states. I could barely string a coherent sentence together, much less give her a reasoned defense of my choice to quit work and care for my husband after his second stroke and recently, to move closer to my Mother and care for her as well.


I know my heart. I know this is where I am supposed to be right now. I know I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Explaining it is another matter. No matter how I try, the end result sounds “holier than thou.” That is definitely something that I'm not. My faults and failings are all too obvious.



Melanie simply, succinctly and humbly said just what I felt and had been unable to verbalize. At this point in my life I am called to care for my husband and my mother. I am very grateful to be able to do so. This truly is my vocation. This is my witness to the world. It isn't a flashy or popular decision. It probably doesn't look like a particularly smart move to many people. I won't be accomplishing great things or moving mountains. Instead, as Mother Teresa said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” These small things imperfectly done, but done with love are my witness to the world. Usually it's just a quiet, invisible witness...but it's the one I'm called to make.

Join Jenni in her Blog Every Day in May Challenge.  Join also with The Sunday Community, Spiritual Sundays, Sabbath Moments and Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday for more wonderful posts.



Friday, May 3, 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday # 19

One
 
I forgot today was Friday!
 
I'd thought all week about this post...and then the day I should write it, I completely forget until night time.  Oh well, the best laid plans and all that.
 
Besides forgetting the day of the week, I've managed to accomplish quite a lot this week.  Most of my time seems to be spent helping Mom or Boo.  Still, in the midst of running back and forth, I did manage to clear some things from my growing to do list.
 
I painted my milk crate type plastic boxes, hung sheers in the living room and valences in the kitchen, vacuumed and cleaned house twice, prepared meals for Mom, Boo and myself all week, learned to use the basic functions on our "new" convection stove, washed umpteen loads of clothes and paid bills.  I'm progressing.
 
Two
 
I spent the afternoon battling the wisteria taking over my little flower garden.  I began with a love for wisteria and a desire to contain it's wild growth.  Four hours, two broken nails and a lot of tears later, I'm not so sure I like wisteria at all.  It's kind of like kudzu.  It just takes over.  One of our neighbors told me to saw it down, but that even that wouldn't kill it.  He did say that when it began growing back that I could train it to go where I want it to go.  We'll see.  I'm not convinced that wisteria is trainable at this point. 
 
The score today was Kari 0, Wisteria 1.  Just as soon as I uncover an appropriate saw that will change!
 
Three
 

Today is National Scrapbooking Day...I think.  It seems to be the beginning of a week end of scrapbooking product sales, contests and give aways.  I'm pumped!  I thoroughly enjoy digital scrapbooking.  Not that I've done any since I moved.  That's about to change!  I feel scrapbooking fever about to descend.  Watch out!  I'm taking new photos and scanning old ones...and stealing photos from friends to scrap.  No one is safe.
 
I have begun taking photos of Mom's treasures and getting her to tell me about them.  I've made audio recordings of her talking about her mother's pie safe and how she and Daddy found the apothecary chest.  Originally, I planned to make a scrapbook of Mom's treasures for her and I will.   I may also make a video for my children and nieces and nephews of her treasures with her voice.  That would be something to build and hold on to memories.
 
Four
 
Tomorrow afternoon is going to be interesting.  Mom and I have to take our Boudreaux and her Boots to a rabies clinic.  I'm not sure just how this is going to work.  Both cats are afraid of dogs.  So they'll both be in carriers.  Boots loves to ride in the car.  Don't ask.  He just does.  He doesn't like to be in a carrier.  Boudreaux, on the other hand, has never met a car he liked.  He doesn't mind his carrier...though dogs and vets, especially vets with needles, are on his list of things to be avoided at all costs.  I'm not looking forward to this excursion!
 
Five
 
Tuesday Mom, Boo and I went town and had our hair cut.  This may not be a momentous occasion to most people, but it was for us!  Mom finally decided to try getting her hair cut and styled again.  Her beautiful white hair is getting rather sparse and she's worn a wig for quite a while.  After trying some special shampoos to thicken her hair, she was willing to try.  Mom looks beautiful!  With summer coming up, she'll be so much cooler.
 
Boo has developed a deep seated fear of hair salons in the past year.  I was ready for major problems.  My only consolation was that we were less than two blocks from the local hospital that we really like.  Boo walked in, sat to have his hair cut, answered questions the stylist asked him and then proceeded to initiate a conversation with her.  I was shocked! 
 
After we got our hair cut, we went to the pharmacy.  Boo elected to sit in the car while Mom and I ran inside.  He asked what he could do.  So, I handed him Mom's wig and told him to hold his mother-in-law's hair.  Boo took the wig very gingerly in two fingers, but the look he gave me was priceless.  When I came back from the pharmacy, Boo looked at me very seriously and said, "No one wanted G'ma's wig.  I asked."  Was he really trying to give her wig away?
 
ich
Six
 
One of the few things that I really disliked about our home was the stove.  It was apartment sized, which I could live with, and the oven didn't work, which is an issue for someone who likes to bake.  I could easily make do with what I had because Mom's oven works just fine and she certainly isn't using it.  Then, this week Mom and I found a stove at one of her favorite places here, a used furnature and auction shop.  Mom was thrilled.  I looked at the stove from a distance and liked it.  William delivered it a few hours later.  It's a regular size stove which does make our small kitchen look smaller, but it's a Kitchen Aid with a convection oven!  My dream stove!  It works beautifully, except for the light at the top of the stove and the oven light which I can easily replace.  Let the baking begin!!!!
 
Seven
 



Charlotte has come to live at our house...at least I hope it's a writing spider like Charlotte.  For several nights there's been a large spider's web complete with spider beside our back door.  Every morning, it's no where to be found.  Well, there is a thread, but no web.  If this is indeed a writing spider, I understand that one could conceivably follow the thread back to Charlotte's hiding place.  That is, if one wasn't terrified of spiders.  I am terrified. 
 
Here are several photos of Charlotte's murderous activities last night.  Yeah, I know they're fuzzy.  To begin with, I was shaking.   Both spiders were also moving.  Well, until Charlotte murdered the intruder.  Then only one was moving. 
 












 
 
Join Jenn at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes...without spider photos.



Boo's Uncomfortable!

Since Boo's third stroke, the number of situations that he finds uncomfortable has definitely increased.  His ability to handle these discomforts has decreased dramatically.  There are wonderful days when Boo is feeling well physically and safe emotionally, when he is showing few signs of dementia.  Those are his good days.  Days when he can face the world head on.  Days when he initiates conversations with strangers.  When new situations are less troublesome. 

This past Tuesday was one of Boo's wonderfully good days.  For several months I've tried to get Boo's hair cut.  On three separate occasions we made it into the hair salon, got him ready to have his hair cut...and he panicked.  The last of those times he was so upset that it took two friends and myself to lead/carry/wrangle him back to the car before he could calm down.  Tuesday, we tried again.  Boo had never been to this hair salon and I was prepared for all kinds of trouble.  Instead, he walked in, sat down, allowed me to tell the stylist how I wanted his hair cut and then shocked us all by answering questions she asked him and, most surprising, by initiating a conversation with her.

More often, Boo's days are littered with fears, with difficulty expressing himself, with confusion and disorientation and uncertainty.  Usually at some point every day, Boo simply cannot find the words he needs.  For a man who'd always had a rich and varied vocabulary and who loved to have deep conversations with friends about anything and everything, this is a hard pill to swallow.  Immediately after his third stroke, he began falling asleep in the middle of a conversation when he was at a loss for words.  I suppose the only way he could deal with this frustration was to completely block it out.  To cope now, a couple of years after his last stroke, he just throws his hands up in the air.  Boo still follows the conversation and will sometimes vigorously nod or shake his head, but seldom tries to speak again. 

One of our blessings is Boo's attitude.  He's almost always positive and happy.  That, more than anything, helps lessen the impact of uncomfortable situations.  When he couldn't find our bedroom last night, Boo announced that he wanted a new cane, one with a map to the bedroom.  But until we got one, could I please show him where his bed had moved?  

Another coping strategy Boo uses is talking to his cat, Boudreaux.  When he's confused, he'll call his cat and proceed to tell Boudreaux all that's going through his mind.  Maybe it's less of a strain to talk to a very accepting cat who thinks you're wonderful no matter what.  Those conversations with Boudreaux give me quite a lot of insight into what's bothering him.  At times, I can explain whatever is confusing him.  Usually I work to change whatever's bothering him and assure him that I'm trying to make things easier for him. 

One of our most effective weapons in handling Boo's discomfort is a routine and preparation for times when we have to vary his routine.  For instance, if Boo has a doctor's appointment, I begin a week in advance and tell him about that appointment, that we'll leave home right after breakfast and probably return just before lunch.  Each day I'll remind him of this expected change and add a little more.  Perhaps I'll remind him that one of the nurses has a dog named Boudreaux (the same name as his cat) or that I'll have some photos that he can show the staff (that's generally a good way to get him to begin to talk to the nurses or the doctor.)  Often after several days of reminding Boo, he'll begin to remind me to pack his photos or ask what we're eating for lunch when we return. 

Although Boo is limited by the effects of stroke related dementia, we have learned ways to help him cope...at least some of the time.  Other times we just rejoice in the good times and store up memories to carry us through.

 
Join the fun and accept the challenge to Blog Every Day in May.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kari's Micro Autobiography

We'll be attempting to join Jenni at Story of My Life for her Blog Every Day in May Challenge.  I'm not sure how well we'll be able to add this to our schedule.  I'm still struggling to find time to meet Mom and Boo's needs, to complete our home (Is it ever really finished?) and carve out a little time for myself daily.  One more thing?  I don't know, but I'd like to have more consistent blogging time now and I think I can add it if I'm more organized.
 
There's just no way I can condense my life into one meaningful paragraph.
 
I define myself mostly in relation to others...child, wife, mother, sister, friend, co worker, cousin, aunt and, most of all, a child of God.  As long as I can remember that's been the case.  It still is.  For a very long time, I considered this a definite weakness.  As a child and young adult, my self-worth was far too tied to other's perceptions of me.  I had to learn to love and value myself no matter what others thought...something that was extremely difficult and that I still struggle with from time to time. 

Now I can see the strengths in this.  My relationship to someone helps to define the boundaries of that relationship.  Relationships with others enhance my life in so many ways.  I enjoy reading, baking, crocheting and writing, but relationships are what truly enrich my life.  One of the ways God speaks to me is through other people.  I often have a hard time relating to a Spirit.  People I can see and touch, or potentially see and touch, are more accessible to me emotionally.  I think God uses this part of my make up to reach me many times.

As autobiographies go, this one only glances at the surface of who I am.  It does define me emotionally.  The dates, places, people and experiences that are a part of my life...well, they'll have to wait for another time.  This was supposed to be one paragraph or about 250 words.  I write too much...just as I talk too much.  Oh well...
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch # 6

1.  When it's time to cut the grass/mow the lawn, who does it?

Kari:  Bobby mows our yard and Mom's yard.  I have cut the grass in years past, but it's not my favorite chore.  Somehow, running between our house and Mom's, I doubt I'd manage the lawns well right now. 

Boo:  Some nice guy did and he popped Kari's dandelions.  I don't think she was happy.  Bobby did pop some of my dandelions.  I really enjoy battering and frying dandelion blooms.  Yummy!  I also add new dandelion leaves to salads in the spring or steep the leaves for a tea rich in minerals.  Please don't pop or poison my dandelions!

2.  If someone gave you $500 and you could not spend it on yourself.  Who would you spend it on?

Kari:  That's tough!  I'd probably split it between several charities...I think.  On the other hand, several friends are having a really rough time financially.  If I could give them the money in such a way that they never knew who'd given it, I might choose that.

Boo:  Food for the hungry.   I think Boo's getting hungry himself.  He refused breakfast earlier.  I guess he's finally thinking about food now.

3.  Have you ever taken a blogging break or considered one?

Kari:  Yes, when life is too hectic, I have taken blogging breaks.  Life trumps blogging. 

Boo:  Only if Kari does.  I don't blog.  She types what I tell her.  We tried Dragon software that would enable him to speak and the computer would type what he said.  Evidently neither he nor the software liked the idea. 

4.  Are you bothered by spring allergies or hay fever?  If not spring, any other time of the year?

Kari:  I'm allergic to the pollen of certain trees.   I haven't been bothered this year.  For me there seems to be a direct correlation between a low immune system and allergies.  At present, my immune system is functioning well.

Boo:  I don't think so.  

5.  What's new with you?

Kari:  New?  Well, I had a fight with our bed last night.  I tried to put a board under my side of the mattress to make it firmer.  Now I waited until 10 pm to start this project and determined that it was a one woman project.  By 12:30 am, I'd begun waving a white flag.  I couldn't get the mattress top in place without moving the board around.  It didn't help that the board is four or five inches too long for the bed.  Guess who's tired this morning?

Boo:  I guess getting my hair cut.  Kari says I have to and we couldn't reach Melinda to come to the house to cut my hair.  So, after lunch, G'ma (Kari's mother), Kari and I are going to get our hair cut and buy oatmeal.  Well, the theory is that Mom will be home from the auction in time to eat lunch and then we'll all go get our hair cut and buy a few groceries.  I guess in Boo's mind groceries equal oatmeal.

Join Patrice at Everyday Ruralty for more chats!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Daybook 2013


FOR TODAY...

Outside my window...
it's dark and wet and chilly. We've had a very rainy day today with unseasonably cold weather. Mother noted that it's warmer in Vermont than it is here in North Carolina today. That doesn't happen too often.

I am thinking...
about all the things I need to do before bed. In fact, I've taken ibuprofen to help my aching joints before I begin. I need to straighten the house, about thirty minutes. Then I need to wash dishes, about ten minutes. Vacuuming the house will take another forty or fifty minutes. This carpet shows everything. I'd just like to start the week with a relatively clean house.

I am thankful...
for my family and friends most of all. They are wonderful, supportive and very loving. This week I'm also thankful for my new vacuum cleaner. It has quite a bit of suction and seems to work far better than my old one. It removes dust and dirt that Mom's vacuum (which I'd borrowed) left behind. Who knew I'd ever get excited about a vacuum?

In the kitchen...
are the remains of supper. We had chicken gumbo, hopping john and rice with reduced sugar carrot cake for desert.



This is a photo of part of our kitchen. I've always liked old country homes with bead board walls. This wall in our kitchen houses our dishes, lots of spices, cat food, kitchen and table linens, some packaged foods and food items I'm hiding from Boo (so he won't eat too much of them.)

The bird mugs are very special to me. Over forty years ago, we moved to a small town in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. Granny Galyon, one of the wonderful shut-ins at the church my father pastored, gave us those mugs for Christmas one year. She told Daddy not long after we'd moved that she “prayed him here.” Knowing Granny Galyon, I'm sure she was right. She may not have been able to get out and do things that she had when she was younger, but she certainly was a prayer warrior.

I am wearing...
black capris, a leopard print pullover with three quarter sleeves, a black sweater and black ballet slippers. For once, I'm color coordinated! I'd likely be in knock about clothes right now, but Mother and I took dinner to Mrs. Gloria, a very sweet shut-in. She and Mrs. Gloria used to go out to eat every Sunday. When my father and her husband were alive, they were a foursome.

Boo has on blue sweat pants, a gray sweat shirt and bedroom slippers. He's refused to leave the house today and just wants to be comfortable.

I am creating...
little touches to make our house feel like home. We've been here just over a month and love it. Still, it's the little things that make a house just feel homey.


I wanted to hang paintings and photos that are meaningful to us. The first two paintings are some that Mom painted in the 1980's. They remind me of my parents painting in the evenings and during holidays to relax.





One of Boo's daughter's gave him this Cajun print for Christmas years ago. Many Cajun children went to school as late as the 1940's and 50's speaking Cajun French as their first language. Boo remembers family members speaking French and stumbling over English. One of his cousins had a Cajun French radio show for years.



This ceramic powder dish was made for Mother by her mother, my Granny Hall. Granny Hall set a wonderful example of living a full, productive and creative life while caring for Papa who was an invalid. She took all kinds of craft classes though the agricultural extension department. Every year for Christmas, all her grandchildren were given something she'd made. One year it was afghans made from beautiful hand towels crocheted together. Another, it was crocheted scarves and tams. Mother received this ceramic powder dish for Christmas.



We've framed and hung several lovely drawings by grandchildren. I'm in the process of framing photos of family members. We also set up an altar in the living room as a reminder to pray daily. Boo rearranges it several times daily. Later I'll take and post more photos.

I am going...
to call Mom's primary doctor to find out when her next appointment is, what the results of her tests were and to set an appointment for Boo. Doctor's appointments and recording home medical records seem to be my job.

I am wondering...
just when I'm going to find time to do everything that I need to do. My to do list seems to grow longer daily. Just how did my grandmothers take care of their homes, husbands and other family members?

I am reading...
A Philadelphia Catholic in King James Court.

Boo is listening to an autobiography of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

I am hoping...
to contact Sr. Sheila at Sacred Heart Catholic Mission or the priest at the sponsoring church about receiving Eucharist at home. Boo is unwilling to leave home often. He becomes confused easily at home and even more easily away from his comfort zone.

I am learning...
to pace myself. I may not accomplish all I want every day. However if I try to fill my day with all the things I think I need to do, I neglect the truly important---actually spending unhurried time with Boo and Mother.

Around the house...
all is currently quiet. That won't last long. As soon as I put on pajamas, Boo and Boudreaux will awaken.

I am pondering...
how to curtail some of my Mother's overly ambitious projects in such a way that she doesn't feel uninvolved or slighted. She doesn't have the stamina she once had...and neither do I. I'm having difficulty keeping up with her projects. They all seem to involve my participation. Maybe we need to concentrate on those that are most important to her or maybe I need to sit down with her and list what needs to be done when (and by whom) for each of her projects. Then perhaps we can delegate some parts to others.

This is what happens when she attempts too much. Mom ends up napping on “Boudreaux's” bed with him. This is actually our “little” bedroom that is set up for Mom should she want to use it. Boudreaux just claims the bed for day time naps.





A favorite quote for today...
My past, O Lord, to your mercy;
my present, to your love;
my future, to your providence.”
St. Padre Pio

One of my favorite things...
recently is to collapse on the loveseat in our den/dining room and enjoy some peach tea---iced if it's hot out and hot if it's cold out.

One of Boo's favorite things recently is to sit on our front porch and wave at people who pass on the street. He hasn't wanted to talk to any of them and tends to respond to them in monosyllables. At least he's willingly doing that. I think he'll become more talkative as he becomes use to the new faces he's seeing.

A peek into my day...



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