There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 30 December 2013

 
Outside my window...it is a very gloomy day.  Thank God that we had an awesome visit from Aunt ReNee', Caiti, and Erin to brighten it up.
 
I am thinking...the love that exists between members of my family and the way that it is demonstrated.
 
I am thankful for...the love and support of a husband who leaves home and work to help care for my mother.
 
From the kitchen...tuna steaks, rice, broccoli, and a large green salad are all on the menu tonight.
 
I am wearing...jeans and a brown tee shirt.
 
I am going...to be working like an elf in Santa's workshop trying to get MK's birthday gift done so I can ship it in time for the big day. (probably won't happen but hey I can try)
 
I am reading...nothing!  There is too much to do and far too much to pay attention to for me to get lost in a book.
 
I am hoping....that MK has the best birthday yet.  Have I mentioned that she is the sweetest daughter a woman could have?
 
I am hearing...Johnny Mathis singing in the livingroom, Doug out in the garage working on some project, and the blue jays out back fighting over their quota of sunflower seeds.
 
Around the house...things are quiet, far too quiet!  I either need a toddler or a puppy to liven things up.
 
One of my favorite things...working beside the man that I married and knowing that what we are doing is what we should be doing.
 
A few plans for the rest of the week....finish MK's gift and ship it, work on a commission, mass for the holy day, lots of the usual home and household tasks, and just generally see to the responsibilities of my state in life.
 
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
 
The peace and joy of Christmas spent with the ones that you love cannot be over emphasized.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 23 December 2013

 
Outside my window...it is dark.  Though I usually do this post first thing in the morning today I didn't get that chance. 
 
I am thinking...about family and all that the word and concept means to me.
 
I am thankful for...the man that sleeps beside me every night, who stands beside me in all of the trials of life, who not only vowed to love me but who really does.
 
From the kitchen...there will be plenty of good things to be had by all who come to this house during the Christmas season.
 
I am wearing...sweats and a tee shirt.
 
I am going...to go to bed soon and sleep like Santa does before his big night.
 
I am reading...not a thing.  I finished the book by Father Delp and haven't even thought of starting anything new yet.
 
I am hoping...that somehow my mother manages to have a happy Christmas.  Even though she doesn't seem to understand what is going on she can still get some happiness out of the time with family if she lets herself.
 
I am hearing...the sound of the program that Doug and mom are watching on the TV, the water running in the ice maker in the kitchen, and an airplane taking off from the airport that is not far from here.
 
Around the house...everything is ready for the celebration of the Christmas season to commence.
 
One of my favorite thing...the sights and smells that are associated with the celebration of Christmas and the times that the family has all been together.
 
A few plans for the rest of the week....making merry and seeing to it that the birth of Christ is well and truly commemorated in this house.
 
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
 
Our Christmas tree.  Small by Kraeger family standards but it is the best we can do this year.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 16 December 2013


Outside my window...once again the south teases  me and presents me with a very heavy frost.  Although snow is not my favorite form of precipitation  at  this  time  of year  it would  be nice to wake up and suddenly have a couple of  inches  on  the  ground.

I am  thinking...about the role that prayer  and faith in God plays in  our lives.  Acts  of piety must be real and sincere  I  have decided  (actually I knew it all along  but  it has been brought home to me that this is a true thing).  Satan will find whatever means he can to work his wiles on all of us.

I am  thankful for...churches that have masses  late in the evening on  a Sunday,  husbands who  love unconditionally and completely, and phones with GPS!

From the kitchen...leftovers will  be on the menu.  This cook is recovering from  a weekend long bout of the two bucket disease and cannot imagine doing any cooking  yet.

I am wearing...sweats.  My sweet man let me sleep in this  morning so it is a  slow start for all of  us.

I am going...to  ship  our a couple of packages, take mom to the doctor, and finish up a couple  of projects today.

I am reading...Father Delp.  I am way behind where I should be in the book but  getting so much out of what he has to say!

I am  hoping...so many things  I  can even put into words  here.   When  all  else fails hope, my  friends  is all  we have!

I am  hearing...the sounds my mother  makes when she is  eating and actually likes what I have  put in front of her, an airplane taking  of from  the little regional  airport outside the development where we live, and the dogs  next  door barking  because the  school  bus  has stopped  up on the next  street.

Around the house...there is a waiting air.  I have done my best to gradually decorate and prepare for the coming of Christ at  Christmas   The stable that my dad built is out and waits the presence  of the holy couple, the tree is  set  up and  sports an angel willing to proclaim  "Peace on Earth  to men of  good will!"

One of my favorite things...sitting of an evening in my husband's arms enjoying the silence  and warmth  of the home that we have made.

A few  plans for  the rest  of the week...somehow I have to get some baking done  (we will observe our Christmas traditions!), get the house clean, and finish the decorating  all while taking care of mom and seeing to it that she doesn't go behind me undoing all  that I have  done.


Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you.....






Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 9 December 2013

 
Outside my window...it is dark.  Doug and Mom are in bed and I am taking some quiet time to myself to look at pics of home and think about those who are far away.
 
I am thinking...about those who populate my life.  The family that I enjoy here in the South and the family that I left behind in the north.  How I miss my other mamas back in Verona and my dear daughters in Vernon.  I never knew that the need for a hug from my grandbabies could become something physical and so strong that it aches where my heart ought to be.
 
I am thankful for...the man that God has blessed me with.  There is no way that I could make this journey without the love of both God and my dear husband.
 
From the kitchen...we enjoyed chicken done with citrus fruit and rosemary in the crockpot along with mashed potatoes, squash and corn.  Tomorrow I think I will do something simple like meatloaf.
 
I am wearing...flannel jammies.
 
I am going...to bed as soon as I am done here.
 
I am reading...Father Alfred Delp.  His writings are so interesting and timely that I think it may take me longer than this season of Advent to get through this whole book.
 
I am hoping...that my mother wakes up in a better frame of mind tomorrow than she did today.
 
I am hearing...the sound of the furnace warming the house, the cars going by on the highway outside of the neighborhood, and the dog next door barking at something or other.
 
Around the house...there is a waiting presence.  Ever since we moved in here this house has whispered to me that it is waiting but for what I do not know.
 
One of my favorite things...the hush that comes when the fog settles in around here and the rain starts to fall.
 
A few plans for the rest of the week...tomorrow we have to go to the holy day mass at noon.  Mom has PT twice this week along with visits from the nurse.  Tomorrow is Doug's birthday and I am planning on taking him out in the evening.  Wednesday will be the internment of my father's ashes.  That makes for a busy week for all of us.
 
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

My dear sweet daughter riding Rocco.
 
 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 2 December 2013


Outside my window...the sun is trying to shine.  According to the weather prognosticators today is supposed  to be warm and sunny.  Time will tell.

I am thinking...how the seasons of life and of the year, at least in my case, bear no resemblance to each other.  I think that I am supposed to be in the autumn of my life, translate slowining down.   That however doesn't seem to be the case in my life.  Things seem to be getting more and more hectic as the days go on.  I can  only surmise that God feels I need to be more active rather than less so.  Brings to mind that song from The Sound of Music.  You know the lyrics:  " Perhaps I had a wicked childhood...."

I am thankful for...a husband who gets up in the night with his mother-in-law so I can sleep, who installs drawer and cupboard latches so she will be safe, and who holds me when I cry just because I need to.

From the kitchen...spaghetti and meatballs tonight.  Uncle John  is coming in from Texas and this sister know it is one of his favs!

I am wearing...a burgundy linen jumper and a white tee.

I am going...to take Mom out for a pedicure today.  I am interested in seeing her reaction to that procedure.  I for one am looking forward  to that pampering.

I am reading...Father Alfred Delp's  Advent of the Heart.

I am  hoping...that my mother shows some recognition when my brother shows up.  It is something of a shock when she acts like they are total strangers to her.  

I am hearing...Doug working to install the latches on  the drawers  in the kitchen, the dryer working on its first load of the day, and some Christmas music playing in the background.

Around the house...everything is clean and neat (ok the floors need attention but I can get past  that) which makes me feel like I can turn my attention to other more diverting pasttimes.

One of my favorite things...Christmas music.  I admit it. I  could listen to it  all  year.   I refrain only for the sake of my family.  

A few  plans for the rest of the week...live each and every day as if I am going to meet my maker tomorrow.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with  you...


Yesterday was the first day of the Advent season.  Let us all spend the next 22 days preparing our hearts for the coming of the Savior of the world.  The only way to adequately make way for his coming is by emptying ourselves of the world so that there is plenty of room for the divine.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 25 November 2013

Outside my window...the sun has been trying to shine all day long.  It is quite chilly out  for the southland, 41 but not altogether unpleasant for this displaced northerner.

I am thinking...about the care that my mother needs and the effort that it takes to communicate to others our idea of caring for her as opposed to trying to restore her to some imagined degree of health that is totally impossible.  

I am thankful for...a family that is all on the same page about how much we want to put mom through when  it comes to  healthcare.

From the kitchen...mom enjoyed a chicken salad sandwich for her lunch and there will be pork chops on the  menu for supper.

I am wearing...sweats and a tee shirt.  After coming home from mom's appointment  I changed and took a long walk in the brisk air.

I am going...to start a load of laundry and marinade the chops so that supper can be on the table in a timely fashion.

I am reading...nothing yet but two new books came in the mail today that I have selected for my Advent reading which I plan on starting tonight.  Advent of the Heart by Father Alfred Delp and Alfred Delp, SJ Prison  Writings

I am  hoping...that my mother continues to be comfortable and happy for the last months  or years of her life.

I am  hearing...Doug listening to a youtube video  in the kitchen, Steve and Mom talking in the kitchen, and the BlueJays calling outside.

Around the house...it is quiet  and companionable.

One of my favorite things....is getting things done on time which is not happening lately.  But I am  learning a little bit of patience while I am on this ride that I boarded.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Thanksgiving! Need I say more?

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...


I think this has become one of my favorite pictures of Savannah.  This little girl has more personality and attitude  than any kid that I have ever encountered.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

     It's a funny thing about the human mind and how it works.  When children are young they need to be molded and taught how to think, reason, and process information so that they can function in the world.  Their personalities and wills have to be disciplined so that their reason eventually triumphs over the impulses of their lower natures.  (Hey MK  that sounded  pretty good  didn't it?)  Later  in life especially when afflicted  with a  disease that breaks down all of that training it is an interesting and often frustrating thing to watch the reverse become true.

     By now anyone  reading my blog knows that my Mother has dementia (or senile dementia  as it used to be called)  and my husband and I have  packed  up our lives to move south to care  for her.  What  a mind blowing situation and also how self-revealing!

     The woman who used to epitomize control, and yes at times  coldness, is now the epitome of childishness and irrational behavior.  She operates completely on impulse and desire and it is often a shock to me to witness.  A good example would be when we took her for groceries shortly after arriving in the southland.  My mom was in search of a particular kind of cracker that she not only liked but hoarded like Scrooge hoards his gold.  We got to the section of the cracker isle of Bi-Lo where they could be found and she proceeds to open a box to make sure that the contents are what she wants.  I was not only shocked but stunned into silence (yes Kraeger children you read it here).  When I found my voice I hissed  at her, "Mother  you cannot do that!"   Her response was equally emphatic, "But I want to."  When she determined that those were indeed the crackers that she wanted she put the opened box back on the shelf and selected two identical unopened boxes and put them  in the cart.  When I took the box that she had opened off the shelf to put in the cart she was adamant about not buying "damaged" packaged.  My mother would not hear of the fact that she was the one who had "damaged" that box of crackers.  I can tell you that when I was a child I would have been slapped and roundly scolded for even touching anything in the store let alone opening a box of crackers.

     I don't record these illustrations to mock or to make my mother look bad though.  The disease is so totally in control of this woman that I am daily convinced  that there is little or none of my mother left in  there.  Granted we occasionally see clues that she is very much there.  Though she has only called me by name twice since we have been here her treatment of me has been characteristic of a lifetime of animosity against  women.  By the same token, though she continues to call my husband by my late father's name, her reaction to him has also been characteristic of her reaction to the men in her life.  I expect that in the future  as she deteriorates further my mother will completely disappear  and the disease will take over completely.  Until then I will  try to laugh when things are amusing and find something amusing when things are frustrating.  God bless my dear husband for his continued love and patience in this situation.




   

Scratching my head and figuring things out

     Well here we are settled into Mom's house, she is home from  the hospital, and we have already had the visiting nurse out to...visit.  I can tell that along with the treatment for the congestive heart failure and the UTI her dementia is improving somewhat (fear not I am  under no illusion as to the extent of that happening).  My whole point  in,  ahem,  pointing this out,  is that my dearest Mother is exhibiting next  to normal behaviors  and attitudes.  Wait, let me change that to Attitude with a capital "A."

      My mother has always been an extremely determined  woman (translation: stubborn).  Yesterday I got the clue that her dementia was a bit better when I went into the bedroom to get her up from her nap.  Her reaction to my presence was a resounding "No!" and a swing of the left arm that would have connected with the side of my head if I hadn't been prepared for it.  Then later in the afternoon when the visiting nurse came she showed the next very definitive clue that she was very much with it.  When asked to set a goal for her care Mom refused to reply, crossing her arms and setting her jaw in a way that her children would find very familiar.  When I suggested that getting dressed all  by herself be a possible goal she said a flat out and very emphatic, "No!" That was the end of her cooperation with the nurse for the rest of the interview and her treatment of me went from  cordial to downright hostile for the rest of the evening.  Yep, Mom's back!  Hooray for modern medicine.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A couple of family favorites

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  So close in fact that I can practically smell the turkey cooking!   My daughter-in-law Kim has requested two recipes that she has had at my house more than  once.  They happen to be a couple of Jason's favorites and I know that she wants to make them for his Thanksgiving.  Since we live hundreds of miles apart I thought I would post them here for her to copy down and share them with the rest of you folks.

Broccoli Casserole

5 C broccoli
8 oz Velveeta (cubed)
1/4 C butter (melted)
1/4 lb. Ritz crackers (crushed)
1/4 C butter (melted)
     Cook broccoli until 1/2 done: drain.  stir in cheese and 1/4 C butter.  Pour into buttered  casserole. Toss crackers with melted butter.  Spoon onto broccoli.
Bake at 350 20-30 minutes


Pea Casserole

1 lb. frozen peas heated through but not thoroughly cooked.
1 can cream  of mushroom soup
1 C Velveeta chesse cubed
2 hard boiled eggs chopped up
     Combine all ingredients in buttered casserole.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  I like to top with Ritz crackers crushed up and mixed with melted butter.

Enjoy and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 18 November 2013





Outside my window...it is dark and not likely to get any lighter for many hours.  The sun has finally set on this long and stressful day and I am very grateful to God for that fact.

I am thinking...about the reverses that are inevitable in all of our lives.  I wonder what it will be like when one of my children has to take the position of parenting me.

I am thankful...for the daily wonder and revelation of the depth of the man that I married.  While I was gone to the hospital with mom this man that I married spent the day fixing  whatever he  came across that needed repair and continued to unpack from our recent move.  I love you beyond words Douglas Kraeger.

From the kitchen...my sister produced chicken soup for Mom's supper  and now that the larder has been restocked tomorrow looks a lot better for all of us.

I am wearing....warm comfy pajamas.  Not that I am not perfectly at home in whatever I wear but today I longed to take off jeans and get into something that spelled stay at home and not go out again.

I am going...to stay at home tomorrow! I think that I have had enough driving, moving, traveling, and otherwise visiting new places for a good long time.

I am reading...the piles of literature that the hospital gave me concerning congestive heart failure, how to cook for a cardiac patient, and what to look for and what to do if there is an emergency.  (do you know how to dial 911?)

I am hoping...that we can have some peace, stability, order, and routine for a good long time.  

I am hearing...the twins sounds of my husband snoring beside me and my mother snoring across the hall.  Both of those sounds are strangely reassuring.

Around the house...things  are beginning to get into shape.  We are slowly finding places for everything and everything is getting in its place.  Home is where my husband and I are together and I am pleased to say that we  are adjusting well to this house.

One of my favorite things...knowing that those who belong in the house are all present and accounted for.  It gives me a sense of completeness to know that when the doors are locked for the night the house is holding all those that it should hold.

A few plans for the rest of the week...finish getting the house put together, conquer mount washmore, get mom comfortable and adjusted back to her own home and routine.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...



My sweet  little Savannah modeling her shiny pink boots.  Boy do  I miss those little people of mine.



Friday, November 15, 2013

Packing up our troubles in our old kit bag

     I have always been a rooted person.  Plant me somewhere and the roots will grow and go deep.  I think that it has already been established that change is anathema to me.  With all that being said here we are packing up all our worldly possessions into a UHaul truck for the second time in a month.  "You want I should just shoot myself and be done with it?"  That's kind of how I feel about this carnival ride that I have been on.

       So, this  past week we are having a normal time of it keeping mom well fed, happy, and safe from falling into any mop pails and the next thing we know she winds up in the hospital.  What started out as a routine urgent care visit to get a UTI taken care of and to scope out a family doctor turns into, "Your mom may be in heart failure and she needs to be taken to the hospital like, now!"

         While I am jumping on that little merry go round to see where it is going to take me I get an email from a sibling asking for signatures on a rental agreement and payment of rent and utilities starting at the end of the week, thank you very much!

     They say that when God closes a door somewhere he opens a window.  I say be sure to look out the window before you jump.  You never know if there is a ladder waiting for you to climb down or a trampoline.  This week's window is brought to you by  flubber.  We just  keep bouncing up and down and I am not sure where or when we get off.

     The decision has been made to pack up  and move out  of my brother's house  since it is a far greater thing to be unemployed and homeless than to be  simply unemployed.  Actually we will be moving into my mother''s  house and that thought carries with it all kinds of humor, irony, and downright angst!  I remember when Doug and I were married my folks jokingly saying that I was to remember that there would be no "going back home to mother" if we ever had any problems.  I am here to submit that the laugh is  on them.  Not only am I going back home to mother but I am bringing hubby with me and mother isn't going to be the queen of the castle!  To quote one of my father's oft used phrases,  "How do you like them apples?"

       All  humor and   bellyaching aside though, ain't it the truth that God has a sense of humor and an unusual one at that?  It is not enough that Mom is in the hospital and I have to spend nights there (can you say trying to sleep in a plastic covered recliner?) but the packing has to be done and other details have to be attended to.  Thank you God for a husband who cooly and calmly swings into action and just gets the job done.  His daily mantra has to be, "God has a reason for this."  (no kidding it really is.  If I've heard him say it once....well you know the rest)

     So here I sit in a hospital room listening to my mother snore and occasionally ringing for the nurse to put her heart monitor bak on after she has removed it and I cannot help but ask myself, "I wonder what God was thinking when he set this series of events in motion?"



Monday, November 11, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 11 November 2013



Outside my window...it is dark and chilly.  I have been having computer issues today so I am awfully late doing this post.  It is night dark rather than morning dark.

I am thinking...about obstacles and things that step into our paths to try and test us.  Since I have been here taking care of my mother there have been many obstacles, large and small, for both of us that have tried and tested me.  I  wonder if I am living up to the lessons that these obstacles are meant to teach  me.

I am  thankful for...the husband that God gave me who is willing not only to be  beside  me in this newest trial and adventure but also to love both of us through it all.

From the kitchen...we enjoyed leftover Southwestern Chicken Stew that I made yesterday.  Tomorrow  I will  have to put  my cooking hat back on and come up with something delicious and nutritious.

I am wearing...my third outfit of the day.  I thought that caring for children was a messy thing but this caring for a parent is equally so sometimes.  

I am going.... to lay my head on my pillow tonight knowing that I put in a good and long day in the trenches.  Tomorrow the day will be spent in the sewing room and everyone else here had better find some way of occupying themselves.

I am reading...not a thing!  When is there time to pick up a book to read.

I am hoping...to get the christening dress I am  working on smocked tomorrow and get the embroidery traced out and started.

I am hearing...my wonderful husband in the kitchen washing up the dishes, the furnace blowing reassuring heat into the family room  where I sit writing, and the  TV playing  its noise in the background.

Around the house...all is quiet and settled for the night  Mom has just gone to bed and the peace and quiet is wrapping itself around us.  This evening  Mom looked at us with tears in her eyes and expressed concern because she had no idea where the "little thing that goes in that (gesturing toward the door) is."  Doug gently reassured  her that there was nothing to fear he was  here for the express  purpose of protecting  both her and me and that nothing was going to happen as long as he was here.  I couldn't help but feel the spirit of the house settle around us in agreement as he spoke those words.  It seemed to agree with him and was trying to assure her too.

One of my favorite things...the way that we set our own rhythm so that the peace and security that mom needs is always here.

A few plans for the rest of the week..get mom to see a dr, get  her eyes examined, keep up with my sewing, all the while taking care of my husband and staying close with my Lord and the rest of my family.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

I came across this again and it made me think of Layn.  Poor little dude must  be having a tough time without his  Grandma there to spoil him.







Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rationing Paper Products and Other Adventures in Caring for a Parent

The patience factor is extremely high when it comes to caring for a parent.  When my kids were young and I was seen around town taking all 6 of them shopping or to functions all by myself (my husband being a dairy farmer wasn't often available for during the day activities) observers would automatically assume that I had far more patience than the average mom.   After all why else would I be able to cart all these kids round and keep order without seeming to lose my sanity?   Little did those onlookers know that sanity is one of the things a mother checks at the door of the labor and delivery suite when she has her first child.  But I digress.

Patience is not something that I possess in abundance.  I don't even have a little bit of it.  Humor, scads, patience, not a wit!  The key to raising all those kids was to keep in mind that they were learning, little by little, what was expected of them.  Lessons are never learned on the first try so it was easy to try again the next day, and the next, and so on until they left home.  Caring for a parent is a whole different ball of wax!

Everyday I have a new mantra as a I care for my mother; she has no clue!  Wipe away from your mind any memories of the fastidious, controlled, and proper woman that raised you I keep telling myself.  She's gone somewhere into the mist.  What has been left is a woman who doesn't know the rules of common sense, isn't going to learn them, and doesn't give a hoot. 

 Before I go any further, while this may sound sad, and in a way it is, sad is not what I am.  Amused, yes, fascinated, you bet, but sad not really.  Everyday I wake with the remembrance that biology is doing its darndest to cheat my mother of everything that she was and I am here to make that journey as easy and pleasant as possible.  


So when she goes through a roll of toilet paper a day just because she can and every box of tissues in the house have to be put up high so that they are available if you have a legitimate need I just remind myself that the lessons are there for me to learn and God gave her to me to be the teacher.  Only this time there will be no more spankings with a wooden spoon and she can't ground me for minor infractions.

Today I am refusing to be depressed because we have to "mom proof" the house for her own good and once again all of her underthings have to be washed because she feels the need to wear them all at once I will spend the day thanking God for washers and dryers.  I think that I need to get out my volumes about Mother Theresa and reread them and remember that though my mother is not materially poor, in her present state she might be considered one of "the poorest of the poor."


Monday, November 4, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 4 November 2013



Outside my window...it is dark!  I suspect that dark is going to be my new friend while I walk this road of caring for my mother.  I never was a morning person but now I think that is going to become a 24/7 thing.

I am thinking...that while change may be inevitable there is no rule that says I have to like it or accept it gracefully.

I am thankful for...family! Siblings who understand without being told and who have refrigerators with plenty of beer in them.

From the kitchen...is a good question. I think I will have to wait for inspiration to strike. Let's hope it doesn't take all day about it.

I am wearing...warm and cozy flannel jammies!  We may be in the south but it still gets darn chilly around here at night.

I am going...to put in a full day's work today!  (I'll let you all know how that pans out after the day is over) 

I am reading...you're kidding right!  Between trying to work on commissions and taking care of mom there is no time left over for reading.  I managed to do 11 loads of laundry over the weekend!

I am hoping...to figure out why the quilting machine is out of whack and set it right before I give in to the temptation to throw it through the window!

I am hearing...the distant whistle of a train as it passes by on the tracks, the furnace coming on to blow some warm air into this place, and the now familiar creaks and groans of this young house growing older as it wraps itself around a new family.

Around the house...the other inmates are sleeping and the air has a distinct odor of anticipation as this new day brings its promise with it into the lives of this family.

One of my favorite things...spending the evening having fun with my niece and nephews.

A few plans for the rest of the week...I would like to see all of the smocking on this christening set be done by Wed. so I can start construction.  Tune in later to see if that little plan works out.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

The sight of my granddaughter snuggling with her doll is so right.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reflections on a week of service

Doug and I have been here for two weeks now and it has not only been an adventure but also a time of revelation.  

Doug, my mom, and I are sitting here watching Driving Miss Daisy and it struck me that this movie is a metaphor for my life right now.  As the deterioration of the main character's mind progresses I cannot help but compare her to my mother's deterioration.  In the past two weeks I have watched her cease to know who I am.  There is a spark in her eyes that tells me somewhere deep inside she understands that she is supposed to be close to me but that is as far as it goes this past couple of days.

Over these two weeks my mind and heart have turned down a road of transformation that I knew was coming but my personal map told me it was miles off yet.  This week my mother has become the child and is, by her actions, asking me to become the mother.  Everything that she must do she seems to need my approval for rather than the other way around.   Instead of giving me direction and example it is up to me to guide and care for her.



The pain around my heart is no longer one of worry and concern but grief and mourning.  It will take some time but my mother is going away.  Gradually she is fading and slipping away.  The childhood of old age is claiming her day by day.  She has abandoned the concerns of motherhood for the carefree imaginings of a return to her girlhood.  

Now it is up to me to tuck the memories of mother and become for her all the comfort that she will need until the end.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My new home!

Those of you who read this blog know that recently my husband and I packed up our belongings of 30 years and left New York State behind to live in the land of the Southern drawl and red soil.


My next immediate younger brother was generous enough to let us use one of his houses to make into our home.  I truly feel that since this place has already been a home, and a happy one at that, I could feel it welcoming us with open arms from the moment that we stepped across the threshold.


My next immediate older brother generously loaned us a car so that we could navigate the area and accomplish tasks that are inherent to getting moved in.  My wonderful husband has had two job interviews with Bostik and will learn next week if he has a job with them.


This is my kitchen.  Nice and big and welcoming to anyone who wishes to come south and enjoy a home cooked meal.  Just because I am away from the army doesn't mean I have forgotten how to cook for one.


This is the view out the back deck.  Late in the afternoon when the temps are warm enough and the sun is shining warmly we will take our books and coffee out here and enjoy the great outdoors.


The livingroom.  Yes the fireplace works.


The family room.  Doug likes this window to sit in and read in the morning.


The rest of the family room.  I think this move was meant to be since my quilt machine and frame fit so well into this house!


The sun room is perfect for a sewing room.  There is more light than I could have asked for.


The rest of the sun room.  The sun shines in here for most of the day and not only warms the room but makes sewing a pleasant experience indeed.  The view out the windows in of trees that are changing color more everyday which satisfies my need for the great outdoors.

All in all God is not only blessing our trip south but helping us to settle in and make this area our home.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

I love all of you out there....

you know who you are!

Here is the proof that I can indeed cook for less than an army.  That is enough for Doug, Mom, and myself with leftover for his lunch tomorrow.


I also managed an apple pie (Mom had a load of apples in her refrigerator that needed to be used pronto!)  There are also two loaves of bread in the oven right now.  Doug can eat homemade bread as fast as I can bake it!

One of the perks of Mom's condition...not remembering that she ate only an hour ago so she is usually anxiously awaiting her next meal.  I am totally flattered by her devotion to my cooking.  On the days when she is with us we manage to get three or four good meals into her.  She even raves over the muffins and bread that I leave at her house to eat when we are not there. This is the woman who used to never eat anything that I made!  Chalk this up to the positive side of dementia.

Anyway, the bread is about to come out and I need to do some serious sewing while Mom is napping.

The Simple Woman's Daybook 28 October 2013


Outside my window...it is gloomy and rainy.  I feel we have been transported back into the Autumn all over again.  When we left New York it was  gloriously golden and cool.  Here in the south the gold is a bit tarnished but still just as enjoyable.

I am thinking...about my lists.  We have been here a little over a week but there is still much to do in order to be fully settled in.

I am thankful for...all the love and support that my siblings have given to Doug and I.  Our move and transition have been made better because of their care.

From the kitchen...scalloped potatoes and ham is on the menu!

I am wearing...cozy jammies since there is still a chill on in the morning around here.

I am going...out to Liberty to pick up mom and bring her over to our house for the day.

I am reading...St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer

I am hoping...to come up with solutions to a couple of issues in the very near future.

I am hearing...the morning news on the TV, the furnace blowing nice warm air into the room, and Doug making "husband" noises while he reads his book.

Around the house...it is very quiet!  

One of my favorite things...a quick visit from my youngest brother Matthew this morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Doug has an onsite interview tomorrow morning, I pray that it results in a job.  Friday is a holy day so there will be mass and another brother will be coming in for a visit later this week.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

This is how I have been feeling since I came down here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 14 October 2013


Outside my window...the skies are grey and gloomy.  Our stretch of glorious fall weather has come to a close.  The temperature is having all it can do to stay at 58 degrees and the mist in the air is doing its best to wash away the memories of the sunshine.

I am thinking...that it is on days such as this one that going south is a good thing..

I am thankful for...the long stretch of sunshine that we have enjoyed.  My husband and son have been able to accomplish so much around the farm that would have been next to impossible if it had been raining.

From the kitchen...I am sure that something delicious will be served.

I am wearing...flannel pants and a tee shirt.  Layn and I went pumpkin picking and both of us got really muddy!

I am going...to stay here for the rest of the day.  There is last minute laundry to do and some thoughts that need to be jotted down.  That and time with the littles after naps should about take up my day.

I am reading...Phillipa Gregory's, A Respectable Trade

I am hoping...that we can actually get underway tomorrow!

I am hearing...Ian explaining to his father his method for making hard cider, the bird in its cage pecking away at it's image in the mirror, and the crackle of the fire in the wood stove.

Around the house...the place is still looking like a storage facility!  I will not be the only one relieved when the truck comes and gets loaded.

One of my favorite things...spending time with my grandsons.

A few plans for the rest of the week...just get through today, that's about all the plans that I am making right now.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you ...

Layn and I had an outing this morning.  Along with going to pick pumpkins we stopped at a local attraction to enjoy the sound of water going over Chittenango Falls.  I think he has another favorite place to go.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This is going to be a selfish, whining, pity party post so beware



I hate good-byes.  Not like most people do. You know 'cause they make me sad for a little while but I'll get over it later when I am busy and I make new friends.  Not that kind of sad.  I get the, crying all over the place, I really don't make friends well, I feel sorry for me kind of sad when I say good-bye.

I said good-bye to some people this morning and all I can do is cry and think about all the ways that they have been important in my life.  Did I mention that I hate crying too?  Having a heart is a damn inconvenience!!!!  I liked it better when I was a grouchy, heartless, mean hag.  Growing a heart is a pain.

There, I feel kind of better.

Monday, October 7, 2013

God has a way

of warming us from the inside if we only allow it to happen.  There are times when even my insides are so shut up and cantankerous that His grace seems not to be able to penetrate.  Lately, however I have been actively trying to be open the whatever God sends in the way of encouragement because at times things have been changing so fast my life feels just like a snowball rolling down a mountain.  


I have found that if you stop, I mean really stop, and listen, look around and ask yourself what He's putting in your path the answers seem to come out of seemingly everyday occurrences and shining a new and glorious light on all of them.  The birth of a new grandson, for example, always wonderful, becomes virtually miraculous when viewed through the lens of the divine.



The love that seems to be innate between siblings is another blessing that shouldn't be taken for granted.  I have been asked more than once about Layn's reaction to his new brother.  Instead of simply answering that, "Of course he loves Christopher," all I have to do is see the smile on his face and the shine in his eyes and the truth of that statement is more than apparent.  


The thick mist and chill of a Saturday morning, rather than being an inconvenience, becomes a blessing and a chance for appreciation of the wonders of God's plan.  As I sat on the deck stamping the view on the canvas of my memory the intricacy of this spider's wed caught my eye.  Then not only one but countless others were revealed by the mist that was hanging on the threads that were hanging there.


Even the gnarled old Ash tree standing in the yard and the memories that it invokes is a blessing if I let it be so as I sat there.  The play of voices and scenes from the lives of my children rather than making me sad served to cement my connection to this place and help to make it possible to say good-bye.



A husband who freely and unselfconsciously crawls on the floor with his grandson and gets silly with Mr. Potato Head has to be one of the greatest ways that God reminds me of his hand in my life.  It is this kind of love that speaks most eloquently of God's complete giving to his creation.

Finally the gift of friends who surround us and intentionally blur the lines separating us are perhaps God's way of saying concretely that he is never far and we are never alone.

The Simple Woman's Daybook 7 October 2013


Outside my window...we are enjoying another spectacular fall day.  Temps are already in the low 70's with a brisk south wind blowing.  The leaves are coming off the trees in huge drifts with every gust of the wind.  Already the lawns are covered in a brightly hued carpet of golds, reds and oranges.

I am thinking...about all of the excitement that I missed last night.  The one night that I actually sleep there is a rollover accident on our road by our cow pasture.  Apparently someone was driving a bit too fast, started to go off the road in front of the house, over-corrected, and wound up on his side in the middle of the road.  The driver was no where to be found but all the cattle was present and accounted for! (Thanks be to God!)

I am thankful for...the wonderful brownies that a dear friend brought yesterday.  Mary they hit the spot for more than just me!

From the kitchen...there is, hopefully, leftover pasta from yesterday for supper.  If not I will have to be awfully clever and come up with something else.

I am wearing...shorts (in October!) and a pink tee.

I am going...to work hard to resist the urge to sit in the sun and soak up the fall day!  I really need to be packing.

I am reading...nothing and it is killing me.  A few more days and I will be south where I can laze around and do whatever I want, NOT!

I am hoping...that the next couple of days absolutely crawl by! I am not really ready to face the adventure that is to come.

I am hearing...Frank Sinatra's Duets album playing on the stereo, Layn out front playing with Archie, and MK taping bags closed.  The sound of the wind outside lifts up and carries all the other sounds of my along.

Around the house...ugg!!!  No one really wants to know.  My sewing room, or what was once my sewing room, looks just like a storage facility.  The living room looks like we are either moving in or out (you really cannot tell).  The laundry room looks like Mount Washmore erupted and there are rivers of dirty laundry oozing all over the place.  The kitchen is an absolute disaster!  There are clean dishes on the counter mingled with the dirty breakfast dishes.  The only bright spot in the place is Christopher peacefully sleeping on the changing table.

One of my favorite things...taking little bits of time out through the day to change Christopher and cuddle him before he has to nurse.  Those moments have always reminded me to slow down and savor what is important.  The older I get the longer those little bits of time get.

A few plans for the rest of the week...finish the packing, say my final good-byes to this home that has been mine for over 30 years, then pack the trailer and drive off into the sunrise!

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...


 Little Layn Picasso helping his daddy painting the walls in the shop last week.

Every day Christopher becomes more awake and aware of his surroundings.  The changes happen so fast it is impossible not to marvel at this miracle that is human life.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My husband always says....

 God has his reasons.  Well my reply is usually something to the effect of, "Duh, really?"  When we were granted another week here that was his answer to me, as if I needed some kind of reassurance.  Well, now that the week is halfway gone I think I can pinpoint that reason.



How about 91 quarts of apple cider to can for a starter?

A little boy who needed consoling with a piece of Grandma's apple cake?


A new baby brother to love?


An unexpected visit from number 4 son, Jason?

Here it is only Wednesday and that is one heap of reasons not to have left for the southland quite yet.