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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On understanding Eeyore and on being invisible

 This is my maternal great grandmother.  I've always thought I looked a bit like her.  She looks so melancholy.  She died many years before I was born, when she was only in her 50's and my grandfather was only 16 years old.

 Here's me, about 2 1/2 or 3 years old.  Even then I couldn't quit thinking.

Then there's Eeyore.  He can't quit thinking either and he's feeling melancholy, too.  Not to mention, invisible. 

I had another invisible moment recently.  It was actually while I was in the hospital.  I had shuffled into the emergency room, walking softly, to avoid jarring my painful innards, wearing my flannel jammy pants.  (Just FYI, I am only seen in public in flannel jammy pants when in dire didn't see me, did you???)  Anyhow, the nurse came to collect me, promptly led me to the actual emergency area, handed me a 'sample' cup and pointed me towards the restroom.  Just before she shut the door, she stared at my feet, hesitated, and then asked, "What size are your feet?"   In my poor befuddled state I was trying to decide what bearing my shoe size would have on the pain in my stomach.  I hesitatingly told her size 7,  and she informed me that she had a pair of new shoes that she couldn't wear and that my feet looked just the right size.  ('re telling me this while I stand here in pain?) 
Then she decides that my husband can answer medical questions on my behalf, so she shuts the bathroom door and off they go.  By the time I got out of the bathroom, there was no one in sight.  I'm an introvert and always feel a bit awkward in strange situations.  I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for myself.  After all, I was the patient!  Where is the sympathetic crew to pat my hand and croon over me?  Nope, no one in sight. Even the desk person had left.  I finally listened and realized that down the hall I could hear my husband's voice so I shuffled along until I found the correct cubicle.  Sigh.

Well, now I'm at home, recuperating nicely.  My Ebay store has gone crazy, so I have plenty to do while finishing up my recovery.  I always figure there's a lesson in everything and no doubt several in my recent health experiences.  I'm seeing the other side of the coin in a small way - from being a caregiver to being cared for.  Of course, I don't need much care, but it definitely looks different being on this side.  I'm getting a a glimpse into how frustrating it is to not be able to do all you once did, dependent on others in many ways.

Once again, I'm grateful to the Lord for seeing me through and for giving me new insight into caring for my aging mother, who, by the way, has never found me to be invisible.  She has always been my cheering squad,  my staunch supporter, always watching out for me.  Even now as she makes her way to the living room, dragging her oxygen cord along,  she says to me as I am folding some laundry, "Should you be doing that?"

Cherish each  moment you have with your loved ones and do your best to be patient with the sick & elderly.  Don't make them feel invisible. (I think I'm back to being melancholy again!)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Of French Toast, Contentment and Simple Things

 Everyone should eat French Toast occasionally, but only if you make it from yummy ingredients.

I made white bread (just this once we'll ignore the old saying 'the whiter your bread, the quicker you're dead') and added candied fruit. The next day it was just begging to be made into French Toast.  Seriously.

 Day old, it sliced up fabulously (what was so great about presliced bread, I'd like to know?)

I beat up eggs (our own, of course, from feisty Black Austrolorp hens), add in copious amounts of vanilla & cinnamon and mellow it out with fresh milk.  Did I mention it is goat milk?   And artificial vanilla?  Don't even go there.  Real stuff, all the way.
 Dip it, slap it on the griddle, flip it,  and in about 5 minutes you've got breakfast!  Be sure to put real butter & real maple syrup on it.  After all, what would be the point of eating fake food?
Voila, the finished product.  (Have you ever noticed how many times people spell VOILA incorrectly?  I've seen such horrid examples as 'wa-la' and 'walla'.  Oh dear.)  (Have you ever noticed how many times I put things in parenthesis?)

On another note, Christmas is past now and we look ahead to the New Year.  I always feel melancholy at Christmas.  My kids haven't married, so no extended family there.  I'm an only family there either.  I only ever knew my Mom's side of the family and most of them have passed away.  Christmas nowadays is very quiet.

I guess I didn't appreciate it as fully as I should have.  This Christmas I spent the day in my recliner with a heating pad on my painful lower abdomen (enough information there!).  At about 4 the next morning, my husband and I travelled the 30+ miles to the hospital emergency room, where I was subjected to many unpleasant experiences until it was determined that I have diverticulitis.  But I'm only.....never mind.   This was NOT on my Christmas list. 

Now I'm home and taking antibiotics and trying to be happy to sit in a chair.  I prefer to be moving all the time from arising in the morning, until I hit my bed at night.  This......this just SITTING.....makes me twitch.
And while everyone else is eating delicious leftovers from Christmas dinner (with GRAVY, no less!) I am reduced to chicken broth and jello.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm writing this tongue-in-cheek.  I am THRILLED to be home in my recliner as opposed to tensely waiting on a hospital bed.  I LOVE our home canned chicken broth and feel fortunate to be in my own home sipping it, comforting heating pad & all.  The jello became a joke as for some reason my daughters seem incapable of making jello that actually sets up (today was no exception) so I mustered up all my gumption and made it myself.  Don't laugh, but it now is calling to me from the, orangey, practically solid!

It was a great Christmas.  I love my kids, my husband, my mom.  We are so blessed to have Mom still with us after all her health issues this past year.  The Lord blesses us richly every day and I'm grateful. 

I think I'll go see if the jello set up.  And I'll be thankful with every nibble for a lovely quiet Christmas just past. 

Thank you Lord Jesus for every earthly gift you've bestowed upon us this year, but especially for the promise of salvation sent down those many long years ago to that lowly manger in Bethlehem.  We are undeserving, but oh so grateful.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

More on Caregiving and....Can we settle down for a long winter's nap yet?

   Today after a long morning of caregiving, I escaped drove into town for groceries.  I had already seen to all Nanny's morning needs, helped my husband cut & wrap elk meat and dealt as best I could with the fact that we have very little water at the moment and we're not sure why.
I barely made it halfway through Walmart before the fatigue set in and I wasn't completely sure that I could finish my shopping.  Groceries didn't seem all that important all of a sudden.  Sitting down in my recliner sounded good.
 Of course, it takes about 3 years to get through Walmart, another decade in the checkout line and then you have to hike back to your truck and load the groceries in.  After a 35 minute drive home, you get to unload said groceries, put them away, take the dog out and come up with some dinner.

Can you say....Pajama pants?  Quilt?  Hot cocoa?

 Of course, while I was gone someone bought a set of these Fat Lil Redbirds, a set of Fat Lil Crows and three Belted Pigs.

 At least I sew sitting down!

Today my mom was a bit fixated on the heater in her room.  She was cold so she turned the electric wall heater on.  As soon as it warmed up a bit, she was hot.  She turned it off.  Each time it was on, she wanted to leave her door open.  You cannot heat the entire house with one wall heater.  You will burn the heater out. You MUST leave the door shut to that room while the heater is on.  She argues about it with me.

 She wanted her room rearranged.  She insisted that if she were to lie down on her bed for a nap and at that time I was to decide to move her bed, I should just do it while she was napping on it.  I thought she was joking......She wasn't. 

Today she wanted cranberry juice.  I had apple, grape and Gatorade.  When she found out I was headed to the grocery store, she went and made a list.  
Cookies.  And three kinds of ice cream.  Vanilla.......and......and.....Some other kinds.  Not chocolate.  Vanilla with.......things in it.

She doesn't actually eat much and certainly cannot eat that much ice cream. 

Oh well.  It's not worth arguing over.  I'm learning this.  I'm actually learning a lot.   About myself. 

I'm back home again after buying TWO kinds of ice cream and a bag of store-bought cookies.  She's closed her door and gone to bed, so I now have a couple of hours to myself before I go to bed.  And then it will begin again tomorrow.  And I will learn more.  About myself.