Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words......

And words require too much thought!  The trips to Charleston and NC, though enjoyable, totally wiped us out.  We actually came back a day early at my mother's request because her kitty is not doing at all well.  That meant that everything was non-stop and there was little time to get anything done at her house (though I'm not sure what we would do or where we would start!).  Since being back, I can make it through half of the day, but I die the second half, walking around feeling and acting like a zombie.  Mama began physical therapy on her shoulder today, with a schedule of twice weekly; so there's no rest for the wicked/weary!

We went up to NC for Bill (my cousin) and Betty's 50th wedding anniversary.  They have been so good to keep tabs on us and offer help that we did want to celebrate that monumental accomplishment with them. It was a nice event and it was good to catch up with relatives and old friends.

Bill's sisters, the two closest to me in the photo, grew up with me......Bill was that bit older than he didn't hang around with us.  Diana, in green, was also in our group and I hadn't seen her since college. The older gentlemen beside her is their uncle (on their mother's side), who is 97 years old!!  I couldn't believe how well he looked and got around.

We came back with lots of beautiful tomatoes compliments of Laney and Julious.  So Monday we canned six pints, and they turned out nicely.  They will be the base of vegetable soup this winter.

We stopped at McLoud Farms in McBee, SC and bought peaches for a crumble.  They are sooooo good!  It tastes much better than it looks.

This is me in my nest, as I would be when I do this blog.  The reason for the picture is that all kitties are present.  Usually Mama Mia (black and while) is in "the hole", which is my room - usually the deep, dark closet of my room!  She's suddenly decided she will come out and socialize, much to the chagrin of Gabby and Chloe.

The only thing of interest I've done is participated in a 21 Day Meditation Challenge by Deepak Chopra.  It's something I've wanted to try but never really taken the time.  Well, this is all online and so easy.  Each day I get a guided meditation by email.  Each has a theme and a speaker guides you into the topic, leaving about 8-10 minutes for meditation.  The meditation time is filled with music - not the hum along kind, but the kind you can really get lost in if your eyes are closed and thoughts calmed.  We're on day ten and so far I've really enjoyed it.  It will be interesting to see what happens when there is no guidance and no music!  Stay tuned.

And now for a little humorous political commentary.....

Thank goodness Trump hasn't been in the news lately, but I couldn't resist this...........

Saturday, July 14, 2012

From July 4th Onward....

So much time has passed that I had to look back on  my calendar to determine when I last posted. So, I'll start with the 4th of July.  We mostly diddled around for much of the day and then drove out to Sun City in the evening to partake of their fireworks.  It's usually a nice display and we have learned where to park for prime viewing.  I was afraid the heat would be too much for Mama but it cooled nicely, with a little breeze.  It was the perfect type of thing for her to enjoy.

We've also started mall walking.  My mother is afraid her legs are going and she's not comfortable walking around the neighborhood, not that she could in the heat.  So, we find a nice store we want to browse in and she walks around to her heart's content......not that it's all that much.  It just gets her out and keeps her moving.

It seems that I've been constantly busy with both my "things" and my mother's "things", all of which flow into a mindless stream of activity.  Keeping busy seems to have become my way of coping.  I've had lunch with several friends (Janeen, Carolyn, Pamela), which is both a joy and a strain!  My walks are my real release and, as you can see from the photo, the crepe myrtles are in bloom and I love seeing them.  The heat has made it a real challenge, but I've been rewarded for my effort.  One morning I saw four rabbits and concluded that they're on an earlier morning schedule than I am.  I also spotted a turkey hen with three chicks, the first chicks I've seen.  Just today I met a second man in the community who looks after a colony of feral cats.  I had spotted his little set up at the end of a parking lot, so I frequently walk by just to see which cats are there.  Today he was feeding them and we had a nice chat.

As though I don't have enough distractions in my life, I've succumbed to the temptation of the iPad.  The thought was percolating when Cheryl and I got together several weeks ago. And, as luck would have it, she had just gotten one and we sat and played with it over lunch.  That was really all it took!  I went to Best Buy just get information about it, and walked out with one.  Our nearest Apple Store is Charleston and  there was no real difference in price (BB has their own service plan, offers classes, etc), so it seemed more logical to buy it locally.  So with everything else that has been going on, I've been playing with it and trying to learn how to use it.  It really is lots of fun.  I resisted a "smart phone" for so long, not wanting to go for the glitz - or the hefty monthly charge - and I'm so pleased that I waited for this.  It really is perfect for me.  Today I took it for its first outing - to the island for some shopping.  It was "active" the whole time and I was able to email a friend from Sam's parking lot.  It gives me hope that I may be able to stay in contact with the real world when we go to NC.  Usually my cell phone doesn't even work at my mother's.  Neither may work there, but I'm sure the iPad will work when we're out and about.  Stay tuned......
Today I've been busy adding "apps" and the fun stuff!

That pretty well catches you up to the present.  Next week, however, will be a busy one.  We're going to the Storm Eye Institute in Charleston on Wednesday to see if they can help Mama's vision (from the hemorrhage when she fell).  That will be an all day thing and I'm not sure how she will hold up.  We also plan to go to NC on Friday for my cousin's 50th wedding anniversary party.  I'm really playing this by ear and it will strictly depend on how she feels after Charleston and what she is able to do (as I explained when I RSVPed to the invitation).  I think it's too much, but we'll just have to see.  Once back from that (if we go), she begins therapy on her shoulder (also from the fall) the following week.  So, the constant activity continues.

For my Aramco friends.......

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer is Here.....

Smokey helped Mama unpack.
Where to begin?  It seems like the last few weeks have all run together, and July is here, which means we're into the last half of the year.  It's hard to believe the year is going so fast! 

I'm happy to report that my mother has shown some improvement over the last three days.  She was very slow to bounce back from the hospital stay and the least little effort exhausted her.  Her color was not good and it was sad to see her feeling so bad. She has recently been able to do a bit more and, though tired at the end of the day, not quite so wrecked.....and depressed by the tiredness.  I think she is also making some peace with being here.  Today she unpacked the plastic boxes that held her clothes and reorganized her room.  Earlier this week she said something to the effect that "if I'm going to stay down here...".  So, things seem to be easing a bit on that front.  After leaving the hospital, she told me she didn't know what she would do if I weren't here and thanked me for my help.  We also had a conversation about something when she said I'd been out of her life for so long and I  told her that I'd never been out of her life......I'd been away, but not out of her life and she needed to acknowledge the distinction......and all of that without arguing!!  So, I feel like there have been some minor improvements in our relationship and the situation.  Keep your fingers crossed!!

The UK Aramco Reunion was June 23 & 24....and I missed another one.  I told Eileen and Tom that sooner or later I plann to crash the party.....before I'm too old to crash anything!!  I truly would love to see everyone and catch up. Here's hoping I can make it in two years.

That just wore me out!!  Siesta time.
We continue to receive our weekly "Farmbag" and we've both enjoyed it.  My mother tends to have a more limited vegetable repertoire than I and is much less adventurous. The farmbag has changed that a bit.  We find out on Sunday night what will be in the bag, so we have time to decide what we'll do with the produce.  Last week we got eggplant, which I love but my mother would never voluntarily try.  I made a Ratatouille Bake with it (pretty basic ratatouille, layered in a baking dish with ricotta & parmesan cheeses)...and she really liked it.  I've also done an orzo dish, a roasted vegetable enchilada (with an unusual assortment of vegetables - cauliflower, bell peppers, corn, poblano peppers, sweet potato.....but it's oh-so-good!) and a black bean salad (with dill!) - all of which she liked.  I'm really becoming worried about my mother!!  I think she's been possessed by a kinder, gentler spirit.

 On Thursday, June 28, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare".....and before that known as Romneycare in Massachusetts!!  That gives you an idea of how the Republicans have danced around this issue, going against President Obama at every turn  The first response I saw on TV was Mitch McConnell, who vowed to repeal the bill.  If my blood pressure wasn't already high, that did it....even though Boehner and Kantor infuriated me more.  Anyway, I immediately called McConnell's DC office and got a snippy little girl.  I said I'd just heard his response and was appalled...they had taken it as far as they could, no doubt thinking that the court was stacked in their favor. Even so, they didn't get the answer they wanted so they promise more of the same asinine, obstructive tactics. She quickly said in a dismissive way, "I'll pass your message on".  I said my message wasn't complete!  She said phones were busy, etc.  I  assured her that I understood that,  but they would have their turn......once I'd finished.  She let me give the rest of my message (which I'm sure she prompt ignored) and signed off.  I then emailed all of my liberal friends and asked them to call his office, too. What a jerk....and what a party!  How can reasonable Republicans feel proud of what the party represents today? 

Cheryl and I met up again at our favorite Subway shop on Friday....and cheered the Supreme Court!.  Though we didn't have a lot of time, it was so good to catch up, have a laugh, and just have a personal connection.  Other than the principal who picked me up at the airport, Cheryl was the first person I met at Aramco.  When I arrived at some late time of the evening, she had dinner ready (with wine provided by Jan P).  We talked over dinner and it was like I'd known her forever....and it's been that way since.  Longtime friends are a treasure and it's always great to have time with them.

On Saturday, I walked to the Kroger mall, walking around the perimeter of the parking lot and circling back.  On the road by the independent living facility, I rounded the corner and saw that someone had run over a pretty, young, black and white cat. The car that passed me at that time saw the same thing...and turned around and came back.  We both reached the kitty at the same time.....I'd already said to  myself, "What can I do for the kitty?  What can I do if it's still alive?".  The lady who stopped said they were in the process of moving and she wasn't sure she could even find a shovel (I was on foot and couldn't do anything fast), but she wanted to move him from the road.  Out she came with latex gloves and gently picked up the kitty and moved him to the side of the road.  She then said she would stop by our neighbor, Joe C who feeds the feral cats, to see if he could take care of the kitty.  I really thought that was such a wonderful gesture, when it would have been so easy to just keep driving.  Anyway, when I passed again on my way home, Joe pulled up to claim the body of the kitty, whom I learned was named Murphy.  He was one of his feral gang - a gentle, playful kitty.  He was the first one to be lost in a year and a half.  Though being philosophical about it, Joe was visibly shaken.  He still has seven remaining to care for (and the bandit raccoon) and there will probably be another to fill Murphy's slot, but each is unique....just like people.  It was really a wonderful moment of kindness and caring, and I appreciated being able to witness it.

Summer has hit with a vengence and it's been hot lately.  Thunder storms were predicted for last evening and around 8PM they rolled in right on schedule. It never seemed all that bad, but on the second pop of lightening there was a loud "whomp" and everything in the house went out.  I rummaged around for my "emergency" kit, such as it is.  My battery powered lantern was in the box, which I finally accessed by ripping the box apart. I could feel that there was a cardboard panel covering the top of the lantern, but could I remove it - no!  On later review I saw that there were several tongue-and-groove kind of things that held the panel in place...and made it unnecessarily difficult to remove IN THE DARK!  Anyway, that was the minor problem compared to getting the batteries out of the indestructible plastic packaging.  Needless to say, I've re-thought my emergency kit.  After much ado, there was light.  Once my mother was settled, I went out into the sun room, opened the patio door as much as I could and spent the rest of the night there until lights came on at about midnight.  The kitties and I just enjoyed the storm and the coolness it brought.  It was a nice, quiet moment.

I'm hoping to attend my Living Liberally group on Tuesday night.  Both of the founding members (from our local Unitarian Church) are moving, one to Charlotte, NC and the other to Kingsland, GA.  So, things continue to change.  I'd like to hear of their plans and wish them well.  Their efforts on behalf of liberal thinking people have made a real difference to many of us....and it's been a source of wonderful friendships.  I hope they know the legacy they leave behind in this community and how much we appreciate their efforts.

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