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.