Saturday, May 29, 2010

Heading out

Heading to a place which should offer some time to retreat from the world a bit. Hoping the salt air will offer refreshment, space, and a change of view. Sand between the toes with a cool drink and book in hand.

See you on the backside.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Last Day of School

It was the last day of school for students today - 2 more for teachers for this school year.  It's been a mixed bag for this year for me - I have had some delightful students and students who were a challenge. My caseload was near to the limit and we assessed more children than we EVER have before in one year. I have been involved with unbloggable situations that I don't like and will never understand.

I know I say this every year, but the paperwork.... is the bane of my existence. I really do love my job, but the paperwork has been mind boggling. I have done lots of shuffling, and duplicating, and really really wish I was more organized. 

Six furlough days took a bite out of our paycheck. Thankful to have a job, but it's been a definite adjustment to us!

In addition there was the health issues of Mom. Last week was VERY difficult as I was not sure which direction we were going. This week, she is better, and it looks as though we will get a little R and R beginning this weekend.

Thursday will be the final day for teachers. Plans for the summer include time with family, some time at the beach, reading, and regrouping.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pentecost Sunday

The Great Fifty Days has now culminated and we celebrate the birthday of the Church - church communities who observe this feast will see LOTS of red today, whether by what we wear to the celebratory decorations that adorn the church.

"Come Down, O Love Divine" (hymn tune "Down Ampney" by Ralph Vaughn Williams), is the featured hymn in this video. And as if the hymn was not beautiful enough in and of itself, images of the Holy Spirit are featured throughout the hymn.  About half way through the video, the hymn ends and the "credits' begin, as the images are all credited at to their origin, accompanied by piano, with the hymn "Be Still, My Soul".

What hymns did you sing today or what music did you hear that spoke to you? What images did you see today that brought the Holy Spirit into you? Where did you celebrate and worship today?

cross posted at Revgalblogpals

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Yesterday was one of those Alexander days - terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  It reeked of yuck. The morning was filled with home health care visitors - the nurse, the home health care aide to assist Mom in showering. Another urine specimen travels to the lab at the hospital. Mom doesn't want to eat, doesn't want to drink. Nada, nothing. C'mon Mom, I am going to read you the riot act. Get better. Now.

We had to make a decision about Mom's dog. Though she had a sweet dog of Callie, I started calling her mad dog. Other than Mom and me, she would nip bite anyone who entered into Mom's place. Not good when you have folks coming in and out to care for Mom, especially those who are terrified of animals. Mom was no longer actually caring for the dog - I was. And.... she had made a mess of the carpet... in ways I won't go into details. Bottom line was we had to do something with her. So yesterday we did.

Later in the afternoon, we took the trip up about 70 miles to return her to the place where we got her originally. We had been told that if we needed to return her at any time, we could. So after several conversations,  we took her "home" to where her roots were. Bittersweet. Had to be done.

Thankfully I had a friend go with me as I was feeling very blue and anxious. More anxious than I have been in some time. In fact, a feeling I have not had in some time. Anxiety that pervades my very being. Memories from some time ago when the anxiety attacks were such that I was going to seek medical help. I was scared of that feeling - no one can see that pain or anxiousness when it is bottled up inside until it overflows into tears. Tears of catharsis - which allows the anxiety to flow and drain.

We arrived home after picking up dear sweet 12 year old and ate supper. I was literally exhausted in all respects. I checked on Mom several times to take care of this and that, and trying to get her to drink. Frustration.

So this morning, I awaken at a little after 6 and peek into her door to check on her. She is sitting on the side of the bed. I walk in to check on her. She is talking. She is actually having a conversation. She told me she drank the smoothie we got her yesterday in the middle of the night. Her leg pain is gone. She feels better. BETTER.

Went over a little later. She is actually sitting in her chair reading.  Today, I am hopeful she tells me "I'm hungry". That will be music to my ears.

I am hoping this is a turn around in the pain she has been having. If it is a brief reprieve, I am thankful.

It's been a long several weeks. Painful on many levels. All I can hope is that the pain is past and we can continue the journey with outstretched hands.......

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some semblance of normal???

My mom is still not well. She complains of pain in her legs - seems to be worse at night, but also is bothering her this morning. Not sure at this point exactly what is causing this, but know it is bothering her. Last night she had me come over several times to be with her. Pray we will know why the legs are bothering her so much and that some relief will be given. I want that for her.

I am weary and tired. I am dealing with a pulled muscle in my back so that does not help matters much.

If  you are the praying type, please offer prayers for us to feel strength and the ability to work through this tough time. Pray we get some relief for Mom.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Hat tip to Metanoia - especially meaningful as caring for a mother who is frail and seems to be slipping away.

Crying out loud and weeping
are great resources.

A nursing mother, all she does

is wait to hear her child.

Just a little beginning-whimper

and she's there.

Cry out.

Do not be stolid and silent with your pain.


and let the milk of loving

flow into you.

The hard rain and the wind

are ways the cloud has

to take care of us.

-- Rumi,
A Year with Rumi (May 5)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Book #13 The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963

In my quest to read a few more popular children's chapter books, I chose this one at the suggestion of Deb, who has read many of the ones on this list.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis, is the story of the Watsons, who live in Michigan during the 60s. The oldest son, Byron, has had trouble keeping OUT of trouble, so the decision is made to make a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to take him to spend some time with his strict grandmother, who will take care of ALL of his problems.

Well, anyone who knows what went on historically during the 1960s in the south, more specifically, what happened in Birmingham during that year, know that the South was going through quite a bit of turmoil, and this plays a part in the story.

The writing style of Curtis kept my attention and was quite the enjoyable book. 4 out of 5 stars for children's chapter books.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Holding hands

"But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will fasten a belt around you
and take you where you do not wish to go."
John 21:18

Funny, I have seen this quote twice in less than 24 hours from two completely different places.  And, I have gone to places I do not wish to go this week. And my mother has done the same. 
There were times she went places and she did not know where she was. And it was scary for me. I did not wish to go there. 
As I had written earlier, Mom was in the hospital. She is home now, and is doing better, but during the time she was there, there were times she was somewhere else. She didn't know where she was - I didn't know where she was, but it wasn't any place I knew about. Her thoughts were convoluted - she had my living room across the hall in the hospital. She wanted to know where I had put my furniture. She did not realize she was even in the hospital.  Even connected to IV's and a catheter, she was determined to just get out of bed. So we had to put a device on the bed to signal if she attempted to get out. And she did....
They called me to come up to the hospital because they couldn't settle her down. Unfortunately I had left my phone on vibrate and had fallen asleep in the chair - I was tired and sleep deprived from several nights of interrupted sleep from  caring for her. They ended up contacting a friend (for whom I am grateful), and finally they reached me. I got up to the hospital close to 11 and she was pretty restless.  I told her it was time to go to sleep, and several times she attempted to get up. 
For the first time I had to tell Mama - "get in that bed" as one would do to a child. 
Mom woke up the next morning and was somewhat aware she had been confused, but didn't remember the details. And the doctor said it was not uncommon for that to happen to the elderly in the hospital. They're getting different medications, in a location in which they are not familiar, and they are sick.
I really did not want to hear the word "elderly" in reference to my mother - though I knew it already.

I really did not want to see Mom in a different world that night.

I really don't want to think I am 26 years younger than her and that one day I may experience some of the same frailties of aging.

This week, Mom has stretched out her arms for me to hold her hand on more than one occasion. Once during a painful situation and other times just to hold. Each week during church I hold her hand to guide her to the altar for communion.  But as I hold her hand, is she leading me? or am I leading her? Is she taking me to places I don't want to go as the scripture says? Perhaps it is mutual - we both are going down the path we do not want to go.

I feel so ill equipped at times. How do I know if I am giving her the care she needs? Am I missing something along the way? Does she not tell me things she really should tell me because she might feel as though she is being a burden? Or does she not tell me things for she fears I will take her to places she does not want to go?

No matter what, I know we will stretch out our hands and go....together....and sometimes it will be to places we will not wish to go....


Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't ever get old.....

Mom is in the hospital - seems as though the infection was just whooping her and she couldn't seem to fight it off. We had a very restless Sunday night as I stayed with her since her legs were bothering her so much. By 4:30, she had dozed off, so I did get a few hours of sleep. I stayed home that day to keep an eye out on her and by 8 o'clock, we knew we would be calling in to the doctor. We made the call, but as time moves slowly sometimes from hearing back, Mom decided she better go to the emergency room. So off we went.

This time we knew she would stay. She was tired. Worn out. Hurting. Wanting relief. We got to the room and she got settled and finally she got some medicine for relief of her legs hurting. I dozed off and finally she dozed off after several interruptions. I needed to go home to let the dogs out and to get a little sleep.

I returned after several hours and found her sitting by the side of the bed eating supper. THAT is a good sign. Plus she said she felt better than she had in days. I do believe the combination of fluids and the fact she didn't have to get up every 15 minutes to the bathroom gave her much needed rest.

She scooted me home and I was confident enough that she was doing well enough that I could do that.

Last night she told me.... "don't ever get old" - and I said "ok, Mom". Before I knew it, I was then considering the alternative, I might want to GET OLD, but I knew what she meant. She was weary of not feeling good.  Hopefully this afternoon is the start of her recovering from this infection.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday - mixed bag

Saturday morning, I arose early to travel to a friend's labyrinth to celebrate World Labyrinth Day AND the completion of her labyrinth. A beautiful, even if it was cloudy, morning to walk the maze that thousands have walked all over the world. So wonderful to be able to walk it with friends, and her personalization of the labyrinth made it very special to walk, knowing that loving hands had imagined and created it.

By 10:30 I was back home and moseyed up to the square to see the "Farmer's Market" which was more of a craft market, and it was nice to see familiar faces and also to put faces with names, which I had met over a social networking site. Came home with a bit of good smelling soap. Yummy!

Ate lunch with a good friend at the place of the golden arches - what more can you say about that?

As we were headed home, Mom called and said she wanted me to come home and talk to me. I knew she had not been acting herself and seemed puny. Got home and she said "I don't feel good".  So off we went to the emergency room since I knew that was our only choice. Well, she has a urinary tract infection and was dehydrated. They gave her some IV fluids, antibiotics and sent her on her way with prescriptions in hand.

So, a mixed bag it was on Saturday. I will post a picture of the labyrinth soon!