Monday, February 24, 2014

A Great Wake-Up Song :)

Time is Change

I have been extremely busy for the entire winter helping Grandma Dolly as she becomes more frail. Her health has become very compromised and she can no longer live on her own without help. We tried to get help to come in during the day but that was not sufficient for her needs. With her permission and to her entire extended family's relief, she has agreed to remain in a home where she can can be well cared for twenty-four hours per day. She truly does seem to have accepted it with grace and I hope that she realizes how blessed she has been to live in her own apartment for over nine and a half decades.
I have been in charge of managing her care for many years but up until the last few years, she has needed very little help- just companionship, transportation, bill-paying and help with phone call communication to the pharmacy and doctors. Recently, it has been a lot more than that. With her and her family's permission and encouragement, and in order to facilitate taking care of her business, I visited a lawyer who happens to be a friend from church. For a very small fee, I obtained her power of attorney, medical power and other pertinent legal written permissions.This has come in very handy already when turning off the phone and cable TV to her apartment. We were able to close down her small apartment and shared all of her furniture with her family members. This is a job that needed to be done and she was not able to do it for herself. It has been our pleasure to help her and we have asked her to direct us as things are dispersed.
 I have been made aware that this is something I may try to do for myself as I age, if I am able to.It might be smart for Larry and I to downsize big time at some point and to get some of this large task done sooner than later. We will have to see. For now, I will try to remain faithful to caring for Grandma Dolly in the Home by visiting often, doing her laundry and protecting her interests by being a good advocate.


Genetics is a fascinating thing. The sisters above look very much alike.
If we had gotten Patience's mother in the picture, we could have had double twins!
Interestingly enough, Natalie tells me that twinning is in style. She and a friend bought identical dresses and wore them out to dinner at the same time!

Dinner Party

Juby, Kit and Patience prepared a tea party of sorts for their dinner of French Toast and orange juice.
Of these three girls, the little one has the best appetite. I am glad that they could have some fun decorating the table for themselves. That may have encouraged them to actually eat their dinners!

My Son, the Carpenter

Greg has continued to work on his custom designed and hand built wood working shop in his garage. Cindi guestimates that he has put about one hundred hours into this project.
It shows, too! This table has been finished with drilled spacers along each side to be used for holding wood planks in place.
This is a "dove-tailed" edge. I've heard that expression but never knew what it meant until Greg showed me this which he completely built himself.

This wood is something that Steve, Greg's father-in-law, picked up from the building supplies recycling shop in town for a song.
The next time we visited, there were more improvements made to both this station and the poplar wood table.
 I was reminded of a wonderful quote from George Washington's "Rules of Civility".
 "Let thy pleasures be manful, not sinful."
 This project certainly qualifies in the Handy MAN category.

Handsome's Clubhouse

Handsome turned two and had a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party that all the guests enjoyed.
Cindi outdid herself with delicious lunch items on a buffet with Mickey Mouse labels for every dish.
The guest list was kept small with only immediate family and close friends of their family to avoid overwhelming Handsome. It was such a great party with terrific fun energy! There is really something to be said for these mid-winter Sunday afternoon get togethers.
A new style of pinata was the main entertainment. Instead of the kids bashing away with a long stick at a cardboard decoration, this one had colored ribbons hanging from the bottom.
The children took turns pulling one ribbon each and eventually the bottom gave way releasing lots of chocolate candy for everyone to share.
It was sweet to see Handsome and his parents extinguish his birthday candles.
With the little bit of snow available,
 the guests were outside having a good- natured snowball exchange with the neighbors!
On the gift table there were specially made favors prepared for each child expected to the party.

Happy Birthday little Handsome! Thanks for having us to your wonderful party!

Visiting Grandma Dolly

Grandma Dolly has been in Rehab and I try to visit her at least twice per week. Sometimes, more often.
Patience showed her, her favorite doll.
Gentleman, (the Gman) showed her his cut from a bike accident I think it was.
Juby makes herself very comfortable here and talks to quite a few of the nurses and residents who get a kick out of her conversations.

I appreciated Meg coming with me to visit Grandma Dolly. I can only imagine how it brightens up the day for these folks who rarely get to see little children, who are so naturally adorable.

Carousel Ride

Meg and I took the kids to the mall  one wintry afternoon. This time, we put a little money into the carousel for them to ride on and it was worth it.
Most of the time we don't put any money into the rides and they have to make their own fun, for free.
And they do!

Winter Sunrise

Our front picture window faces east. When I get up early, the sunrise can be seen. Some days it is spectacular!
John and I experienced watching this together as we waited for his bus.
Each window reflected the majesty of God's creation at the start of this brand new morning.
The sky kept getting more beautiful as the minutes went by.The kids said that many folks were commenting on this sunrise on their social media sites.

A Fresh Air Filter

A year and a half ago, we were fortunate to have hired a great bunch of guys who installed a central heating and air conditioning system into our finished basement. I remember asking the gentleman how often we should change the filter to the system. he must have been busy working at the time because the answer that I heard was "about every three years."
It occurred to me that I change the filters to the upstairs system about every month to six weeks. I looked it up on the web and sure enough, the downstairs  filter should be changed every three months, not years! Feeling silly because of course this makes sense, it seems so ungrateful to forget to change the filter on this very nice system which was an investment. I hate to think about the dirt involved that we were trying so hard to get rid of by putting in a new air handler in the first place!
These four to five inch filters are not available locally and were ordered online.

The filter has been changed and I marked the date on the calendar on which to do it again. Now we need to get into the attic to see if that fairly new air handler has one of these thick filters on it as well!

The Purse Caper

I had been thinking about purchasing a new purse as mine was showing noticeable signs of wear, when the strap broke off and there was no turning back. I began to search for a purse that I liked in a burst of "speed shopping." The above purse is one of four purses that I actually purchased and then returned in one weekend.
I looked at purses in at least ten different stores and in some of those twice.
If there is one thing about purses, it is that they are VERY personal.
Although I wanted a new purse to look good, what I really need is for it to function efficiently.
It is unbelievable how much of a selection there is to choose from. I estimate that I looked at 400-500 purses on this one weekend. 99 per cent of them I could say no to right away. They just weren't for me.
I took an hour at a time throughout a busy weekend to go as fast as I could through the different plazas around town and the mall. For me, shopping has never been recreational. It is about accomplishing a mission. Natalie just read to me a funny Tweet  "Shopping for clothes is only fun if you are rich and skinny."
 I agree and don't qualify!
These bags are so expensive at $398. 00 that they are displayed on locked bars. The saleslady has to release each one using a key while she stands there.
These real leather bags, which are also about 400 dollars a piece have a thick wire cable running through the handles to prevent theft. While they are very pretty, that leather is heavy. One of these purses weighs many pounds even before you put your stuff into it.
I own only one purse and I will carry it for the next five years like I did the last one and the one before that. As pretty as these were, I can't justify that expense for this country gal. I am sure that for some jobs and situations in life, it matters what purse one carries. For me, I just want to carry my checkbook and be able to find my keys in a jiffy when I am coming out of Wal-Mart.
This is the purse I settled on and am quite happy with. I found it at Target for about 30 dollars. It doesn't have an outside pocket for keys which was almost a deal breaker but I have added a small cameo hooked chain (a thoughtful gift from a friend) on one side to differentiate which side is which. I like the way this purse looks youthful and up to date, suits my needs and was at a price that I can feel comfortable with.

January Cooking Club

For the January meeting, we discussed St Francis de Sales and the children baked Honey Goodness Breakfast Bars.  Standing around Allison's kitchen table, the girls put two batches together.
 They followed the recipe we got off the internet from a site called "Catholic Cuisine" which provides recipes for Feast days of Saints and  all the Liturgical remembrances throughout the year. Dried apricots were substituted for dried apples which my favorite discount grocery store didn't have in stock. That became part of the lesson- substitute something similar and keep on moving when you cook!
These breakfast bars included honey, oatmeal, raisins and apricots. I was very surprised to actually learn something myself at the Club-
That is to use wax paper instead of a spoon or spatula to press sticky dough down into the greased pan.
Many of the girls said that their mothers do this when they make "Rice Krispy Treats" which I don't think I have ever made.
Although these bars looked good and baked up well, they weren't very tasty. The leftovers I brought home didn't get eaten which is very unusual around here!
We also talked about the life of St. Agnes who is one of the seven women mentioned by name in the Mass. She was a martyr as a young teen when she refused to marry the pagan emperor's son. Of course she was very beautiful according to the story. This made for such a good discussion with the very intelligent and attentive young ladies in our group (our boys weren't here on this particular day). I am always acutely aware of what a privilege it is to be able to speak to them about the Faith we share.
The kids decorated  cupcakes to look like a lamb, which is similar to the name Agnes in Latin ( Agnus).
Just for fun, we featured pineapples to add a fruit to the food groups served on this day. I showed them how to cut one up the way I learned.
When all was prepared and our twenty minute discussion over, the kids sat around Allison's long dinner table for Grace and their Feast. They enjoy chatting as they all know each other well.
Air Hockey was fun to play as an ice breaker as we waited for all the kids to arrive and again after the meal was served.