Three generations of little girls

These three photos are now on my mantle. The one of Leeya is her school picture for this year and just arrived. As I sit and look at them, I can certainly see a resemblance and so decided to scan them and, using Photoshop, put them together into one photo.

From left to right: Delaine at 3 or 4; Jennifer at 2; Leeya at 5.

Three in one

Celebrating grandchildren’s birthdays

This year was extraordinary in that Judah got an actual ‘gift’ for his birthday-the toy tractor. Usually we just buy things all yearlong for the grandchildren and give them the items, or mail them, when we buy them.

We take photos all year long, too, when we are with the kids, and their ‘real’ birthday gift is a picture book depicting the past year in photos. They love these books as they get to remember all of the things they did during the year. They are now seeing how much they have grown. Leeya has five books, and Judah just received Book 3. I designed it after we got home from delivering the tractor. Shutterfly shipped it and Judah received it Friday. Jennifer sent this picture of Judah and his new book.

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Today the grandchildren arrive at our house to stay this week and we will take more photos and add more memories.

“Do you have more friends like you?”

Nope, not a pick-up line in a singles bar, but rather a question I was asked while answering phones and doing office tasks at the Historical Society yesterday. I go out to work in the servant’s quarters, where the offices are located, behind Kearney Mansion, for the week leading up to the Civil War Reenacted. Although this is only my third year of volunteering, the event is celebrating 25 years. It is a huge endeavor and takes lots of manpower. This year, unfortunately, my schedule is so impacted that I can only offer three days of office service.

The director has also given me a schedule of tour dates for December for the Victorian Christmas that will again take place in Kearney Mansion. I love doing those tours because the house is decorated so beautifully and the content of the tour shifts from M. Theodore Kearney to Christmas in the early 1900s. I can only provide three days for the tours as December has begun to fill up. The school chaplaincy position looks to be filling two days a week due to the large number of first grade classes at the school I am assigned. Then one day a week is set aside for Good News Club at another elementary school.

This prompted the question, do you have any friends like you. Oh, yes, I have a group of friends who were co-workers at that large inner-city high school where we all toiled those many years. We all worked so hard, and we worked so well together. This is the group I now call “Ladies Who Lunch.” We only got a short lunch while teaching, and usually we had students in and out of our office the whole period, so we said, “we want to be ladies who lunch, who have time to to OUT for lunch and spend hours eating and talking.” Now retired, that’s what we do.

But, we all do much more than “lunch.” My friends are also involved in numerous activities so they wouldn’t be available to the Historical Society. They are smart, funny, dependable, hard-working, can follow directions; and did I say, SMART? These are all attributes that any non-profit is looking for in volunteers, and from what I’m hearing, there aren’t a lot of qualified applicants out there. Most with those attributes are already so busy that they can’t take on any more unpaid work.

When I retired from teaching I had no intention of retiring from work. My goal was to do good work with good people. That has certainly been the case. Getting to pick and choose my projects has made a world of difference. It would, of course, be nice if some of the projects actually paid some money!

 

Only the essentials

Last week, when we stayed at Jennifer’s in San Mateo, the temperatures were mighty high, and what with the drought, the ants decided to come inside to look for water. I found a trail of the little creatures when running the children’s bath. Terry reminded me that Jennifer said she had essential oils to curb the migration.

Like her mother, Jennifer hates to use poisons of any kind around the house. My dad died of leukemia at 59 and it was years later I realized the disease had been brought on by the pesticides he used so freely on his beloved cotton fields. The “bug man,” as my dad called the pesticide sales rep, was always in our fields and always had something new to offer my dad to keep the yields high. Due to that hatred of chemicals, I refuse to have a “pest control” person anywhere near our house. I have literally chased their door-to-door salesmen from my front step. Anything that kills living creatures is dangerous.

Jennifer nor I are big into killing either, but since we hate the bugs coming in our house, we try to find ways to keep them away. Essential oils work well for this. At Jennifer’s I mixed up citronella, lavender, cedar, and peppermint. Since she didn’t have any white vinegar, I used water to dilute and then wiped down the trail and tiles with cotton balls soaked in the mixture. Ants stayed gone while we were there.

Coming home, I found that the patio has been taken over by some red beetle that looks to be related to crickets. We have an abundance of spiders, but they don’t seem to care for these fat beetles or the bugs are too strong to be caught in the webs. Every evening, when I go out to pick up the cat food dishes, a mass of beetles make a run for it. Something had to be done, so I got out MY essential oils and concocted a mix that would persuade the beetles to stay OFF of the patio.

I used citronella, lemongrass, cedar, eucalyptus, spearmint, and peppermint all mixed in white vinegar. I wiped the cat food area with this and then poured the remainder around the edge of the patio. No bugs last night when I went out. I figure, though, that I’ll need to repeat the process tomorrow as the oils do dissipate.

Evening at home

You may remember a post from a few weeks ago where I wrote about avoiding evening events due to the fact I become an introvert after 4 pm. I was wondering, then, about attending a retirement party. Well, I sent a card and my regrets. I knew I would be very uncomfortable so decided to not put myself in that situation.

Tonight I am home while Terry attends a fund-raising event. In past years we have attended together as the attendees are some of my favorites with whom to chat. Terry will be taking photos of the event for the host organization, and I know there will be questions as to where I am. I just didn’t feel energetic enough to be social tonight. I seem to be fighting a cold that I may have caught from my granddaughter who was sneezy and feverish last week.

I don’t want any extra stress right now as I have a full week coming up. Every day next week is fully packed with activity. I will be answering phones at Kearney Mansion three days as it’s the week leading up to the Civil War. They wanted me to be there every day, but one day I do Good News Club and on another day I have a doctor’s appointment and a meeting with the teachers at the school where I am chaplain. Yes, I finally heard from the principal. She now has a full-time vice principal and time to breathe. I grocery shopped today, buying items that Terry or I can quickly make at the late end of a long day.

So, while Terry dressed up to go out, I am propped up on the couch, watching TV, in my jeans and bleach-spattered t-shirt. The cats and I will have a quiet evening.

God works in mysterious ways

This morning, at a meeting, a couple of my paths merged for a moment.

You will remember that I am now a school resource chaplain. I know, you’ve heard little about what I’m doing because I’m not doing anything. The school to which I have been assigned has an overwhelmed principal who has not been able to meet with me and set up a schedule. The school, in one of the poorest parts of town, has been without a vice principal since the second day of the school year, which began back in August. I cannot explain why a substitute was not put into place for the duration or why there is even a vacancy. But, whatever the reason,it makes the job of principal even harder.

Last year I began working with a team of three others at an elementary school near the Baptist church I attended for 39 years. We have returned this year for another round of Good News Club one afternoon a week where students can come and learn Bible stories, sing songs, and be with some pretty neat people. There are many such clubs scattered throughout the city.

This morning all of us Good News Club teachers met to pick up the next set of curriculum and sitting next to me was the coordinator for the club at that school where I am supposed to be school chaplain. We shared stories and she invited me to come observe the Good News Club teachers work with the children. She was very pleased to hear that the school will have a chaplain. As with most schools in the district, this one has some serious problems.

Although I have not yet worked as a chaplain at the school, I have seen the campus and its neighborhood. I pray every day for the school, its students, its staff. I pray, too, for the students who come to Good News Club at another school in the district where I am a part of the weekly routine. I know that God is working in those hard places and that He has a job for me to do. In His timing, not mine.

Not responsible

Terry and I awoke in our own bed this morning. After five intense days with our grandchildren, we were glad to collapse into bed last night knowing we would not be responsible to anyone the next morning except the cats who were so glad to see us when we arrived home. Even though it will be HOT again here today, the house is so cool with just the fans running. We have so many trees surrounding the house that the rooms can stay pretty cool even on hot days. If it gets too hot, the air conditioner will click on. Ahh, I love our house.

Also love our dishwasher. Terry diligently worked every day to keep the dishes washed at our kids’ house. Small children eat constantly and there seems to always be a pile of dishes in the sink. When they stay here, we just stick all those dishes in the dishwasher and usually run it two or even three times during the day.

One thing has changed as the kids have gotten older–less laundry. They don’t seem to get as dirty, or maybe that’s because they don’t have a lot of dirt around their house in which to play. When they stay at our house, we seem to go through a couple of changes a day. But, they aren’t spilling food on their clothes like they did when smaller. I also seemed to stay cleaner.

We dearly love our grandchildren, and we are so happy to be healthy enough to take care of them. We are fortunate to have the time and the energy to spend nights and days with them and bounce back without too much effort. We have today at home to get household chores done and rest up for the remainder of the week. Every day has something planned. As for our children and grandchildren: they left this morning for a road trip to Oregon with Chad’s family.