There is still more to learn

Yesterday, in a round-about way I learned that a friend has been hospitalized for three weeks and has another three weeks or so before being sent to a rehabilitation facility. I don’t know all the details, but she had some sort of neurological crises, something like a tumor that exploded in her brain.

She cannot speak or use her right side. She is aware of her surroundings and knows people. She can nod her head and has facial expressions. I guess this is pretty amazing when I see that she has half of her head shaved and a major scar running around the side of her head.

I went to visit her at the hospital this morning, stopping first at Whole Foods for flowers. I am not good at hospital visitations and pretty much refuse to go see someone who will only be there for a few days. But three weeks in, with three weeks to go, made me feel the overwhelming need to go see Ramona.

Ramona is a strong woman. She works with handicapped children, in their homes, teaching them how to do things for themselves. She adopted twins and raised them as a single woman. That’s about the time I met Ramona. She attended the Baptist church where we no longer attend. The whole congregation cheered when the word came that she would be allowed to adopt the girls. This was almost 20 years ago, when it was unusual for single women  to adopt any child, much less twins.

A couple of years ago a large old tree fell into her house, wiping out the whole back half. Ramona had to move out for a few months while the house was rebuilt. She now has four grandchildren and often had to care for them. She has been a strong woman her whole life so I believe she will overcome this crises. I prayed with her and asked God to bring her THROUGH this. I believe God has a plan for Ramona and isn’t ready for her to move on to her heavenly home. She has something to teach me, I know it.


Just because the week ends, doesn’t mean the work stops

As I wrote on my Facebook page, and also shared in a text to a friend when I had to cancel a meeting for coffee and catch-up, this has been the week when my plate was full and my cup overfloweth. I am never bored, and sometimes I think I take on more than a little old retired school teacher should attempt. But, the tasks keep coming, the challenges make their way to my door, I keep coming across needy souls. I cannot look the other way.

Unfortunately, one setback was a health glitch that had me frightened for a few hours and one that Terry insisted be checked out at emergi-care. The doctor was upbeat and positive and reassured me that this glitch appeared to be minor and I could go on with my life. Whew. I told him I was too busy to be waylaid with a health problem. “Aren’t we all,” was his response. The rest of the week was fine, but very busy. That’s why I cancelled that coffee date.

Today I will grocery shop before driving across town for Ladies Who Lunch. Funny thing, I drove the same route on Monday to deliver leftover Halloween candy to Blue Star moms to pack in boxes for the troops that would be sent out this past week. It’s a long trek to the other side of the city, and really to a whole ‘other world from where I usually hang out.

After lunch, when I would like to just sit on the couch and recall my day and week, I will fix a dinner to take next door to my neighbor who broke her hip last Sunday while playing ball with her grandson. I made beerocks, bean soup, and enchiladas earlier in the week, but the family ate everything I made in one day.

I’m also in the midst of planning a funeral lunch for one of our church members whose family has decided the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the best time for the family to gather for the memorial service and lunch. Most of the people who work on these luncheons will be out of town or spending time with their own family. I’ve made an executive decision that the meal will be catered. Easiest thing I did all week.

Somewhere in there I will do laundry and some housecleaning. It has finally rained and the yards need work, but that might just wait until another time. I am very thankful, at this season, that I am not working any kind of job that would require my presence every day.

Colder days don’t require fans

Today I gave in and admitted that summer is over. Yes, I know the calendar says we are officially in autumn with a little over five weeks until the official start of winter. Yes, I know that, but it’s hard for me to accept. I love long, sunny, warm days. I hang on to summer as long as possible, but today’s high is 65 degrees.

Those summer days are hot so we have fans throughout the house to help with keeping us cool. Today I admitted those fans aren’t needed for now and are just taking up space and collecting dust. Because I hate to dust, and try to have fewer things to dust, I knew it was time to move the fans out of the house. I took them to our storage unit and covered them with sheets until next spring when the daytime temperature gets over 80 degrees.

Another nod to colder temperatures–I cooked a chuck roast and plan to make beerocks in the next day or so. I haven’t made those since last winter, when my old Cuisinart died. The new food processor will be given a workout chopping onions and mincing roast beef. The oven will run for a couple of hours to get all the beerocks baked. That will keep the house warm.

Trying to find things that make me smile

Today I went shopping.

First stop was the Salvation Army Thriftstore where I found one backpack and one jacket for a child who will need one or both at Columbia.

Next stop was Madewell, a delightful clothing store whose socks were 25% off. I also found a lovely sweater I can wear with my chaplain uniform.

Final stop was a popup shop that carries fair-trade items. I bought the three items you see in the photo and put them together for this door hanger. We all need peace.

A Sunday like no other

Terry and I left early for church on Sunday morning, and we left together which is rare as Terry has to be early for choir practice and I often stay late for coffee fellowship cleanup or a meeting. This Sunday we both needed to be early and we both would be staying afterwards for a luncheon. One of the hardest working church members would be away on a holiday trip and had asked Terry and me to fill in on some of her usual jobs. I also had communion set up and clean up. I learned, after arriving at the fellowship hall that more help would be needed with lunch cleanup. Terry and I would be staying later than expected and staying busier.

When I leave for church, I turn the ringer off on my phone. I may take the device out during the morning to check for messages, but I keep it silenced. Due to the busy schedule, I didn’t get around to looking at my phone until we were back in the car, around 1:30, heading home. There was the shocking news–mass killing at a small church in a small town in Texas. I thought it was perhaps “fake news” as it seemed so absurd.

Checking with the reliable news sources, I found it was true. Not only that, but there had also been a church shooting in our own city. A 64 year old man, distraught over his wife divorcing him, had driven to the Catholic church just down the street from the school where I am chaplain, and opened fire on his wife and her boyfriend in the parking lot as they left mass, killing both of them. He drove back to his house, a house I had passed every time I drove to those meetings on how to spend $70 million for this community. There he texted one of his four children, letting her know what he had done and where to find valuables, and killed himself. More absurd news, but true.


The puppet master scored this week

It’s Friday, which is my Saturday. By this day of the week, I’m feeling ready for a break, and I’m glad there are only a few items on my to-do list today. We slept in until 7 o’clock because it is still dark at that time of the morning (so thankful for the return to standard time this weekend), and it has turned winter-like here. Overcast skies and chilly temperatures. There is a chance of rain for the weekend.

This week’s story for the first graders had a badger as the main character. I’ve looked all over for a badger puppet or stuffed animal. A Facebook friend pointed out one on Amazon but I am not, nor do I plan to become, an Amazon shopper. Ordering things online does not appeal to me. I want to see and feel and go shopping for the things I want. I also want my local stores to stay in business and keep employing community members.

A reading tutor at the school, upon seeing me, wanted to know what book I was reading and so I regaled her with my badger-seeking story. She suggested a local children’s bookstore as the store is “filled with puppets.” Her words. I’ve never been to this store even though it’s in my neighborhood, in a charming shopping center, and sells books, a favorite purchase of mine. Although I try not to stop after school, wearing my uniform, I decided to give this place a try since I knew the owner supplied many of the chaplaincy books for the classrooms we visit and it was literally on the way home.

Sure enough, I was recognized by the uniform the minute I walked through the door. The owner of the store and her assistant were delighted to help me, but no badger anywhere. They weren’t even too sure what a badger looked like. I mentioned some other animals I’m on the lookout for–a chicken, a mouse, and peacock. “Oh, do we have a peacock, a most wonderful peacock.” There was no mouse, though. I was thrilled to finally find a chicken as I’ve been on the lookout for a long time. So many of my stories have a chicken in them!

“Three Hens and Peacock” will be read right before Thanksgiving break. I am so excited to use these critters in my storytelling. I always let the secretary, chosen by the teacher each week, hold any props I might have. I may just need TWO secretaries for this story!

If it’s Tuesday, it must be errand-running day

As you may know, we revert to standard time this next weekend. Fall back. Gain an hour. Terry and I have been practicing the new time by staying in bed almost an extra hour these past two days. That’s what we’re calling it, anyway. After a super busy week and weekend, we’re tired and trying to rest up before the next round. I finally climbed out of bed just minutes before 7 this morning. Before I knew it, the clock said 8:55 and I wanted to leave the house at 9. Today is Tuesday and I like to be out early to run all the errands I have.

First stop was the credit union to get lunch money–21 one dollar bills. I return to my car to find that the key fob is not working. It won’t unlock the driver’s side door. I use the key to do so and move along to the next stop. This time I need the back hatch door opened when I come out with a big bag of pants and jackets I picked up at Salvation Army for the kids at Columbia. Again, the fob won’t work. I have to go to the front of the car, open the driver’s side door with the key and then unlock the doors with the automatic switch. Swinging the large bag of clothing the whole way to the front and back. Same thing with my next few stops.

My last stop is the grocery store where I get three bags of food items two of which are very heavy. I leave the basket at the store front and haul the bags to the car, not remembering that the fob won’t work to open the back hatch door. Hauling those heavy bags around the car did not make me happy.

I made all my stops and still got home just after 11:30. In time for lunch. I reheated the potato pancakes I made yesterday and had them with applesauce. The new food processor did an okay job. Because the feed tube is much smaller than the previous machine, I don’t get the nice long shreds like before, but the pancakes tasted good. The leftovers made a nice lunch.

About that key fob. Terry says it needs a new battery. He’s going to give me his for the time-being while he finds the battery and fixes mine. He doesn’t carry his fob unless he’s going along with me on a trip in my car. Hopefully he’ll be able to quickly take care of it.