Turn on the lights

It’s that time again–darkness in the morning when I awake. All those lovely summer mornings when I opened my eyes and saw light. Gone. Done. Even darker mornings coming. It’s harder on these mornings to wake up and get going. At least it’s still warm, and I don’t lie huddled in bed unable to face the cold and dark air.

I wish we could change back to standard time now. The mornings would be light, when I need extra sunlight. Early sunset does not bother me one bit. I’m tired by evening and ready to turn on the lamps, sit on the couch, and rest. A 5 o’clock dinner doesn’t feel like I’m eating in the middle of the afternoon.

On Tuesday we had a later dinner, 6 o’clock. Terry had worked late at his volunteer job. I had baked a turkey after prepping four quarts of blackberries and making jam. It had been a long day and dinner preparations took even longer. Darkness started to fall right after dinner so Terry raced out to hand water the areas in the front yard that don’t get taken care of by the sprinklers. I took my book and headed to the back of the house after closing all the drapes and turning off the lamps. Although not quite 8 o’clock, it was dark. I was done for the day.

Today I head out to Columbia to resume my school chaplain duties. I have three alarm clocks to deliver to the attendance officer. She told me last week that she had a father waiting for one. I have a story to tell the first graders. I have schedules to give to the second grade teachers for my story times with them. Yes, this year all the second grade classes will hear a story once a month. What better use of my time? Let’s turn on the lights and get the day started.

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Out of character

I’ve been doing it for almost two years. I even trained for three months before I took over. How hard can it be? Yet, I still can’t get it right. Communion prep–filling small cups with grape juice. It shouldn’t be so complicated, and yet, I can make it just that. Perhaps it’s my upbringing…don’t waste anything. Perhaps it’s my OCD–get it just right. For two months now I have not prepared enough cups.

We are a small congregation, about 100 people each Sunday. High Holy Days like Easter and Christmas can increase the attendance. But 100 is just about right. Or, has been. Recently attendance has been more. Over 100. Yet, I cannot get that into my head and prepare over than 100 cups of grape juice for communion. I always prepare plenty of bread, even too much, so much that I have to throw bread away. Why is throwing bread away okay, but I cringe at throwing away those little cups of juice? Perhaps it’s because I had to fill each of those cups. The ones that don’t get used have to be emptied and then the cup tossed. The juice stains the worn porcelain sink in the sacristy so I have to spend more time cleaning.

In August I prepared 94 cups of juice, thinking it was the middle of summer, it was hot, the air was bad, people would be away. There were 104 in attendance. The pastor used the chalice of grape juice for those without cups. I was mortified.  Today I prepared 106 cups, 60 for the east side because more people sit on that side, and 46 for the west side as there are fewer there. The servers on the west side ran out of cups and had to take some from the east side servers. When I went to clean up only four cups of undrunk juice remained. Again, mortified.

When I cook and prepare food, I always make far more than is needed. I have always been very generous in everything I do. I pray and trust God for an increase in church attendance. So, why am I so stingy with that communion juice?

Call me when it’s over

In my book, today is the end of summer. June, July, August. Summer. However, as my husband says, “no one is reading your book.” The calendar shows another three weeks before the autumn equinox. The official start of fall. I’m not interested in official. Summer is over after today. In my book.

Our temperatures have cooled into the 80s. There is a breeze that blows the wind chimes. Speaking of blowing, the leaves are being blown from the trees. It saddens me to see summer, another summer, behind me. Makes me wonder, how many more summers will I see?

I sat in a hospital waiting area for most of Wednesday while Terry had the diagnostic testing done for his heart situation. Sitting around, hearing doctors explain serious health issues to family members, listening to people calling friends and family to fill them in on the condition of a loved one, it all makes one grateful for good health.

Being in a hospital, whether as patient or guest, is not good for one’s health. Too many possibilities for infections or psychosis.  I tried to keep moving around, not sitting next to any one person for too long. However, I had packed a large satchel with water, snacks, books, journal, tablet, and all the usual stuff found in my purse. It was so heavy I couldn’t walk very far for very long. I had really wanted to go outdoors and walk the labyrinth that I could see from the waiting room windows, but I didn’t want to carry that heavy bag with me.

The heart catherization went off without a hitch but the endoscopy that would show the actual problematic valve just refused to go smoothly. Terry always needs more anesthetic than most people, and sure enough, they couldn’t get the right amount to get his esophagus to relax. It took three attempts over an eight hour period. At one o’clock I decided to go home and take a nap since it would be three o’clock before the anesthesiologist would again be available. When I came back at 5 p.m. they were just finishing up. We had left home at 4:30 that morning. We drove into the garage at 6:30 p.m. Long day.

The final results–Terry will need one bypass and one heart valve repair. He meets with the surgeon on Wednesday to decide when and how to do this. I go back to reading to first graders on Wednesday so won’t be along for that consultation. It’s okay. I hate medical stuff. I told Terry I would drop him off at the hospital and pick him up when it’s all done.

“Come see the naked ladies”

As a child, growing up in the country, surrounded by cotton fields in the summer, my mother planted lots of flowers in the yard around the house. Dahlias, four o’clock’s, and geraniums were some of her usual stock. Then there were the naked ladies

Their real name is amaryllis belladonna, but she always referred to them as naked ladies because of their long stalk with a beautiful flower at the top of the stalk with no leaves. They were a favorite of mine.

Fast forward 60 years later, and I discover that our daughter and son-in-law’s house has a row of naked ladies coming up out near the sidewalk. I point these out to the grandchildren because someone had broken one of the unopened blooms off the top of the stalk. I wanted them to understand that these would be beautiful flowers to enjoy if they were left alone. I told them about my childhood memories of the flowers and I told them the name. They laughed.

Today I get a text from my daughter with this photo attached to the following note

This is YOUR grandson with a megaphone telling the neighborhood about the naked ladies. “Come see the naked ladies.”

I fell over laughing. Best story of the day! She said the kids have become very protective of the flowers and they do tell people about them. She had not been around when I was pointing them out to the kids so I wondered what she thought when she heard this announcement.

“Where did you learn that name for the flowers?”

“From Grandma.”

Of course.

Bad air and long days

It’s another bad air day here. We had beautiful weather all week–blue skies, cooler temperatures. I even opened the windows in the mornings, but not this morning. I opened the windows when I got up and realized the air did not smell as good as previous mornings. Then, as the sun came up, I could see the air. One should not be able to see air. The particulants were too high to keep the windows open, and now in late afternoon, my eyes are itching and watering. And that’s having stayed inside with air conditioned air all day except for running errands.

I spent most of the morning at church, setting up for a funeral luncheon for tomorrow. Tables set, flowers arranged. I had to make a run for more tablecloths as we decided to add a few more tables. The daughter of the deceased came by with picture boards and other mementos of her mother and mentioned the attendance should be about 100. We had planned for 80. We assume that those attending will be friends of the family as the deceased has not been active in the community for 20 years. The longer we live, the fewer of our friends are there to mourn our passing.

Coming home around 1, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up prepared foods for us to munch on the next few days. I knew I was tired for Friday and by Saturday afternoon, when the luncheon is done and all cleaned up, I will be ready to crash on the couch. Meals will be simple foods with no preparation necessary. How about you, dear Reader, do you feel up to preparing meals after busy days? When I was young, it didn’t occur to me to do otherwise, but now, not so much. I can only keep go for so long. I am no longer the energizer bunny.

A follow-up on this postThere were 50 at the luncheon. We had more food than was needed. Only a few took food home even though I offer takeout boxes and pack them with whatever they select. We had all the leftovers for after-church fellowship the next day. It was a big hit. 

 

Indulgence

I have always loved shoes. While in high school, the popular girls wore Capezio shoes which I admired, not just because they were worn by the popular girls, but also because they were cute shoes. My mother did not agree. They were expensive and had thin soles. True on both parts. She wanted me to wear a good, solid shoe that would last all year. Ugh.

When I got old enough to buy my own shoes with my own money, I bought cute shoes and always had an assortment in my closet. It was the era of matchy/matchy so I had shoes to match every outfit. When I was teaching at a high school whose colors were purple and gold, I had many such colored outfits and many purple shoes. One of my students even wrote a poem about all of my purple shoes. I believe I had enough to wear a different purple shoe all week. Since retiring, many of those purple shoes have been tossed due to wear and tear. I only have two pair of purple shoes now. But, I also have two pair of pink shoes.

My shoe indulgence fills two closets. Do I need any more? I didn’t think so until I saw these on a tweet of a teacher friend:

If you happen to follow me on Facebook, you have seen the story of these shoes. The friend who posted them shared the Amazon link, but I don’t buy from Amazon. When I posted my lament on FB, a young friend came to my rescue with the actual company’s link. I went there, ordered the shoe, all on a Saturday night, and the shoes were delivered to my mailbox on Monday. Voila. A new pair of unique shoes, perfect to wear on my school chaplain days.

A well-oiled home

The days have been hot, over 100 again for a week. I noticed one of our front yard shrubs, though well watered, has burned leaves on its western side. The sun beats on it for much of the day and it, like us, gets sunburned. I am encouraged by cooler temps this morning–65 degrees–so I opened all the windows when I got up and started the day with fans and sprinklers.

Because of the hot dry air, I have been orange oiling our wooden door and cabinets. Keeps the wood looking nice, and also creates a nice fragrance in the house. I look at photos of old homes that have so much decorative wood and wonder who keeps that wood gleaming. I would need a staff to tend to the care of the wood as my little house keeps me busy enough.

Speaking of dried wood, we heard a large crash Monday evening and when Terry went to check, found that a large, dead branch had finally given up and fallen from the backyard maple tree. He plans to spend this morning cutting it up. We have our big neighborhood garbage pickup next week so the timing will be perfect to put out the large branches rather than try to get them into the green compost bin. We filled it last night with smaller limbs that had broken off of the large branch as it crashed to earth.

Yesterday and then again this morning, I found a big red roach running across the family room floor. A different one, mind you, because I killed yesterday’s. These critters made me realize it’s been awhile since I put out cotton balls with the essential oils so that was my first task this morning while the sprinklers ran. I do five small batches so it takes awhile to mix, soak, and place. Now the house smells really good–orange oils and essential oil bug repellent.

I’ve been hearing from friends who have fallen recently. Only one has broken anything–3 ribs–but it’s still dangerous to be falling, especially if you are unable to pick yourself up. If you are unable to pick yourself up, call for paramedics to come. They are trained in how to get someone on their feet and to check for broken or dislocated bones. Asking family and friends for help can damage them and you. Balance therapy might be wise, too, to help to remain steady on one’s feet. A doctor told one of my friends that we get brittle as we age and the breaks come easier so we must take precautions not to fall.