Nov. 25th, 2016 09:25 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
Rest - inspired by a Soul Cards card this morning. Today will be a good day for rest. I woke up with a very stiff back this morning. My feet and back were hurting last night too. Not used to all the stooping and cleaning and standing on my feet I did yesterday. But I feel our birthday party/thanksgiving dinner was a success and I'm glad I got the house spruced up as much as I did. It had fallen into a pretty dusty grimy state of disrepair. Hazel helped a lot. Dusted things and helped me cut up celery and apples and pare potatoes. Reminded me of when I was young and helping my mother in the kitchen. I definitely helped her a lot on the holidays but also helped her most afternoons just with little things like preparing vegetables, cleaning carrots, shucking peas or corn and paring potatoes for dinner. At the time I felt like it was interrupting my *busy* life of sitting in my room reading but I'm glad now I learned how to cook from her this way.

Andy was VERY good with all the company we had here last night. He was a little too excited when Chloe and Mike arrived first but we held him in one spot away from them till he got calmer and then let him go to greet them. He wanted to jump up a bit but soon got over it. I'm glad they were the first arrivals cause they are used to dogs and Chloe has special charming abilities with most animals. From then on as other people arrived he became calmer and calmer with each new arrival. David Z brought his little sister Lori who has Down's Syndrome. She walks with a walker and Andy was very respectful of her - though after about an hour and she didn't eat the cheese on the plate she had set on a low table beside her (the usual table that Andy is allowed to sit on and look out the window) he gently reached over and ate the cheese. Lori and I looked at each other and laughed. Hazel brought out the laser light after dinner and Andy chased it for us. Very funny.

So - back to my usual life today.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Every dish and cup we own in its proper place - at least for a few minutes early this morning.

I'm building up the desire and fortitude to go to Sears Optical to get them to do something to help me get proper glasses. They put the wrong reading strength on my glasses prescription - which I then had filled at another place. I hate confrontations and if I had gone before this I would have gone in angry (which is why I haven't gone yet). But I'm having more conversations inside myself where I am going there and asking for their help rather than going in all stiff and accusing and demanding. I think I can do it now. They are going to have to give me some money back or something so I can get some new glasses made and I will be nice and *firm* with them till I get it. Or else I will just forget it all and find a way to live with these stupid glasses - carry around a magnifying glass... NO!

Looks like there will be no rain today - perhaps I will have a bike ride while I am going out there to Sears.


Observations I had as I was on my bike ride - after I talked to the eyeglass people at Walmart. They said not to worry. They guarantee that I will be happy or they will remake the glasses, no charge. My next step is to go to Sears and see if I actually need a new prescription.

Thinking about my reactions to things - are they "normal" or not? Am I over-reactive? Over emotional? Overly suspicious? Yes, maybe - but I come by it honestly. In many ways I am very like my mother and that was the way she was. Feeling like everything is going to be difficult and a battle. Feeling like I will not be taken care of. Mom was a little woman - short and strong. She lived a hard life where out of nowhere tragedy could strike - was expected to strike - did strike. A fighter. I'm not sure I am as much a fighter as she was but I do have the other parts of her personality - feeling like things will go wrong and I will need to fight. But then in my case I doubt I have the strength. Today I started to wonder - do I really need to fight? Maybe that is just an over-reaction. Perhaps I could try trusting instead. This whole eyeglass thing. I am going into it assuming these people are trying to cheat me, trick me and will not help me. I need to believe they want to help me! It will be good for their business if they do.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Pier and pond. One of my favorite pictures from tonight - taken at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.

Dave and I decided to go out to the Sugar Lake Hotel for dinner tonight. Even though Sugar Lake is only about 12 miles away, amazingly I have never been there. It's just a small village - the only thing there is the hotel bar and lots of cottages around the lake. After dinner we walked around the lake a ways, then we drove north to see if there was a road that went around the lake. Eventually we saw a sign that said Erie Wildlife Refuge. Just the place I have been lately trying to find more information about - and we came upon it by accident! Very serendipitous. Lots of photos... )
summersgate: (eggshells)
I did find one little gem of a memory maker yesterday. This was found in the bottom of my dad's financial file box. It looked like he had hidden it there, wrapped up and secured in another sheet of plain paper.


There is a story about the date that they got married. 1932 was during the depression and since they both worked for the highway department and the rules then were that only one spouse could work for the state (cause jobs were so scarce) they kept their marriage secret for the next 8 years. My mother needed her job so she could take care of her elderly mother and she kept living with her while my dad lived in a rented room and saved money. The only person they ever told was her mother. To the rest of the world they just looked like a couple having a very long engagement. 1940 was the year that they "took up housekeeping" and announced that they were married. They ran away to Buffalo to get married so it could be a secret and I think that must have been why they gave their places of residence as Pittsburgh to help keep that secret.

Anyway - today...
Andy is at the vet's now and I will be waiting till 2 to call and see how he did. Till then more BASEMENT. But it doesn't seem so hard anymore. Later I hope I will be able to show a nice photo of it ready to be a work space.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
John and Mom.

Well, one of the first things I thought of on this topic was to continue writing about my brother and how he showed an exceptional amount of human spirit to continue his life in spite of the difficulties he faced. Then looking through my files to see if I could find a good photo I came across this one of him and mom. This was after mom's stroke and you can see her bravery too. She was very much cut down after her stroke. It took her ability to speak, her ability to read, her ability to work with numbers and do the taxes - something she took great pride in, her ability to sew and cook, her ability to walk without a cane. She was 74 when she had the stoke and she lived for 26 more years. The last 15 were spent sliding deep into dementia - another thing that cut her down even farther. How does one live without self pity? I spent so much of my life watching those two not falling into self pity - so why can't I do that one simple thing? I feel like I was the one in the family to gather up all the sadness and hold it inside me. It fills me to the brim and sloshes over frequently. I'm the melancholy one. Though I know that isn't exactly true - [ profile] earthmother45 feels it too.

Later... Next day now - Sunday. Maybe the answer is in that question I keep coming back to: Am I living in the problem or am I living in the solution? It's a switch in the mind that can be flipped and it makes all the difference. I think they became experts at flipping that switch. I am still working on it.

We had a busy day around here yesterday. Chloe and her fiance Mike, and Johnny and his fiance Alison, plus Jules and his boys all came over for a birthday party for Sebby last night. I spent the afternoon house cleaning. I did take a nap too. We had a nice party with pizza and cheesecake. Sebby got a new bass guitar and amp. I gave him a stand to hold his 3 guitars and a bunch of sketchbooks - he's an artist too.

During the birthday song.

I have lots to do today. Start painting and preparing the pages of a new Everything Book, figure out how to get the prescription benefit with our new medical insurance, contact an etsy customer to converse about a commission she wants, basement sorting and cleaning work as always. The writing prompt today is Renaissance Woman. I have nothing to say about that.

And while I'm at it - here's my spad for today - once again my right foot and Andy, in the darkness of the bedroom early this morning:

We find Andy is just too big to sleep on the bed with us so I brought up an old sheepskin for him to sleep on beside the bed. He was happy to sleep on it last night but this morning after he woke up he started to eat it.
summersgate: (eggshells)
do not tell me what to eat
do not tell me what to do
do not give me advice - I won't take it
do not tell me how to live
do not tell me what to wear
I will only turn my back and
do exactly what I want,
the opposite of what you say.

Ha - this reminds me of when Gabe and I were eating out yesterday and he got Eggs Benedict. He had never had them before so I thought I knew better how he should eat them. Break the egg yokes first so he could sop them up with his potatoes and the English muffin. But he didn't want to do what I said and it became our joke that he didn't need lessons from Grammy in how to eat. Yes, he did - I have had 45 more years experience in how to eat! Then he gave me lessons on how to eat my scone - eat the points first - which I accepted. Next he was having trouble cutting his muffin with his fork and I told him to use his knife but he used his left hand on the knife and was still having problems. I told him to use his right hand (which worked better) and then it was like I told you so! Grammy knows best - take advantage of her vast knowledge and let her give you lessons in eating!

But I am probably the most rebellious person I know, and always have been. My mother always wanted to give me her advice and I absolutely would have none of it. Poor mom.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Back to enameling bluebirds.

The GPS watch has been telling me to "Move!" all day. I don't think I have yet moved enough to satisfy it to stop reminding me to move. Yesterday I walked 21,343 steps and traveled 9.3 miles. Today so far I have gone only 849 steps and .3 mile. I haven't even got out of my pajamas and it's nearly 5.

I took a long nap this afternoon and had a dream about my mom and brother John. This is the second time in a week where I was bawling in a dream - missing family members who are gone. Maybe it is this time of the year. The stark coldness and how nature is dead here. It is easier to slip into the other world and see the people there. I was crying in the dream cause I knew within the dream that it would soon be over and they would be gone. I couldn't hold on. As I woke up it was like I was rushing upward through dark water into the light. There was even a sound like the sound effect that they use in "Lost" - the rushing sound when they are switching scenes and going into the past. We've been watching Lost - me for the second time and Dave for the first time. And as I'm watching I'm thinking, I know even now that I'm going to want to watch it a third time someday. It's one of my all time favorite TV series.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
rocks and mountains
waves cold and crisp
pines and sea grass
bedrock that goes deep and
that has been scrubbed well
fresh air and blue skies
gray Atlantic waters
a place that is alive

The dream vacation. I can see me on those rocks skipping over that water. Actually not. I don't think I would feel safe doing that - but I would be walking on the shore enjoying the views immensely. The kids would be on those rocks.

In 1986 when Dave and I were getting married we had a plan to travel to Maine for our honeymoon. The wedding was scheduled for June 21. But on June 2nd my mom had a serious stroke and it seemed like a bad idea to be away for very long and we canceled the honeymoon. So Maine now has come to be a big deal in my mind. I didn't go there then so I want more than anything to go there now. Hopefully this year will be the summer for the trip and we will take the grandkids with us. I've been researching places to hike and visit.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Going through old things of my parents really makes me think - what is it all for? I found a whole box of index cards this morning that my mother had made (in her quavery post-stroke handwriting) that listed movies in the VHS collection that my dad had made. He taped hundreds and hundreds of movies for them all (Dad, Mom and John) to re-watch. Mom listed them on the index cards with a little synopsis, star rating and the # of the tape the movie was on. How many hours did she put into doing this, and how many hours did Dad spend driving into town and renting the movies and then taping them? All for something I just threw away - boxes and boxes of them. Not that I don't see the value of hobbies and interests - I think there would be less war and less trouble in the world if more people had more hobbies. I don't know what I'm getting at really... But I see how valueless all this stuff that we do - that I do - will be someday. Probably the most important thing I did this week was play cards with Rossy and spend time with him. Making him feel good about himself will pay off in the long run - something that will live on - helping a child grow up happy. There is nothing else that will last after I am gone. Perhaps the jewelry I make might last beyond my lifetime but that will not effect the future much - not in the same way that putting energy into children or other people will. I think that as I'm aging this is the the epiphany I am having: that very little of what I "do" (make - produce) is important (and I used to think it was the most important thing!)

PS - Back to thinking about the tapes of movies Dad made and the work Mom did in organizing them. That was their love for John coming through. Giving him something to do while stuck in bed all day. He died before them so where did that love go? It leaked out to the side to me, so I could witness it and carry it forward.
summersgate: (eggshells)
We watched "Glen Campbell: I'll be Me" last night. Quite heartrending. I was reminded how my mom's mind was still pretty good at rare times, even to the end with social things and her love of music - the same way Glen was in the documentary. He didn't know what day it was, where he was or who anyone was but he sure could still play the guitar and sing.

Well, today is another Wonderful Wednesday and it is drizzling - I will be staying home for sure. It will be nice to catch up on things around here. Working on some new jewelry and making an etsy listing would be good. Though later, after school, I need to take the 2 older grandboys shopping for dress shirts and pants cause they will be going to the homecoming dance on Friday.

Yesterday some members of our women's group and I went to Sharon to see a quilt artist displaying at a gallery there. It was nice to see some new art and be inspired.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Today is the 3rd anniversary of Mom's death. In a way that is recent I suppose but it seems a world away now. I still have a backlog of stuff to clean up from those days of Mom, Dad and John living next door - in their garage (Jules' garage now) and in our basement. Yesterday I did make an attempt to deal with the basement and worked a couple hours there sorting things. It involves so many memories. Not sure that I will ever want to see that stuff again but later generations might so I think I should save some of it. But we need to make room for the living to live in! That means Jules' garage should be usable for him and his car and our basement needs to become a bigger workroom for Dave. Living! Life! Live! That is what I want to do. And that means we need our own space to live in - no more storing of dead people's things. I was thinking some of these thoughts yesterday as I worked down there and I could feel their (Mom, Dad and John's) souls in agreement with those ideas, they were spurring me on. I love them still and they love me too, but they WANT me to move on and live life to the fullest.

This morning - the cafe table set up as a place to work on state sales taxes. Another backlog of things that needs dealt with. It's always there now and I can sit down and write in a few entries whenever I have a moment. There are 6 months of receipts to go through at the moment.

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny (not too hot) day. Walked with Berdella in the morning and made progress in the basement in the afternoon and then in the evening Dave, Sebby, Rossy and I biked. Today it's overcast and much cooler - only mid 60's.

"Earth Grass and Sky" pendant - sterling, sky blue topaz, tiger eye and nephrite jade Listing HERE

That is supposed to be a little abstract biker figure in the middle. Something I thought up as I was biking last week.

We watched to movie "The Woman in Gold" yesterday. I thought it was really good. Recommended.


Jul. 12th, 2015 07:53 pm
summersgate: (eggshells)
Spent most the day alone - Dave went to Cooks Forest with his brother Bruce and the grandboys were at their mom's. Got into a sad mood. Felt like I was communing with mom and dad and John. More mom than anyone. Not exactly sad, though I wanted to cry. I hadn't been a perfectly loving person all the time with her (who can say they are? maybe there is someone?) but I was sensing that she forgave me. I made some progress in the basement - emptied 2 boxes of books - stayed with it for one hour, then I came upstairs and started to watch Joseph Campbell's Mythos. I got the whole Mythos series quite a few months ago but it just sat there unwatched till today. Also made progress with new jewelry. I came across an old sketch book from 2008 in the basement. I had so many good ideas in there for jewelry. I started a pendant today that I designed then. Now it's time to go next door and watch TV with Jules and his kids. They have been saving episodes of Wayward Pines for me.
summersgate: (eggshells)
I thought I would look up in my old tags for when I last made a handmade book or the handmade paper and in doing that I came across this entry from 2009. Brought tears to my eyes to go back to that time. Life is so much simpler now but I got through that time anyway, with a little help from my friends and Dave was my biggest, best friend!
summersgate: (eggshells)
I didn't see it but I heard it - a robin in the thick of the hedge. It doesn't feel like spring though, except for the quality of the light - the light seems to be more golden, warmer than it was in the winter. It was 20 F this morning and the ground was quite crisp when I went out to fill the bird feeders. Still lots of deep snow out there in the yard. Today will probably be another day where I stay in all day and try to get caught up. It's nice I suppose that I am getting orders but I will be glad when I have them all filled. It's not the jewelry that makes me feel overwhelmed though. It is the taxes that need sorted though and I have to call a doctor's office to argue a bill. That is what seems "too hard" for me to do. Blaa.

Early this morning I watched the documentary Choosing to Die made by Terry Pratchett about assisted suicide. Brought tears to my eyes of course to see it (doesn't the thought of death do that anyway?) but made me think. We give the gift of death to our beloved pets who are suffering but not to ourselves? If we all could have avoided seeing the end years of mom - so sad much of the time, truly suffering from dementia would we have wanted her to get out early, been okay with it if she had decided to do this? We had to watch dad try to get out early by giving up on eating. That doesn't happen very fast though - not in a few moments like assisted suicide does. It was what it was and I guess I'm okay with what it was. But if my end took a path into suffering what would I do? Is it "wrong"? Can it be "right"? Thank god we have hospice anyway.

And on a totally different subject - here's something cheerful hanging in my window - a little tree made for me by my sister, [ profile] earthmother45:

The perfect thing to look up and see on this cold morning. Looks like the snow is melting all around the tree - the sky lit by a beautiful warm sunrise.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Know someone with alzheimer's or dementia? Want to watch something that might make you cry in a good way? Watch the documentary Alive Inside. It's about how giving mp3 players and headphones to residents in nursing homes (with their favorite music) can spark them back to life. Amazing. But watching it keeps bringing me to tears over and over - so many "lost" faces, with dull and empty expressions exactly like my mom's was. It's nice to see them get connected and come back to life in the film. That was the main reason I took care of mom at home. I didn't want to miss those moments of connection she would have - even if they only happened every few days. It was depressing to watch her "misery" face every day but worth it for the few moments of "happy knowing" when they did come.
summersgate: (eggshells)
26. Things you have in common with your parents?

I wrote about some of that yesterday, not realizing I would be getting this question today. I wrote about how I have the Traveling Pains in common with my mom and the little nervous laugh in common with my dad.

In common with mom:
Love of pets.
Like making things with my hands.
Tendency to want to nurse others.
Like dramas.
Want to control my environment.

In common with dad:
Outdoors walking.
Like comedies.
Building things.
Can hold grudges.
Had acne when young.

In common with both of them:
A desire for peace and a peaceful life without strife.
Taking care of family is important.
summersgate: (eggshells)
25. Do you look like your parents?

Yes, I have the squared chin of my mom, maybe her lips. A lot of my body I got from mom - small stature, sturdy legs, small tapering fingers, fine straight hair. I have sometimes been in stores where I see a mirror far away and have gotten a glimpse of myself and think I see her face. I stand the same way she did with my hands clasped in front of me. I have much of the same personality (though I did not want to admit that for a very long time). Shy, introvert, soft-hearted, excitable and a controller. I also have the same problem with "Traveling Pains" that she did. It seems I always have a pain somewhere in my body. The pains move around but there is always something bothering me somewhere - back pain, arm pain, hip pain, knee pain, shoulder pain. If a pain goes away I can be sure another one will show up somewhere else - always only in one place at a time. Right now it's my right shoulder. Before that it was my right knee. I try to not pay it any attention.

I have my dad's nose and probably eyes too. I can hear my dad's little nervous laugh breaking into my speech sometimes.
summersgate: (eggshells)
It feels like I have had a very long day. Up as usual at 5 to take Jules to work at 6 but Dave and I were up in the night for many hours before that too. He has been having heart palpitations a lot lately - 4 times in the last week and a half and the episodes have been lasting more than a few hours at a time. He went to the emergency room during one of them last week but when he got there it had stopped so there was nothing to show the doctors. The ER doctor said for him to see his family physician so a few days later Dave did and the family doctor ordered an echo-cardiogram and another test. Today was the echo-cardiogram and luckily (I guess in the big scheme of things) Dave was having an episode during the test. Afterwards they sent him over to the ER and from there he was admitted. The atrial fibrillations finally stopped around 1:30 pm. They had been happening since 3 am and Dave was exhausted. So I guess this is the future - Dave is going to have this heart condition and have to take meds and blood thinners the rest of his life. Makes me feel like we are entering a new phase of life - getting older now. It is scary to think how this could have been much worse. This is how my mother had her stroke - she had atrail fibrillations and had a clot go to her brain when she was only 74 - then lived another 26 years with her mind and body drastically diminished from the effects of the stroke. I'm just glad he is being taken care of and has it under control at the moment.
summersgate: (eggshells)

I like this one better. Facts can be used against you - depending on which facts you choose to use.

Sitting outside now, on the (fairly clean) back porch. Sounds of crows, wrens, other birds that I don't know. Woodpeckers far away. The cars on the road - a nearly constant sound. Burning 2 sticks of nag champa (one to the south and one to the west) so if the wind shifts I won't miss out. I am feeling like a whole new person - so relieved that the package was picked up for that customer! Summing up my day. I guess it was a good day - even though I was worrying a lot about that package. I did get down to the basement and cleared out about 7 bags of stuff that came from the bathroom of the house next door. Some stuff that we used for taking care of mom. The zippered pouch that contained her supplies for checking sugar. The little booklet that we used to record her numbers. 4 days before she died we quit checking it and writing them down. I remember how upset I was getting cause the numbers were so high and wanted the nurses to tell me what to do. Finally one just said, quit checking it. There is nothing more you can do. I think it really hit me then. She was dying, for real. They said quit giving her meds too. So hard. That's why I hate going through this basement stuff. You never know when one of these terribly sad memories is going to sneak up on you. But I got through it. Cried a few tears. Came upstairs and worked on the pendant for a while for a break and when I went back I was able to throw the whole thing in the garbage. And now - new things happening. The grandboys just asked if we could go on a bike ride. Yes. Going to pack the bikes on the car and go...

summersgate: (eggshells)
A day (for me) to clean house so family can come over later. A clean house is long overdue anyway. I'm looking forward to everyone being here. We will get Chinese takeout. It should be nice enough weather that we can sit on the back porch and it needs a good cleaning too. Maybe Johnny will be doing that. He has already begun the college student's summer style of sleeping in till noon when he can and I need to wake him up.

Had a dream about mom this morning. It was nice to see her in the dream but she was all mixed up with being like a baby in the dream - like I was her mom, along with being a mom to Chloe, Johnny and Jules too - they were over to the side in the dream. She was trying to eat but forgot to pick up her spoon and was using her hands to dip into her pudding. I picked up the spoon and put it in her hand and was guiding her hand. That's all I remember about the dream but it was a loving dream. I felt good to be helping her and she felt appreciation towards me in the dream. I guess it is still hard for me to forget her last years and go back to remembering her as she was when she really *was* my "mom", above me in the family lineup. Or maybe this is just how it is - a different way of thinking about loving your mom on Mother's Day, if you are fortunate enough to have had her live that long.


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