Monday, March 30, 2015


I've been back from my vacation for a week now. Aside from missing Cara, probably the thing that I miss the most is that there in New Orleans, it was warm and sunny, and we spent most of our time outside. There were birds and blooming jasmine. They were well in the throes of spring there. Here? It's snowing. It's cold.

There are signs of spring everywhere. It's even supposed to get into the fifties this week, and I am looking very forward to that. The grackles are back, and the redwing blackbirds and the robins. You can see buds on the trees, buds waiting for their moment to open. The snow is certainly melting off - there's a lot less of it, and there are patches of grass peaking through. The promise of spring is everywhere, but the promise is not realized yet.

Tim and I went out to buy our meats for the week yesterday. There's a store which has good meat prices, and so we generally go there on Sunday afternoon or evening. We see what is on sale, and that determines what we eat for the week. This week I saw packages of catfish. I saw packages of crawdads. I got an idea. I bought some andouille sausage (not such a bargain, but a necessity). I'll pick up the shrimp at another store today.

I'm making the base for a gumbo.William helped me shuck the crawdads (he played with them, and cried when I 'ope'd' the last one. He was having a good time.) I cut up the sausage, and dumped it in with the catfish, crawdads, onions and celery. I added a can of tomatoes and chiles and let it simmer over night in the crock pot.

I've shut down the crockpot now (I had a cup of broth for breakfast and it was good!) In a few minutes, I'll put the base into the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll skim off the grease, and then I'll spend the day putting together gumbo. Invites issued, and I'm looking very forward to it.

I know that the blog has been quiet. It's been a 'withdrawing' time for me. My life has been dreadfully unbalanced. Too much focus on work. I've also lost some friends. Two have died, another dear friend has withdrawn after making it clear that in her mind, I have 'called Jesus a liar', news that came as a dreadful shock to me. After examining my own conscience, I realized that she was hearing a different message. She feels that we have been charged to tell people that without Jesus, they are going to hell. In my thinking, I would never tell anyone that they are going to hell. Judgement is God's job, and it says THAT in the Bible too. I'm not sure why she views it so very differently from me, why it is such an issue in her heart, but I know her. She is my oldest friend, and it is a shock to lose the comfort of that friendship after all these years, but I have spent much of the winter pondering my thoughts on the subject, and I cannot change what I feel (and feel strongly). At the same time, I know that my friend has a good heart. Whatever is happening here is not happening because my friend is a bad person. She says that she cannot talk to me about the things that are most important to her.

There's also been the concern about Tim's shoulder, and the worry about Cara, and concern for William and his safety. Yeah. It's been a long winter.

But, like I said, the promise of spring is everywhere. Yesterday at work, I realized that I was truly enjoying myself, enjoying the interaction with my customers, the busyness of the job. A coworker asked if I'd always lived in Warren, because it seemed like I knew everybody, and that everyone knew me.

I thought of that last night as William and I worked together. The crawdads weren't the only thing coming out of their shell. The season is changing, and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Hi, folks.

All is well here.

Tim is back to work. He has regained full range of motion, and is continuing to strengthen his arm.

William has turned 4, and is still a joy.

I spent last week in New Orleans with Cara, who was home for an educational conference. It was a joyous week and a nice break from bitterly cold weather here in Pennsylvania. It was in the 80s every single day, and we spent most of that time outside, soaking up the beauty of full-on spring. I took a ton of pictures on Cara's Nikon, and I've been well and truly bitten by the photography bug. Will share pictures later. They are on her camera card. Cara is back in Kabul, and I miss her terribly.

We have a house to put on the market in a couple weeks. Tim and our hired man completely renovated our home in the woods, and it is beautiful.

My life is good and sweet and busy.

Although there was that great and glorious moment when I was laying sleepless in bed and pondering things...and it occurred to me, apropos to absolutely nothing that in 12 years I'll be 70. I laid sleepless in bed for quite a while after thinking that think...

Today at work: A fellow is jawjacking in line, and half paying attention. I got his prescription and said, "Your copay today is a hundred dollars.' His eyes got wide, his face got red, and he stuttered around. I burst out laughing and said, "Just seeing if you're paying attention. It's $11.' Hard to tell who was laughing harder, him or the people in line behind him.

It was a funny day, with lots of chances to joke and laugh with the customers. I enjoy that part of my job very much.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Update on Tim

Tim is still in his sling. His shoulder was far more damaged than expected. He has been in his sling since the 3rd of December, and he has at least two more weeks to go.

We all joke about the time that Tim had the flu for 20 minutes several years back. He simply never gets sick. We had all succumbed one by one to a terrible flu and Tim kept saying, "It can't possibly be THAT bad." Not the sort of thing one wants to hear when they are in the midst of a two day bug that keeps you close to a bathroom for one reason or the other, or both simultaneously. (Sorry for the visuals, but this was some bad stuff...)

Anyways, after over a week of one person or another being sickened, there came the great and glorious day that we all once again sat down to have supper together. Granted, there were some pale faces among us, and none of us ate heartily. Suddenly Tim pushed his chair back from the table, and said, "Gees. I don't feel so great..."

I would like to say that we were sympathetic, but we all muttered, "NOW he'll see..." He staggered over to the sofa, flopped down, fell soundly asleep. After 20 minutes, he suddenly popped up. We dove out of the way, knowing what was coming.

Instead Tim said, "Man. I don't know what that was, but it was awful." And then he got up to go work on a car down at the garage. We all sat in shocked silence. Dylan finally said, "If he ever dies, we need to donate his body to science. His immune system is a super power."

That's Tim. I can count the times that he's been sick, really sick, during our sixteen years of marriage on one finger. And now this.

He had great plans. He knew that the doctors were being over dramatic. Two days after surgery, he had some reno work planned. I cautioned him that he might feel quite differently about it after he actually HAD surgery, but he pooh-poohed me.

He had the surgery, and it took nearly three hours. Thank goodness for a new friend Helmuth who kept up his end of a fascinating conversation. I was grateful for his presence. When Tim finally was done with surgery, he was fretful and ready to go home almost as soon as he woke up.

He didn't like that he couldn't feel his arm at all. He didn't like that several hours after surgery, he could still not feel that arm. I tried to convince him to take the painkillers as prescribed. We had both been warned about letting the pain get ahead of the painkiller, to take them as prescribed to prevent the pain from getting out of hand. But no...I am married to Tim. He was fretful, and he wanted Pizza Hut Pizza, and he was not happy about that arm being numb, and he wasn't taking painkillers that he didn't need.

And this is how we wound up in the ER at 2 AM. Tim's IV 'pain cocktail' knocked him for a loop, and this time he was ever so grateful for the numbness. I trundled him back home to bed at 5 AM.

That experience was an eye opener for him. He has been following the doctor's orders to the very letter, and I have heard no more about reno work. He has been taking it easy, and has not take that sling off except for short showers.

He is healing well. At least two more weeks in a sling before they can ever begin physical therapy. Only then will we know whether the surgery was successful or not.

Just kidding around...

We spent Christmas at Dylan and Brittani's house. It was perfect. William got quite a charge out of their dog Maggie, as you can see in the video.

Dylan loves nothing more than a good joke. He said, "I think that boy needs a dog, Tim." He said it a couple times for effect. He knows that Tim is not a fan of dogs in the house, which is why we don't have one, although Maggie is always welcome to come for a visit. Anyhow, Dylan laughed and laughed at his little joke.

Until we all shot back with this: "Maggie needs a little boy, Dylan." We said it a couple times for effect. We know that Dylan is not quite 'there' yet, although his nephew is always welcome to come for a visit. And we all laughed and laughed at our little joke.

There was no more discussions of dogs OR little boys.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Gone Girl

There are so many stories of this season. I will tell them to you one at a time.

She looked across the room at me with a strange expression. Suddenly she said, "Mom, I want you to have my car."

It was a little like being sucker punched. Amazed I said, "Why?" Since she had gone overseas, it had set in Dylan's garage, waiting for her to come home.

"Because," she began to explain. "I'm not coming back at the end of the year, unless they make us shut down the university and I have to."

"Because," she explained, "you and Tim gave the car to me as a gift and so you should be the ones to get it back."

"Because," she explained, "it's just taking up space in Dylan's garage and that is not fair to either one of them."

What popped into my mind was that she was getting rid of her worldly possessions. I knew that was stupid, but it's what it felt like.

I said, "I don't WANT your car," and her response was, "You and Tim need it."

She came home for two days. In those two days, she cleared all traces of herself from her room. She said, "I want William to have my bedroom furniture." Her loft bed is heavy duty, and the matching desk and dresser and bookshelf are in perfect condition.

One by one, the ties to this place are loosened and she is free to walk in this world. What remains here are boxes of things in the attic.

'Cara's room' is now 'William's room'. 'Cara's car' is now 'mom's car'. She freely gave of her things. Her DVD player showed up in our bedroom. She gave things to her sister.

Sunday she leaves again, headed back to Afghanistan. I drove her car home from work in the dark last night, and I listened to the CD that she left behind. The band is 'A Great Big World', and snippets of lyrics catch my ear.

If only New York wasn't so far away
I promise the city won't get in our way
When you're scared and alone,
Just know that I'm already home


Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now


Shorty don't wait in line
Short don't wait til' the sun don't shine
Shorty don't wait in line
Shorty don't wait until your life goes by

I listen to the lyrics, all of them. Words catch my ear, and feel like valuable clues, or maybe secret messages to me. I drive in the dark, and I find myself missing her so much that it actually hurts.

But she is doing great things, and I am proud of her. In her, I see what I used to be. Where did that go? When did it stop?

I have her little car and I will drive it around my world, and it is a connection to my girl who travels in a much larger world.