Monday, December 10, 2018


You know, you don't think about it, about how quickly life can change, and then one day, the husband of your oldest friend gets into his truck to go to work. He'd taken the first week of deer season off, but the weather was bad, and he works for the state highway department. He made the decision to go into work because the weather was bad, and 'the guys would need help'.

Less than a mile from the equipment barn, a truck coming the other way lost control on a curve and hit him head on. 

To me, the miracle will always be that as badly smashed as his vehicle was, he was able to open the door and get out. It was at that moment he realized how badly he was hurt. Crushed ankle, broken hip, nerve damage, 10 broken ribs, and some devastating facial damage (no one will ever have to remind him to wear a seatbelt again, I imagine). 

After three separate surgeries, he finally got out of ICU. After another week, he's being released to a nursing home for rehabilitation. It'll take months before their lives return to any semblance of normal. 

In the end, what matters is friends. It's a powerfully beautiful thing to watch so many people working together to meet the needs of our friends at this difficult time. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Back to Work

I'll be headed back to work on Monday. The doctor seemed surprised that I was ready to go back, but it's time. My knee is still giving me some problems, but I understand that it might be that way for a while. I got another shot of cortisone for it as it continues to heal.

The doctor and his wife and I got into a discussion about turkeys and swapped a few yarns. Mine: In Michigan we had a neighbor who 'owned' a half feral cat named Buzzard. He was not a very nice cat, but he was a character and you had to respect that about him. Our adjoining properties backed up to the woods, and one day I watched Buzzard coming through the underbrush between the woods and our yards. He was low to the ground as if he was stalking something, but instead of looking intently ahead, he kept stopping, throwing a look over his shoulder and then continuing is low slow move to the safety of his hidey hole behind the neighbor's woodpile. It piqued my attention. Soon a group of about 8 turkeys came out of the brush right behind Buzzard, single file. Every time that Buzzard stopped, the turkeys stopped too, all in a row, their heads bobbing up and down and to the right and the left to see what that cat was doing. When he finally got close to his hidey hole, he broke into a dead sprint, and disappeared behind the woodpile. The turkeys stood still, with their heads bobbing in confusion until they presumably were distracted by something else and wondered off. Turkeys are not bright birds.) We all got a laugh.

It was a very nice three weeks though. I got caught up on things, and I have done more reading than I've been able to do in such a long time. I read Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth' and enjoyed it. I read Michael Ondaajte's 'Warlight' and loved it so much that I'm nearly done with The English Patient (best book I've ever read). I got 'Coming Through Slaughter' but lost the heart for that. I think Ondaajte may be my current favorite author. Last month it was Barbara Kingsolver. I read 'Flight Behavior'. I've read all of her books. 'Plainsong' by Kent Haruf. That's a lot of reading in three weeks, and it was luxurious beyond belief, to simply have time to wallow in books and to not feel guilty about it.

Tim's buck. Probably the most bizarre hunting story I've ever heard. Not sure if I'm allowed to tell it. Just asked Tim. His answer was no. I hope that untold stories do not keep you up at night.

People want to sign an agreement to buy on the house Tim just finished.

Thanksgiving was great.

Because I was laid up. I did a great deal of Christmas shopping on line. I got some unbelievable deals. I got a year's gift subscription for a weekly magazine that costs $4.99 at the checkout. Subscription price was $35 for 54 magazines. I ordered things from UK sites for Colin and Cara, including a special evening for the two of them. (When you are the mother of a minimalist, you have to figure out how to give gifts that won't clutter up their nomadic lifestyle - they tentatively plan to go back to Italy this summer.)  I had a $104. check out total that I saved $60 on and got free shipping to boot. I bought Iris Blueberries for Sal, my favorite book when I was a little girl, one I read to all the kids (shockingly none of them remember this). I had so much fun having the time to browse, I had the chance to get very excited about Christmas.

Tomorrow I'll go to my friend. Her husband was involved in a horrible head on crash and injured very badly. Can you imagine rushing to a hospital and waiting, waiting, waiting...and then when you were finally allowed in to see him, the staff insisted that you be in a wheelchair because he looked that bad? But he was coherent and still making jokes.  I cried to hear that good news.

I plan to get my tree up this weekend, because Monday, I go back to work.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

I was putting my pyrex measuring cup in the cupboard when it happened. I dropped it, it hit the counter and exploded, as only pyrex can do. Glass everywhere. 

Tim wandered into the kitchen to find out what happened. I told him. He wandered back out again. 

I swept up the small bits, picked up the big bits, used a wet paper towel to pick up any small slivers from the counter and then from the floor.

That homely little pyrex measuring cup. 

I've had it most of my life. 

Alexandria, VA as a single parent. Gaithersburg, MD and Baltimore MD, increasing the family. Midland MI trying to make something work that I'd have been better off to abandon quickly. Back to Pennsylvania, a single parent again. And then, unbelievably, married again. And then the kids began to leave. I'm still a mom, but it is different now. I'm a grandma now. 

And all through those years, at least 40 of them, I've been grabbing that two cup pyrex measuring cup from my cupboard multiple times a week. 

On Friday, I broke it, and as I cleaned it up, I found myself getting a little misty about times gone by, of meals, and family, and the work of it all. 


I'm a sap. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Compromise? Capitulation? Dunno.

A couple months ago, William showed me a toy that he wanted desperately. They were odd looking creatures, but cartoons have changed since I was a kid, and some of the creatures ARE odd looking. I let him chatter on about it, and gave him opportunities to earn money towards that toy.

Every time we went to Walmart, he wanted to looks at those toys again. He didn't have enough money saved, but who knows? Maybe they were on sale. (They weren't.)

And he told me that you could watch you-tube videos of these toys. I watched parts of a couple, and they seemed pretty innocuous. He's in second grade now, and he's pretty good at typing stuff into the computer. I wander in and out while he's on the computer, but I guess that I wasn't as focused as I could have been. 

Anyways, he tends to get pretty focused on his interests, and Five Nights at Freddie's was no exception. He went on and on. It was when he came to me with one of his Lego creations that I began to have concerns. He'd built his own scooping room. 

"What's a scooping room?" I asked. He started trying to explain that it was a room that where robots were built. I'm not sure why triggered my suspicions, but I did some checking into Five Nights at Freddy's, something that, admittedly, I should have done before letting him get that involved.

His mother and his grandparents tried to put the brakes on, but it was late for that. He was upset because he wasn't allowed to get the toy he so desperately wanted. He was no longer able to watch the little videos on you-tube. He was pretty upset.

He knows that there's no point in arguing but that knowledge did not stop him from wistfully talking about the fact that kids play this game on the bus on their phones (he does not have a cell phone) or some other handheld devices. A boy in his class felt sorry for him and offered to make a trade for one of the figures. (The trade involved money.)

He was told no.

He was playing with his aunt Cara's teddy bear. We noticed that he was fond of that particular bear. He came to me and commented that he'd like to make a top hat. Grandma, being a bit out of the loop showed him how to use poster board to make the barrel of the hat. We cut out a large circle to attach the barrel to. He used a super large sign marker to color the hat black. We taped it together, and he was excited. He colored two pink circles and asked me to cut them out. I did. He made a star and colored it yellow. He was getting more excited by the minute.

I gave him some strapping tape and he disappeared. When he returned, he had morphed gentle Marshmallow the Bear into Freddy Fazbear

The boy gets points for creativity.

His mother was pretty upset. Grandma felt like she'd ruined the boy for life, but understands that we can't go backwards at this point. He knows about the game. He's seen the game at school. There's a lot of marketing for this game. I don't know why it is being directed at kids.

There are lego sets. There are toys. Videos. Children's Halloween costumes. These introductions are a lot less scary than the game, but in my mind, they are a segueway into something very unhealthy. Grabbing people and dragging them into a scooping room to have their guts scooped out so that these animatronics can wear their skins and fool people just does not sound like wholesome entertainment to the adults that are calling the shots in William's life.

Much to his chagrin.

William went with us to Dylan and Brittani's to meet his cousin. Dylan has a Nintendo. He showed William how to play Super Mario, and William was thrilled. He began to say, "I wish I had a Nintendo game..." and looking at Dylan with big brown eyes. Dylan, being a new dad, does not have the proper skills needed to deal with this kind of manipulation. He said, "You know, William, I don't play this game and I was thinking...." before Grandpa and Grandma cut him off.

William is 7. He won't be 8 until February. There has been plenty of evidence of the effects of video games on the brain of young children. So...we really don't want him to get hooked on video games ADHD is in his genetic make up, and we remain watchful for signs of that.

Ay yi yi.

After some discussion, the decision was made. Today he got an inexpensive handheld Pac-Man game. Our hope was that it would satisfy his video hunger in an acceptable way. The rule is that he gets to play it for 1/2 hour. He earns that time by putting his toys away. Or eating without complaining. (Okay, it's a powerful, powerful bribe).

It was also presented as a way to work up to a Nintendo a year or so from now by proving his maturity: He does the work involved to get his game, and when his half hour is up, he puts the game away with no arguing or complaining.

So far, it seems to be effective.


I've been off work for a few days, and it's been a wonderful time. I made bread three times in the past week, which has always been wonderfully soul satisfyng to me for reasons that I will probably never fully comprehend.

I rediscovered precious time. Imagine getting everything done that you needed to get done...and still have time to sit down with a book. Or to watch a movie. Or to study the firelight reflecting across a gleaming hardwood floor. Or to write a letter.

I'm able to write to Cara now. I have an address for her, and I'm grateful for that. No letters have actually reached her yet, but 3 of them are in transit, a fourth one in progress.

I was working on one the other day and the house was silent save for the ticking of my old clocks. I love my old clocks. No matter what foolishness man is up to, those clocks keep on marking time.

I wrote steadily on my letter to far away Cara.

I heard a train whistle from across town.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I was perfectly poised between the then and now and the here and there. One blessed moment of perfection.

Outside, the snow fell silently.