Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oblivious, as usual.

So there I was sitting in the dark, perusing and pinning wedding ideas on Pinterest, daydreaming happily, when Tim came in. The street was swarming with police, all up and down the side streets, patrolling yards, and he imparted this information a bit agitatedly.

Me, slowly dragging myself from centerpieces and flowers and swathes of tulle, responded with, "You're joking."

He wasn't.

I looked out the window. Two police officers shined their lights in my face.

"What's going on?" I said to Tim.

Tim snapped, "I don't know!" and headed for the third floor to get a better look. I started up after him, only to meet him heading back down. "We need to lock our doors!"

The police were on the other side of the hedge, and being that when I'm not being oblivious, I'm pretty dang nosy, I said, "Hey...can I ask? What's up?" in a quiet voice.

They answered just as quietly, "We're looking for the fellow that lives here," shining their light at the apartment window.

Since I am not 'the fellow that lives here', I was much relieved.

I really wouldn't know him if I fell over him to be honest. The fact is, I've probably seen him around and even talked to him, but have no idea who lives where. Don't know what he's done, but he's got local and state law enforcement after him.

Living in the city is a lot different than living in the woods. When we had activity in the back yard at night, it was generally a bear. You know what you're dealing with when you're dealing with a black bear. You cannot say that about people.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

All quiet...on the blog, anyway.

I am doing something that I have never done before. I'm waiting. There is a promise lurking, one that is so grand I can't even bring myself to speak of it for fear of jinxing it. I took part time work and am waiting. It's kind of a nervewracking time.

You know that Dylan proposed to Brittani, right?

That was also the day that a fellow ran a stop sign and demolished Cara's new car. She's okay, thankfully, although we were worried that one hand might have some permanent nerve damage, muscle relaxers and strong pain medication are starting to ease most of her symptoms. She's currently been given a "SUH-weeeeeeeeeeeeeeet" little Toyota to drive from the fellow's insurance company. We are grateful that the accident happened during a busy time, and that six witnesses stopped. The other driver also took full responsibility. He will probably lose his job over it, which is sad.

That day was also Brianna's birthday, her 31st, a fact that I remembered about noon. Made me feel terrible. Her husband was sick anyway, so we went out for dinner the following day, and we babysat so that she and her husband could have a night out.

The blog has been quiet.

My life? Not so much...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I was on facebook last night, and an acquaintance posted a picture of her favorite tree.
I looked at the tree and immediately messaged back. "Is this tree located on the road by the Rouse?" She responded, "Yes."

It's funny. This is my favorite tree too.

I knew this tree as a young girl on a school bus. 40+ years ago, and it symbolized something then. All these years later, it continues to symbolize something to me, something different but just as relevant to my heart.

I never knew anyone with a favorite tree before. Now I do. We've got thousands of trees here in our woods. How strange that her favorite tree would be my favorite tree.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I think that I'm allowed to share the news. Dylan proposed to Brittani in Paris on the 2nd anniversary of their first date. I do not know the details, only that Brittani described it as the most romantic and memorable night of her life. They are back in London now, and will be headed home Friday. Tim and I are very pleased.

I am not sure what is going on at work, but the one thing that I know for a fact is that the organization wants to keep me very badly. That has never happened to me before. I've always been expendible. I don't know why it is that I find myself dealing with angry people, again and again. I've always had the notion that when you find yourself in the same repeating scenario, God is trying to teach you something.

My customary way to handle angry people is to leave them alone. I avoid them. I come from a very angry family, so that made things awkward, but I've never found myself able to reason with angry people. Seems like they want to be mad about something and you're as good an excuse as any. So I do the 'duck and run'. I'm not afraid. It's mostly that I know that I am, at the heart of myself, an angry person too, and I have spent a lot of years carefully trying to be something else. I've gotten so good at not being angry that when I do get angry, I always feel guilty and ashamed. No matter what, I feel that I have failed when I get pissed.

Finding myself at odds with this co-worker was difficult. I tried very hard to keep my mouth shut, my head down, and to work like none other, but she really did want to fight. It was non-stop sniping and complaining. I asked for a transfer, sending a group e-mail to four people. I got no reply, and two weeks after that, I came home just sick to my stomach once again. The woman had picked all night long. Finally, I snapped. I said firmly, "You know, Bev, there is more than one way to accomplish a task. Just because I do it differently, does not mean that I am wrong or that I am stupid, and you need to lighten up."

She was shocked spitless. When the next shift came in, she was telling them all, over and over, how I had gotten mad and began screaming at her. There was no screaming. But there it was: my word against hers.

I'd apprised the managers of the problems right along but had received no real response. They know that she is difficult, and that every single person who has ever worked night shift leaves due to the difficulties. I went on night shift because I was supposed to train a kid. Bev was too impatient, and the managers felt that the boy had a good heart, and with patient guidance could be an asset. Much to my surprise, as soon as I went on nights, the boy was transferred to days. I think that they felt that because Bev and I are approximately the same age, I'd be better able to tolerate it. Maybe they thought she wouldn't pick so much on a peer. I don't know, but I sure had a problem.

After a sleepless day, I went in to work that night and gave my two week notice. That decision was based on the fact that I want to work there as a COTA one day. I didn't want to jeopardize that by having a complaint on my record that I was hard to get along with or unprofessional. It seemed wise to give up the job. Tim had been pushing me to do that for a couple weeks. I really was wanting the stress to end. I was miserable and worst of all, that angry person that lives inside of me? I was afraid that that she'd get loose...that I would get angry. That I would behave badly. That's what scared me the most of all, to be very honest.

Two weeks ago, I handed in my resignation to my manager. Last week, I went in to talk to HR about a job I was looking at. Since my resignation was not yet in effect, would it be considered wrong, or trickery to apply for this job as an insider. The HR person looked at me, shocked, began to ask questions, and then got another person who asked even more questions.

It was explained to me that they have spent $3500 to train me for this job. That I was valuable. That I was just what they were looking for. That if I didn't fit where I was at, I should have been moved upon request. That worksite harassment was not tolerated.

One thing led to another, and suddenly things were happening. The most shocking thing is after speaking with my coworker, she received a five day suspension. The other staff (and the management) backed me. The night nurses. The security staff.

I am applying for new jobs within the company.

I'm valuable to the company. They want to keep me.
That still amazes me.

I think this is the value of education.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thursday was my day to drive to the big city for my annual cancerversary check up.

I hate it.

I hate going in those front doors. I hate feeling like a patient. I hate the surreptitious looks of others even as you're surreptitiously looking at them. The place was packed, as usual. There were so many people there. The elderly man, thin and grimy and smelling strongly of unwashed body. A woman about my age, wearing pajama pants. There's a fashion statement I never understood. What kind of person wears fuzzy pink pajama pants with frogs on them in public? There were elderly ladies. There was a husband and wife who were obviously dealing with this for the first time, and looked a bit shellshocked. There was a guy who blessed me when I sneezed while talking a steady patter of soft Spanish into his cellphone. There was another Debbie/Debby who stood up with me when they called our name. It was a moment of humor.

 I did what I needed to do, and then got the all clear for the fourth year, and sprang out those doors like I had a fire lit under my butt. How do I feel about that? Good. Don't get me wrong. But I don't feel good, and that is the thing that completely mystifies me. I have never gone back to feeling good. I don't trust how I feel because I felt great and found out I had cancer. Since treatment, I have been plagued by aches and pains and tiredness. I'm not sick. I function well enough to hold down a job, but if you stop me at any given time and say, "Right do you feel?" I'd give you a list: my back hurts right here. My side hurts right here. My neck..." It makes me feel like a complainer, like some grannie with her list of pains, so I don't talk about these things. There's nothing to be done, anyway.

Once a year, I go to the cancer center, and they ask me how I feel, and I tell them. They tell me everything looks good, and that I'm probably dealing with fibromyalgia, which I should probably bring to the attention of my primary care provider. I say "great!", and I spring back out the front door like I have a fire lit under my butt.

If I can pull this scenario off just one more year, I will be given a new title. It will be 'cured'. Five years out, and I'll be called cured. I covet that title, and can't wait.

After springing out of there, I comforted myself with a walk through my favorite thrift store, and I found something, a sampler. Framed. Under glass. I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out my reading glasses. I squinted my eyes and made out the tiny name...'Ann Martin, 1808'.

Incredulous, I study it closely. I see the tiny stitchery. I see the individual threads of the cloth. I turn it over. It is professionally framed by a place in Waterford. The price is $5.99. I waver. It can't be a real sampler, but it sure looks like it.

There is the yellowing and the staining one would expect to see on a piece of material that old. The colors are muted and dull as you would expect vegetable dyes of that age to be. The piece is even slightly crooked in its frame, just a bit of unevenness as you would expect a piece of stretched cloth to be.

I make out the writing:

On Diligence

How truly blest are they who leisure find
to dress the little garden of the mind.
That gratefull tillage well rewards our pains
sweet is the labor, certain are the gains.
The rising harvest never mocks our toil.
We are sure of the fruit if we manure the soil.

It is difficult to read because the 's' look like 'f', and the writing is tiny, the phrasing unfamiliar. I ponder this. It's not a cheerful little homily that lends itself to duplication. I mean, 'manure the soil'? What pushes me to buy it is this: that it tickles me to think of it. Tim is not a reader, and sometimes he is impatient with me, because my nose is in a book. He's a doer. I can tell him that I'm manuring my mind, and he'd totally agree with that. He thinks its b.s. anyway. So I buy it.

I take my little bag and tuck my largish sampler under my arm and head out the door to head out of the big city and travel the hour back home. It's a delightful drive in the autumn. The leaves are beginning to change already, and I glanced over at the sampler there on the passenger seat and wondered about what I had there, all framed and under glass, getting a little anxious to take it all apart and see.

Suddenly, I got the notion. This is an adventure for sisters, so I took a detour in Corry and headed for the little town of Grand Valley where my sister is. We both marveled at the sampler, and we could not tell. She gave me a razor knife and we slowly and carefully slit the paper in the back and began to remove the tiny little nails that held it in place. We both simultaneously said, "AWWWWWWWWWWWWW!" in disappointment to discover it was a print.

I spent the next couple of hours helping my sister. We talked quietly and comfortably. We went to the post office to pick up a shipment of new baby chicks. I handed them to her one by one as she checked their bottoms and then dunked their little beaks in the water and watched them swallow, and then dipped their beaks in the feed. Once she was sure that they would know to eat and drink, she turned them loose in their new home, and I handed her another. 

Two sisters laughed in the changing seasons, the autumn sun warm. The chicks peeped, the chickens chucked quietly to themselves, and her cows bawled in the distance.

When I went home, I took a dozen of brown eggs with me. They rode next to me, set carefully on the seat next to the worthless sampler. It had been a golden sort of day and it had nothing to do with the falling leaves. I drove, singing along to "Behind Blue Eyes" by the Moody Blues and I was glad.

Late Edit:  I am not disappointed that the 'sampler' turned out to be a print. It lent itself quite nicely to pleasant day dreams on the way home as I tried to calculate the price of something that old. It was one of those moments that are commonplace on the 'Antique Roadshow'. The idea to spontaneously share the adventure with my sister came to me, and so I did, because she loves old stuff too. It was a fun day with many dreams, and it is never a bad thing to feel the fragility of new life in your cupped hands.

The 'sampler' hangs in the library, and I will never see but what I don't think of an autumn day. It's only worthless in the financial sense, but it was a miraculous balance to a day that started out so icky.

Friday, September 21, 2012

First kiss

William spent the night with his grandparents. He is a pretty predictable little guy. The first thing that he did when he hit the front door is run to look for ceiling fans. For reasons I cannot know, he loves ceiling fans, and he will stand beneath them with a broad smile calling 'MAN!!! MAN!!!!'

(Side note: Another day, we were at the library, and he was marvelling at their ceiling fans which were two stories above the main lobby, way high up there. He was pointing and yelling "Man!!! Man!!!" The librarian said, "What does he see?" I explained about the fans. She said, "Oh, I thought he was saying 'man'." I said, "Well, he is, because he does not seem able to say the 'f' sound, which is okay, because the 'f' sound can get a body into a whole lot of trouble.")

The second thing he went looking for was the buffalo. He always sort of sneaks up on it cautiously, to see that it hasn't come down off the wall, possibly to 'get' him. Once he has assured himself that it hasn't moved, he has a garbled word that means 'Bob the buffalo'.

The third thing he did is to wander around the house calling "Baaaaaaa-ba. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-ba." He is always amazed to discover that his ba-ba is gone, and comes to me with a quizzical expression on his face, making the 'all gone' motion with his little hands. I explain to him that 'Ba-ba' is at work and will be home later.

Apparently he has some difficulty with the 'p' sound as well.

We had an exciting afternoon, but he began to get a little cranky, keeping to his habits, so he lay down on the couch for a cuddle with grandma. As soon as he dozes off, Grandma heads for the kitchen to fix supper.

When he wakes up, he is chirpy and bright eyed, and looking for his 'ba-ba' once again. It is a very exciting moment when he sees that red car pull up into the driveway.

We keep the little guy busy, but the last thing we do before coming in for the night is to take a walk. It is getting close to bedtime, and he puts up far less fuss about it if we simply wear him out. He had three helium balloons to walk, and he went along happily babbling to his balloons. On the way home, predictably, he wore out, and he wanted to be carried.

Our secret weapon at that point is 'One, Two, Three, Whee,' and he was swung into the air. He loves that. Most importantly, it keeps him walking for the rest of the way home. We like tired little boys at our house.

Home from our walk, he began to fuss in a tired sort of way. I looked at him and said, "Would you like a bath? With your cups?" He stopped crying immediately and studied me. He gently took my hand and began to pull me towards the bathroom.

I kneel beside the clawfoot tub, and reach over the high sides, scooping up water and pouring it out again and again. He loved the streams of water, and the splashing, and he played for a good long time. Suddenly, he got up, and stood, holding on to the side of the tub, between where my arms rested, staring at me intently. I said, "What's up, my little pippermasqueak?" and ever so gently, he leaned forward and kissed me right between the eyes.

There's a 'moment' right there. It was grandma's first kiss.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Looking ahead

I've been feeling sick about resigning a job before I had another. I've never done that before. Tim is right that we can afford this. Tim is also right that I need to have the time to properly look for another job. Today, I have applied online for 3 jobs in Erie. I have signed up to take the civil service exam for some local jobs. I am out the door to drop off an application with the school district.

In the middle of all that agonizing (have I done the right thing?), there is something new taking root. A curiosity. I'm excited to see what comes next.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Bush Babe started me thinking on it. She suggested I 'choose wisely'.

I realized that I have always been waiting to be chosen, sort of like the klutz in gym class, waiting, hopefully hopeless. I've spent my life waiting to be chosen.

When I was chosen, I always took it, straightaway. There were always kids, or responsibilities, it was always a necessity.

It was Tim that pointed out that a great many of those responsibilities are taken care of now, and then we are financially in better shape than we have ever been in our lives. He wanted me to quit weeks ago. I was determined to make it work. My sister stopped by and lectured me as well. Listening to the two of them, last night, I realized that they were saying the truth.

This is my chance to choose.

I will choose wisely, BB. I won't rush willy nilly into the first thing that chooses me. I will choose wisely. Tomorrow, I'm going to the unemployment agency. There's a job I want to apply for. It would be a good hours drive to work and then back home again. It is an OTA job. The real deal, working with veterans.

I am a veteran. I am an OTA. I think that it might be a good fit for me. But I'll have plenty of time to think before I make my choice.

It's kind of a private astonishment to me, and I marvel that I am able to make a choice.

And I am grateful that life has come around to this.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trusting myself.

I've spent most of my life 'settling'. That means trying to make difficult situations work, when they are really not working at all. I don't know why, exactly, but I always have this feeling that I have to make it work, mostly because I have nothing better to replace it with. Part of it is self esteem, I imagine.

Tonight, I am handing in my two week notice at my current job.

I am trusting that there is something out there for me, somewhere. I am trusting in my own ability to find it, trusting that I will recognize it when I see it.

I'm not accustomed to trusting myself. Tonight is a big step for me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bob Says Hi.

Well, I went back to the old blogger format, and there it all is, all the icons, just the way it's meant to be. And as Jeanie has suggested, I bookmarked this, so that I will always be able to use it. Gees. What a challenge. Especially for a woman that needed two days to figure out her new toothbrush was electric.

As I reckoned, I do not have time to do a full post. I've spent the last couple days with William, and everything stops as I wallow in some 'granny time'. We have so much fun!

All the time that I spent putting the play room together, and dreaming of the day when he would be old enough to play up there...

(sorry so dark...)

Well... that day has come.

For once, I took a picture that I was not ashamed of.

I know! I was shocked too.

That rocker in the background behind the antique crib we found? That was mine, when I was a little girl. I've never known a time when I did not have that chair. My own have all rocked in it, and now William rocks in it.

The poor Playskool wagon holds blocks, and that was also mine when I was a little girl. Cara likes to point out the chew marks on the blocks and suggest that the blocks were painted with lead based paint, which explains a great deal in her mind.

It leaves my mind with a question: why did I have kids?

When you go out of the play room, you are in a big hall. There are two sets of doors that lead to the attics, long attics that run the entire length of the house on both sides. They really are wonderful. Across the hall there is a bedroom. We really haven't done a lot with that, not yet anyway. Tim painted it.

And in hall, at the top of the stairs that leads from the third floor to the second...

The afternoon light shining through the window is giving everything a golden glow. I love that. It almost makes it look magical, doesn't it? The room we entering into is the little reading nook. Here's that little reading nook. Bear in mind that everything is still a work in progress. I collect things along the way, which is why things may still look a little 'naked'. For this room, I need a little white book case to hold the children's books. All in good time. All in good time.

My friend got me this when she heard about my little reading nook. I love this.
It is the perfect touch.

I have to work tonight, so I'll stop the tour here, but Bob has been hanging around waiting to say hi!

Tell me true...

Okay. I'm still looking at a screwed up 'new post' page on blogger. It shows a series of arrows, Link, but no option for adding pictures or a video. Is this what everyone else sees? I'm trying to figure out if this is blogger glitch or some quirky result of the latest computer repair.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Blogger irritates me

Well, folks. I sat down to the computer, downloaded the long awaited house pictures and brought up blogger, only to discover that there is no icon for downloading pictures. I have tried some basic tricks, but you understand from the last post that I have some serious technological handicaps. I am hopeful that this is something blogger will tend to shortly. Probably when I don't have time to sit down and put together a lengthy blog post. Always some darn thing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sad but true...

I'm here, I'm here. Just hit by a tidal wave of tiredness that I can't seem to climb on top of. Everything just seems to take more energy than I have. I'm hoping to catch up on sleep in the next three days. Thanks for checking in Coralee, but the truth is no more interesting than that.

I went shopping the other day. I had to pick up some things, to include a new toothbrush for myself. So I saw one on sale, and thought, "Cripes...$2.97 for a toothbrush is the SALE price?" but I bought it because it was on sale. And hot pink, not something that I'd accidently mix up with Tim's toothbrush. Those two things.

Later that night. I opened the toothbrush. Used it like one generally does with a toothbrush, and grumbled a little when I discovered that the handle was so thick that it did not fit in my toothbrush holder.

Life went on.

Honestly, two days later I was using my toothbrush. Much to my amazement the thing began to vibrate and buzz in my mouth. I almost dropped it in the sink.

The fact that it took me two days and 5 teethbrushings to realize my toothbrush was electric is a sad commentary on the severity of my technological deficiencies. It also makes it easier to understand why my husband's cell phone number is taped to the back of my phone.