Gathering Graces 7/22/2017

*The day began with a big hug from Zoe as she departed for her home back in Caldwell for a couple of weeks.  We will miss her, because it has been so great having her here for the summer.
*When I arrived at Kindred this morning, Mom was in her wheelchair, and they were making her bed.  They got her dressed and back into bed, and she was ready to rest.  While I was there I turned on Mom’s Smart TV, and pulled up a radio interview my sister-in-law Debbie and her group Babes With Axes has done on Friday for Mom and I to listen to. Babes With Axes was having a reunion concert in Eugene, Oregon tonight.  It was fun listening to the interview, and hearing a few of the songs that the group would be performing at the concert.
*Mom’s friend Mary Pierce arrived for a visit, so I left so they could visit together.  Mary asked me a bit about my trip to Italy, and asked if I had made it to Croatia, because that is where her mother was from.  I said, no I was only in Italy.
*Paul went over and sat with Mom in the afternoon.  She was too sleepy to get up for lunch, and Mom slept the whole time Paul was there with her.
*I enjoyed some time in the backyard this afternoon, eating lunch and spending a bit of time on my hammock.  It was nice to have a relaxing afternoon to just be.

Mom enjoying a beautiful evening in the gazebo in front of Kindred.
*I returned to Kindred and Mom was up in bed, and had eaten some dinner, and was quite alert.  She got some help to get into her wheelchair, and Paul and I took her out to the gazebo located in front of Kindred, and enjoyed the beautiful summer evening.  What a gorgeous view of the mountains surrounding Kellogg from the gazebo, and the blue sky against the dark green mountains was breathtaking.  Yes, I think I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world!! Christy and Everett soon joined us, and we all had a nice visit together.
*Paul and I returned home and had some dinner out on the patio, and then Paul said he thought he might like to see a movie.  I looked at the options on Netflix, and said, “How about a Disney movie?”  Zoe had given us some good reviews about Moana, so we started it, but didn’t quite make it all the way through. We will finish it on Sunday evening.


Gathering Graces 7/21/2017

*Spent some time with Mom this morning.   I had brought my computer, so I showed her some photos from my trip to Italy.  Before I left for the morning, she was resting in bed.
*I went to the store to do a little grocery shopping.  I experienced a bit of a traffic jam in Kellogg.  If you have never been to our little town, sometimes the Yokes grocery store has a semi truck back into their back door area to deliver freight, and it stops traffic for a few minutes.  Well, this particular truck driver had to take a few tries to back into the door.  Mr. Impatient Guy, a few cars ahead of me, gets out of his car, puffing on his cigarette and you could tell he had been “quite inconvenienced”.  Please...give me a break.  We had to sit there maybe five minutes at the most.  Nothing to get all exasperated about.  Mr. Impatient Guy jumped back in his car, roared down Hill Street, and headed for the Interstate.  I hope Mr. Impatient Guy takes time to stop and smell the roses today.
*I shopped at both Kellogg grocery stores today.  I started out at Stein’s.  The road work they are doing around Kellogg has reached the corner of Cameron and Hill Street, and the road in front of Steins is all torn up with crews working on the sewer project.  So then drivers think the Stein’s parking lot is the Indy 500, as the roar through the parking lot to take the back road of Brown Avenue to get where they need to go.
*Taking the wrong way through Kellogg’s streets can prove to be a bit dicey.  Usually when I go see Mom at Kindred I take a right out of our subdivision and go around past Kellogg Middle School, over the river, then down Cameron Avenue.  The road work is beyond Kindred now.  Well, one day I made a mistake and took a left.  Trying to navigate back on the Sunnyside area streets is a little scary.  You go down one street, big front loaders are coming your way.  You detour down another street, and you wonder, “Am I even suppose to be on this street?”  Well, I made it through the maze of road work to Kindred that day, but will never make the mistake of turning left out of my subdivision to see Mom again.
*Zoe had been having trouble with air conditioning in her car, and Paul has become the master of watching YouTube videos to figure out how to do things, and it has been very successful.  Today, the part he ordered to fix Zoe’s air conditioning problem arrived, and he crawled under the dash of her car to fix the problem.  I had been taking a short nap, when all of a sudden Zoe comes bursting into my room with a big smile on her face, saying, “He did it!!  Dad fixed the air conditioning.  I turned it on and it works!!”  She was very excited, because she is driving back to her home in Caldwell tomorrow, and the air conditioning will make the trip much more pleasant. 
*Paul and I started dinner preparations for our small dinner party we were having this evening.  Earlier in the week I had received a text from my wonderful friend Stephanie Bauman Broaddus, saying she would be in town and if we could get together.  We decided Friday night would work for dinner and a BBQ.  Her daughter Jenna would be joining us, and another daughter Jamie would be driving over from Glendive, Montana that day, and would be coming as well.  The next day I received a message from my sister-in-law Laurie, saying her and Tammy McMorrow would be in town, and if they could come over and visit Friday night.  So, all of a sudden, Paul, Zoe and I are hosting a wonderful summer bbq with five very wonderful guests.  We fixed barbecued chicken, grilled veggies, green salad and fruit salad.  Stephanie brought some Italian bread and a couple of pies.  We had some wonderful visiting time, with Tammy, Jamie and I talking about our travels to Italy, Stephanie sharing about her time on her recent cruise to Northern Europe, and Jenna had just returned from a trip to Washington D.C., which she loved.  
*After Paul, Laurie and Tammy returned from a three mile run, we moved our chairs over to the fire pit, and enjoyed a wonderful fire and more spirited conversation.  I went and got the marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers, and some of us roasted marshmallows and made smores.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect summer evening.

Check out Tammy's book on Amazon.com.
*Tammy has recently published a book called Gatekeepers: Let’s Talk About Teaching.  Here is a description of the book from Amazon.... In Gatekeepers, Tammy McMorrow recognizes that teachers live in a world of deafening voices that bombard their profession with opinions, traditions, and mandates. Yet she beckons teachers to be sentinels at the doors of their classrooms — to stand watch and protect their students from any method or practice that could prove harmful. Tammy combines the research of several distinguished educational pioneers with over twenty years of her own classroom experience to question the status quo. The varied topics in this book challenge teachers of all grade levels to critically think about how they teach students’ hearts and minds. She invites her readers to join this important conversation and guard the gate. She invites them to be gatekeepers. Stephanie and I both purchased a few copies, and I look forward to reading it.  If it sounds like something you think you may want to read, look for it on Amazon.com.


Gathering Graces 7/20/2017

*My morning visit with Mom found her up and in her wheelchair and doing well.  They took her to have a shower at one point, and she came back with her real hair curled with a curling iron by Tiffany.  It looked really cute!!  Christy arrived and I stayed and visited with both Mom and Christy for a while, then headed home. 
*I returned when Mom was ready for lunch.  Then Liz, her hospice aide, showed up and visited with Mom and myself for a while.  Then Zoe arrived, because Mom wanted her fingernails spruced up.  While Zoe worked on Mom’s nails, I showed Mom some photographs that Zoe brought over from Mom’s house.  Mom was ready to be put on her bed to rest, so Zoe finished her nails and I finished showing her photos while she was on the bed.  Zoe soon left and then Paul came and I left a bit later.
*Paul picked up some Ragu spaghetti sauce and bread for the spaghetti dinner he put together for us tonight.  We enjoyed our meal out on  the patio, then Zoe made preparations for our next activity....Paint Nite with Bob Ross. 

My path in the woods.  Can you find the two bunnies?

Paul's trees and path.
*There were still paint canvases left from our paint night from last Christmas, so Zoe chose an episode for us to do.  We had painted our black tree earlier in the day, then we added other bushes and a path, and other things.  It is always fun how our paintings always look so different.  It is fun to create the paintings.  Zoe did a Narnia theme to her painting, with a lamppost, and the umbrella belonging to Mr. Tumnus.


Gathering Graces 7/19/2017

*Happy Anniversary to me!!  Thirty-one years ago, Paul and I were married right here in Kellogg, Idaho.
*We were talking about our wedding, and Paul made a comment about not remembering the cake.  So I went and got our wedding albums and we did a little reminiscing about our wedding and honeymoon.  Our cake was made by Pinehurst Elementary secretary Sarah Thompson Mason.  I remember she had made the cake for my friend Libby when she was married, and I always loved the cake, so I had her make mine as well. 
*I had purchased Paul and I sweatshirts in Pisa, so I gave him his sweatshirt  and he also got a huge Toblerone candy bar that said “Missed You” on it.  I found that duty free gem in the Munich Airport.

Pisa sweatshirts for our anniversary!
*I went over and spent some time with Mom before Paul drove me to work.  She was up in her wheelchair, in her pajamas, looking out the window.  (Can I say again how much I LOVE that she has this room!!!)  She didn’t have compression socks on, so I took some of her ointment she likes and put it on her legs and feet and put her compression socks on.  Then I put some ointment on her arms and back as well.  She had told Zoe her back gets itchy, so that seemed to feel really good to her.  Two aides came in and dressed her for the day, and after she was dressed, I departed for work.
*It was nice and steady at work today.  In the afternoon, we had a tour bus group of senior citizens join us for some tours, and I had enjoyable conversation with a gentleman who invited me to come and visit his beautiful state of Nebraska, saying Nebraska often gets a bad reputation for being not very beautiful, but the part he lives in is very beautiful.  I hope to take him up on the offer some day.
*I sent Paul 31 text messages throughout the day to help celebrate our 31 years together. 
*Paul picked me up from work and we went to City Limits in Wallace for dinner.  Thank you Julie Hanson for the gift card, so we could enjoy a nice anniversary dinner!!  It was fun getting hugs from Erin Nansel and also visiting with John Turner.  Thanks John for letting me know you read my blog posts every day and you enjoy them!!
*We went home and joined Zoe on the patio, and enjoyed a bottle of Koos*Koos*Kia wine from Colter’s Creek winery in Julietta.  I had been saving this for a special occasion, and celebrating our anniversary seemed pretty special to me!!
*The reminiscing about our wedding continued as we thought about songs sung at our wedding.  One song was Doubly Good To You that Paul had me play on my Kindle.  That led to another song Not To Us, and then we had an evening of listening to Contemporary Christian music from the 1980’s.  Boy did some of these songs take us back.  It even reminded Paul that he was in a Christian group with two other guys when we lived in Glendive, called “Crossroads”.  Neither of us had thought of that for a long time.
*Another song we thought of was O Sifuni Mungu.  Hey Kerry O'Connor Burman, Amy Keil Welty, Paula Schlepp Frank, Jen Hawkinson....do you remember our puppet show to this song with those big cool puppets they had at church?  Such a great memory!
*I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate today. 


Gathering Graces 7/18/2017

*I went over and sat with Mom in her room this morning.  It is so nice to have a quiet, peaceful space to be in.  She was dressed but in bed resting, so I sat with her until I had to leave for work.
*I headed to Wallace to work at the Sierra Silver Mine Tour today.  (Yes, I did remember I worked today!!)  It was a pleasant day seeing tourists all day.  One lady in particular stood out.  She was a woman from Oregon who was retired, and was traveling around this summer, and landed in Wallace for a few days.  She had been to Ireland this summer, and she showed us a beautiful Celtic Knot tattoo she received while in Ireland.  She talked about her bucket list, and the things she wants to do on that bucket list.  What an inspiration she was!!
*After I left work I went to Kindred to see Mom again.  Zoe had been with her most of the afternoon.  I arrived just in time for ice cream!!  (Tuesday night is ice cream night at Kindred).  Mom now has a “smart tv” in her room that connects to the internet.  Zoe found Pandora, I put in my account information, and before long we were listening to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “In the Mood” in Mom’s room.
*Christy arrived and Zoe and I went to get some dinner at Sam’s.  After we ate we went to Mom’s house so Zoe could water and I harvested some radishes and a cucumber from her garden, and Zoe will take them to Mom tomorrow so she can enjoy some fresh veggies from her garden. 


Gathering Graces 7/17/2017

*Today was a crazy day filled with some twists, turns and wonderful surprises.
*I headed over to see Mom this morning, and she was in bed but awake.  At one point Jenny the Kindred Social Worker came in and said Mom would be moved to a private room today, once it was cleaned.  I signed the papers and made it official, and we waited until it was time to move!!
*Around 10 a.m. I received a text from my boss at the mine tour asking if our wires had crossed and why I wasn’t at work.  Oh man.  Yes, wires were definitely crossed.  I had received an email a few weeks ago while in Italy saying I would work the 18, 19 and 20th.  I received the final work schedule on Friday, saying I would work the 17, 18 and 19.  I still had it in my head I would be working the 18, 19 and 20.  Fortunately things got covered at the mine tour.  It reminded me I need to get a little better focused since returning to the “real world” after my trip.
*Christy arrived at Kindred around 10 so I left and did some grocery shopping for dinner and came home.  Mom got moved into her new room around 1 p.m.  Zoe headed over to be with Mom and helped Christy get all Mom’s things into her new room.  Mom seems to really like her new room.  And so does the rest of the family!
*Paul and I headed over to see her room later in the afternoon.  It is nice a sunny with a view of the back courtyard area.  She has a window she can open for fresh air.  Her room number is now 400 if you care to stop and visit.  Zoe went over to her house and got a few personal items to put on her shelves and walls, and Paul brought her other green wing chair over, so now there are two comfortable wing chairs for visitors to sit in.
*I left to get dinner fixed, and came back at 5.  I spent some time reading her the local newspaper.  We read an article about Frontier Days in Smelterville.  I remember a few summers helping Mom work at the Silver King PTA booth under the grandstands at Ferd Stadium selling corn dogs to raise money.  I also read her the Kellogg Police Roll Call, which is always good for a few laughs, and an article about Ernest Hemmingway and Andy Rooney being in France in WWII at around the same time.
*In the midst of eating dinner and listening to me read her the newspaper, Mom saw Dr. McDonald briefly, who was visiting patients at Kindred today.  Later Kristine, one of the Hospice nurses, came in and met with Mom and asked her questions, and I talked with her and myself, and I am now more clear on the care that Hospice will be providing for Mom.
*After a very full day of being awake and alert, Mom was ready to get in her pajamas and lay down for the night.  I went home, and Christy joined her a little later. 
*I got home and Paul had grilled some fish.  I added some of the fruit salad I had made earlier, as well as some green salad, and joined Paul on the patio.  I love having our new fountain running next to the patio.  The sound of running water is always so soothing.  It started cooling down, so I went inside and realized I wanted something cold to drink besides water, so Paul ran to the store, and came back with some Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer and Cream Soda.  The root beer on ice hit the spot!!


Gathering Graces 7/16/2017

*I woke up, poured me a cup of coffee from the pot Paul fixes every morning, and headed over to Kindred to be with Mom. 
*Mom was still in bed when I arrived, and she wanted the lights dimmed while she was in bed.  I dimmed the lights, and she had a restless morning in bed.  Before lunchtime she rallied a bit and was ready to get in her clothes and sit up in the wheelchair so she could have some lunch.  Right after she was settled in her wheelchair, Sue and Joe Kerns arrived to visit with Mom.  Sue and Joe have been so good to Mom over the years, and visit her often when they are in town.  I stayed until Mom’s lunch arrived, then I went home so Joe and Sue could enjoy visiting with Mom while she ate lunch.
*I spent most of the afternoon catching up on my Gathering Graces posts.  It was fun going over my lists I write in a journal that help me keep track of what I am going to write about each day, and to think about my last days in Italy, and what an amazing time I had while I was there.  I am glad I have my daily writings and photographs to remind me of those incredible days in Italia.
*It was much cooler today, so I went outside and enjoyed laying down and reading in my hammock for a while after lunch.  I also walked around the backyard and took some pictures of red things to post on a Facebook group I belong to of local garden enthusiasts who post photos from their personal gardens.  It was fun to see all the red that I found in my backyard.
*Paul went over to spend time with Mom during her dinnertime.  This allowed Christy time to go home and have dinner with Everett.  She was planning on coming back around 7 p.m.  But plans changed.  I received a text from her saying she couldn’t come back over to Kindred because her dog Annie was really sick and she needed to stay with her.  About 30 minutes later, I received a text saying Annie had died.  Christy and Everett were heartbroken.  Annie had been doing pretty well, but, as Christy said, she was glad she went quickly and didn’t suffer. 
*Zoe and I went and joined Paul at Kindred once Mom had her pajamas on and was in bed.  She was still a bit restless, and didn’t seem ready for sleep quite yet.  She didn’t want her glasses or her wig off quite yet.  Eventually she was ready for her glasses to come off.  When she took her wig off, I asked if she wanted me to brush her hair.  The feeling of having her hair brushed seemed to soothe her and calm her.  I was thankful for that, and she seemed a little more restful as we slipped out of her room and headed for home.
*It was still nice out on the patio when we came home.  Paul and I enjoyed a nice visit outside until it got a little too cold and we had to go inside.  I was able to stay up a little longer last night, and didn’t fall asleep quite so early.  Paul was even able to give me a good night kiss....something I hadn’t received in a while, because I had been falling asleep so quick and so early the last few nights.