Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Visit

Well we went to Chatham for our visit. Unfortunately Aunt J's 90 something year old mother who lives with her isn't feeling well and wanted Aunt J to stay home. It was OK Aunt J. needs to take care of her Mom first. I had trepidations about going down and R and the children did not want to go at all but we all new how important our visits are to both Grammy and J. So off we went. It was a nice day for a ride and they are only about an hour away. The sun was shining and the air was cool and crisp. The children were able to play outside. This always helps.

As soon as we went through the door it was clear something was going on. Drama again. J was upset and agitated. He said they were having family problems but that Grammy knew more about it and she could tell us what was happening. Grammy looked as if she had been crying. Evidently the members of J's family had called and confronted Grammy on the phone. According to Grammy they called her names and said they would be coming over today to lay down the law. None of us are quite sure what this means. She asked them not to come over because she was having company. Evidently Grammy asked them why they were questioning her about her finances and how they have set up their bills. At this point they told her they didn't want anything more to do with Grammy and J. They wouldn't be taking the trash or fixing the toilets or helping in any way. We reassured Grammy that things would be fine and not to worry. We will hire someone to take the trash and we can certainly do any repairs that are needed. R put in the screens and we worked on cleaning up the garden a bit. I tried to keep the visit on an even keel but the entire time I was nervous about the possible arrival of the other side of the family. I just don't understand why things have to be so adversarial. It was my understanding that they wanted what is best for Grammy and J or at least for J. Agitating him once again is not what is best for anyone. We were able to spend a good part of the day with them and enjoy a meal together. Grammy and J always enjoy watching the children play and visiting with them. At the end of our visit a rabbit decided to visit and taste some of the foliage I had uncovered after clearing away the debris from the winter. Richie and the children had fun chasing the rabbit through the yard. We went along in the hopes that they were not going to have to manage any unwanted guests this evening.

I will continue to plan and pray, as Ann suggested. Thank you Ann!


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Challenges presented by aging

I have struggled to post this week. I've been continuing to manage the ongoing drama that has been taking place in Grammy's life. My heart is heavy and I have had knots in my stomach thinking of all that she is going through. She has been married to J for 26 years. It is a second love for both of them. They are both in their 90's and up until about 6 years ago they travelled extensively and enjoyed a very active life. Over the past six years they have slowed down, understandably. It had not been until this last year that they have really lost their independence. J was diagnosed with dementia and Grammy has significant difficulty with mobility. Neither drive and they recently gave up their car. This is a blessing because having the car there was a constant source of worry for my family. I have read so many stories involving elderly drivers forgetting which pedal was the gas and the break. Though my worries in that area are eased they miss their independence terribly. Grammy just wants to go away on vacation for a few days just she and J. I don't know how to facilitate this and still stay present in my own life. On top of all this their lives are now being micromanaged by a member of J's family. This person has always said that all they desire is the best for both of J and Grammy but it has been noted by the head of the home health care agency that this well intentioned person clearly does not like Grammy and seemingly has some sort of agenda. The golden years should be a time of joy. Grammy and J do not want for anything they have money to do what they want yet they are constantly aggravated and agitated by this family member. They are even considering selling their beautiful home to get away from the micromanaging. I am at a loss as to what to do. I am the 'go to' person where it comes to their care, or Grammy's care. I am also the one who has to be the contact person for J's family. I am finding it increasingly difficult to talk with this person when I know about the sneaky and mean things that have been happening. R can't even stand to discuss the situation as he has never liked the micro manager. We are going down to visit Grammy and J tomorrow and Aunt J had planned to come up from her home to visit as well and now that might not materialize. Once again it will be just us. Grammy will be disappointed, the children will be bored and there will be a good chance that we will run into the micro manager as she always seems to show up when we visit. With all of this going on it really makes me think about my own journey through life and how I should plan for my aging and that of my husband. Aging shouldn't be so hard. Elders should be respected and cared for without worry of losing all they have. We must do better.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Challenges of Elder Care

Well the last several days have been consumed with elder care. I began this post yesterday and thought I would go into some of the issues I have been facing with Grammy and my Dad. After sleeping on it I have decided not to go into what is going on in any great depth here. Suffice it to say that Grammy is having difficulties with some of J's family that now seem to think they should be in control of their lives. It is a complex situation that has been ongoing and now has become exacerbated by someone obtaining J's power of attorney. It has been consuming our lives and leaving lots of negativity behind. As for my Dad he has more medical issues. He had an appointment on Monday and is now on more medications and will now have to return to the doctor again next Monday. Evidently his most recent problem has been festering but he didn't know to tell us about what was going on so we could help him sooner. When this happens I feel incompetent and neglectful. I find that for some reason I suffer from guilty feelings even though I do as much as I can for both Grammy and my Dad. I don't know what the answer is but I do know that I need more balance in my life. I guess that is why I have been so interested in artistic endeavors lately. Unfortunately as usual life gets in the way and I find I have little if any time to tap into my creative outlet. Does anyone else have to manage these kinds of obligations? How do you keep the guilt away and stay balanced.? I will continue to take one day at a time and keep moving forward.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tarot Cards

I've always been interested in tarot cards and I saw this on another blog and thought it might be interesting to try. What do you think?

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wash Out :(

Well this week has been a total wash out of a vacation! I was hoping we would get to spend some time outside in the yard preparing for spring planting. The calendar says almost the end of April but the temperature and weather are more like late February. At least we have had some down time. Dad's doctors appointment went fine and the kids were able to go and spend the morning with a friend rather than at the doctors office. I postponed his second appointment for next Monday. I couldn't see him managing another trip out this week especially in the raw, rainy weather. He wasn't disappointed in the least. His primary care physician is a very good clinician but he has absolutely no personality or bedside manner. He can actually walk the line of being disrespectful at times. Needless to say, Dad doesn't care for these appointments. Oh well. It is what it is.

Yesterday N, n and I went to the movies before N's checkup regarding his asthma. We went to see Meet the Robinsons. It was actually a pretty good movie. It started off slow but once it got rolling it was really good. A couple parts even brought tears to my eyes. Of coarse what Disney movie doesn't. After the movie we went out and bought birthday presents. Both N and n had upcoming parties so we took care of that and then went back to the food court for McD's. N then had a good check up with his doctor. She has taken him of the am and pm inhaler treatment for his exercise induced asthma. He is still on the singular and the inhaler before activity. He has been much better since starting this regiment two weeks ago. Less coughing and more ability to play without getting out of breath and tired. It is interesting because he had said in the past that he thought he had asthma and I always said 'Oh no...." I guess I should have listened to him.

Today n went to her birthday party at a bead store. While she was at the party N and I went to Walmart and picked up some art supplies for end of the school year projects, $80 dollars later we left and then went off to Best Buy to pick up the original first three Star Wars movies. N was so excited. He's been wanting to add them to our library for a long time. Finally we went back to the bead store to get n. Do you think I could leave the store without anything? No of coarse not! I picked out some very pretty strings of beads that I will use when I make the charm bracelets. I also picked up the sterling silver chain I want to use for the bracelet. I'll be using the tutorial on Sue B's journal. Check it out here

So tomorrow we have no plans so I am planning on organizing some of the supplies I picked up and hopefully starting my charm bracelets. I'll post some pictures as soon as I have anything to share.


Monday, April 16, 2007

What Kind of World Do You Want?

Today I recieved an email that had an inspirational link. Five for fighting has created this website to raise money for various causes including the Komen breast cancer fund and Autism speaks. Here is some info from the site with links to get you there!

Whatkindof is the first video community that gives back!
We are all connected to one another through our actions. Each person has the ability to make a difference. This is one of the messages of the Five For Fighting video "World".
Tell the world what kind of world you want and raise money for charity by making and uploading a video of yourself, your friends or your family answering the question, "What Kind Of World Do You Want".

Or, you can raise money for charities that John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting has personally selected. Watch the clips posted by others, support the sponsor and up to 49 cents will go to charity**.

**Revver is a viral video network that pays. The Revver system makes it possible to donate up to 68% of this site's advertising proceeds to the selected charities. So, just watch, click and earn money for a good cause.

Fisher House - Watch the video intro
Breast Cancer 3-Day: Komen for the Cure - Watch the video intro
Save the Children - Watch the video intro
Autism Speaks - Watch the video intro
VH1 Save the Music Foundation - Watch the video intro
NY Police and Fire Widows & Children - Watch the video intro

I hope you will all check out this site. It is really quite something.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Today even more progress has been made in my small art space. I'm so excited it is actually starting to look like something. 'R' was very busy removing drywall from part of the room and working on adding electrical outlets. During the time I spent visiting my Dad this afternoon the outlets were installed, the drywall replaced and the shelf hung back in it's original spot. He also moved my rolling table back into the space and set up my sewing machine that usually resides in its tattered cardboard box. It is going to be awesome to be able to go downstairs and use my sewing machine at the drop of a hat. In the past it has always been a big project to hall it upstairs, clear off the kitchen table and set it up only to take it back down again as soon as possible as it drives 'R' crazy for me to have my stuff all over the table. Think he has an ulterior motive in fixing up the space downstairs?? Now that he sees how nice my little space is he is thinking of fixing up the opposite side of that part of the basement! As he has half of the finished section of our basement as a studio/jam space, I said NO. I want a space of my own. Is that selfish? I don't know. Anyway next week will bring a dropped ceiling with some sort of better lighting. I'm not sure what type of lighting I want or need. Any suggestions from all of you artist out there? I'd be happy to hear from you if you have any experience in renovating a small space to serve as an art studio.

On another note I found a very interesting link over at Judy in the Dyes. It seems that Caron has a wonderful idea for a quilt project. It's purpose seems to be to shed light on the losses that have been caused by the war in Iraq. I am not an accomplished quilter, but I feel strongly about the subject of the war. I'm going to try to help with this project to shed light on the situation. I pray for our military who are over there and hope that they are reunited with their families as soon as possible. Anyway I didn't intend to get on a soap box. I hope you will all check out this link.


Saturday, April 14, 2007


Exciting progress today as we move forward with the renovation of my little art space formerly known the laundry/storage room. Unfortunately the space will still have to perform the duties of a laundry room but there will be a space about 12'x12' that will be dedicated to me and storage will be moved to the other side of the room or the outside shed. I can't wait to have my own space. Today's progress included a fresh coat of cement paint on the old gray walls. Unfortunately the paint sprayer that 'R' purchased from ebay didn't work so he went back to the roller. I think it looks better already!
After getting the walls painted 'R' decided to go ahead and get a coat of paint on the floor. We swept and moved everything out of the way and then realized we didn't have an extension handle for the roller. Then I had a great idea why not use the broom? Well that is what we did we swept the paint onto the floor with an old o'cedar broom. It left great texture on the floor. The process was just what I needed today after working on my Dad's finances and trying to finagle my schedule to get him to his doctors appointments next week. Over the last few months I have really turned to art for relaxation and comfort. Anyway after two coats 'R' had the coverage he wanted and I had the texture I like. A match made in heaven. Stay tuned for more updates on the renovation. Next week I think we will work on a dropped ceiling.


2. What was your favorite pastime as a child? Did you prefer doing it alone or with someone else?

Growing up by the ocean gave me the opportunity to spend a lot of time down at the beach. This was my favorite pastime as a child, teenager and young adult. I loved walking on the rocks and swimming in the icy cold water. Exploring the tidal pools would keep me busy for hours. I was happy to be at the beach alone or with family and friends. In the summer I would be on the beach with friends every day. Swimming, sunning and enjoying the long lazy days of summer. During the other seasons I would walk the beach alone or just sit and watch and listen to the surf. It was always restorative for me to sit and listen and just be by the ocean. On foggy days I would always have the beach to myself. How I loved to walk through the fog as it rolled off the ocean. There was something almost mystical about walking through a thick fog. I loved how it felt on my skin and in my lungs. The beach and ocean has always been my favorite place.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Vacation! Yipee!!

Today is the official start of spring vacation! I am so excited to have some time off from school. It will give me a chance to regroup and gear up for the last few weeks of school. I am also excited to have time at home with my own children. Not only that but we will also be able to spend a little time visiting with my Dad and bringing him to his appointments that were scheduled for this week. I guess vacation won't be all fun and games but that is OK.

This afternoon was interesting. Moms out there will most likely relate to what I'm about to share Both of my children 'N' who is 8 and 'n' who is 6 went to a playdate together at a home of a family that I am just beginning to get to know. This is the first time that 'n' has been dropped off with someone who isn't a family member or family friend. In the past she has had difficulty separating from me, but today was a different story. She didn't even blink when I left. I was the one who didn't want to leave. When I got home the house felt so empty. I guess this is just signs of things to come. We had the opportunity to host this playdate but when given the choice 'N' decided to go to his friends house. This left me with bittersweet feelings. I'm happy that he is secure enough that he will venture out and spend time at a new friends home, but I was hoping that he would want everyone to come to our home. We will have his friends over on vacation and he is looking forward to having them over but for some reason today left me feeling unsettled. It's interesting because I often look forward to having some time alone but when given the opportunity I couldn't relax and enjoy myself. I guess it is something that I will have
think about.

I'm happy to say that my little art studio space will be getting it's first renovation over the weekend. 'R' is planning to use his new paint sprayer to paint the gray cement walls and floor a bright white. I think this will give the space a fresh feeling. We will be purchasing shelving and hopefully hiring a plumber to put in the plumbing for a large sink. In my mind I am picturing a large deep white sink. Last weekend we cleaned the space so the progress will continue.

Hopefully during vacation I will be able to carve out some time to work on some silk fusion. I still have quite a bit of the soy silk roving and I would like to order some more natural soy silk from 'n' and I enjoyed using the liquid watercolors to die the soy silk fibers. I'd like to use the final material to make some fabric charms to hopefully use to make some beautiful teacher gifts for the end of the year.

Well I'm off to spend a few moments with my children before bedtime.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


This week is flying! It has been an exhausting few days. The week before spring vacation is usually a challenge however this week things have changed for me at my school. I have been moved into a class in the afternoons that has been experiences a lot of turmoil. It is a small group, however several of the children have significant needs requiring one to one supervision. So now we have three teachers in the class and each of us will be helping/shadowing a different child each day. The reactions and behaviors these children exhibit are quite intense and leave all the teachers exhausted by the end of the day. The level of need in this classroom is different than in a typical classroom. We suspect that the children we are helping may very well be on the spectrum. I have been trying to find out more information about Autism and how early childhood educators can help children and families managing life with Autism Spectrum issues. Our goal is to get through the week and then come up with a strategy to get through the last few weeks of school after vacation. The morning group has been very busy as well. This is the first time in a long time that I feel truly drained by work at the end of the day. I will be happy to be off for a week, at least off from school. I have several appointments scheduled for the children and my Dad over vacation. It will be a busy time, but busy in a different way. I just need to get through tomorrow and then VACATION. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Plans Change

The last time I posted I was preparing for company. The original plan was for 'T' to arrive either Friday evening or Saturday some time. Well I ran around like crazy organizing and cleaning not to mention planning for meals and shopping. Well to make a long story short the visit never materialized. It was all for the best I think. We ended up having a very relaxed Saturday. We spent a good deal of the day dying blown eggs. I set up the table so that N and n could easily move from color to color and work independently as I used the beeswax to create designs on my eggs. After dying the last of the eggs we were hungry. I made some delicious guacomole that we enjoyed with yummy Garden of Eatin chips. As I made the guacamole 'R' started a fire in the fireplace. Even though it had been a sunny day here it was still pretty chilly so it was nice to sit in the living room and basque in the glow of the fire. Last weekend Grammy had asked for me to make desert for Easter dinner so I had the ingredients to make carrot cake and chocolate ganache cake. I was all set for a baking marathon, but when I spoke to Grammy she had already made a pie and had a cheesecake ready so she told me not to bother. I decided to make the chocolate ganache cake anyway to keep at home for us to enjoy. I've never made this particular cake before, but I have to say that it came out beautifully. I think that this will become my signature chocolate cake! It is that good.

On Easter Sunday the children woke early. The let me sleep until about 8 am then I finally joined them downstairs. The were very excited that the 'bunny' had visited. I had to run down to D&D's for coffee because my relatively new coffee maker had a bit of an electrical fire and no longer works. After coffee I spent some time over at Dad's visiting and cutting up ham to put in his freezer. Dad had his shower and then enjoyed some fried ham. He was in good spirits. By 1:30 we were in Chatham and I helped prepare the holiday meal. Grammy had already set out cheese and crackers and stuffed celery. We put a lovely Carando ham in the oven and I prepared mashed potato and asparagas. We also enjoyed a reheated sweet potato casserole. The children were not as enthused by the meal as the adults but they did fine. By 4:30 we were watching the Masters on TV. At this point we were all ready for a nap! The children played outside for a good part of the day and they were tired as well. All in all it was a lovely Easter.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Preparing for Company

Well the children and I had the day off today as it is Good Friday. I spent the day cleaning in preparation for my brother in law's arrival tomorrow. The children spent the day playing. The other day we talked about what Good Friday meant. They didn't quite understand. 'N' doesn't understand why anyone would nail a person to the 'T'. We talked about how people were afraid of the goodness of Jesus but it is still difficult for an 8 year old to understand. We talked about it in length. 'N' had many questions. I am glad he has questions I remember as a child having the day off and not being able to enjoy the day. My Mother was a very devout Catholic and on Good Friday she required my brother and I to sit quietly from noon to three and to fast. I don't think I ever understood the purpose of why we were to be quiet. We were not allowed to question. I remember watching the movie Jesus of Nazeruth with her as a young girl and weeping through the movie. The story of the crucifixtion horrified me as a child. As an adult and a parent of young children I wonder how to share these stories with my children without scaring them. Faith is a mysterious thing.

For all of you who celebrate I wish you a blessed Easter.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Fancy Easter Eggs

Just a quick entry to share the fruits of my labor! I love these eggs. I've been using beeswax to create designs on white blown eggs. I wish my camera did a better job capturing the colors. The technique is Ukranian in origin. Grammy has Russian ancestry so one of these eggs will be going to her this weekend. Here are some pictures of part of the process and the final product. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Busy Days

So it has been a very busy few days. Lot’s of family togetherness and only a few stolen moments for artistic endeavors. That’s OK because I do like what I accomplished artistically. I guess I’ll start there then I’ll continue with my other stories. ‘n’ had a party that required no purchased gifts this weekend and we decided to make her little friends a gift. Right away I thought of all the silkfusion I have been working on-some with ‘n’s help. We decided on Friday to make beaded bracelets and embellished book marks for her friends. Well needless to say I did most of the beading for the bookmarks and one of the bracelets. We finished or should I say that I finished just in the nick of time before we had to leave for the party. We were in such a hurry that I didn’t take pictures!! Oh well. I’m going to make another on for ‘n’ and I will take and post pictures. Last night I realized I needed a card to send to a friend and I didn’t have anything made that I wanted to send so I used some silk fusion and some paper towels that I had painted with liquid watercolor and left over textile medium. I like the finish product.

I’m going to try to finish this post quickly as I have been working on it for days and have yet to post anything. We were finally able to make it to Chatham for a visit this weekend. Unfortunately ‘J’ and Grammy are processing the loss of their car. It was finally removed from the garage by ‘J’s daughter and son-in-law. ‘J’ however does not remember signing it over to them and thinks that they stole the car and has threatened to call the police and report the car stolen. I guess he was ranting and raving so badly on Saturday that his daughter sent her husband over to try and calm the situation down. Well that totally backfired and ‘J’ became even more agitated and got in his son-in-law’s face yelling and demanding his car be returned. What a mess! We got a call Saturday evening warning us of the situation. They spoke with the police department who advised returning the car and disabling it so that at least ‘J’ had the security of knowing where his car was being stored. Sounded like a good idea to us but on Sunday I got the call that Grammy didn’t think it was a good idea. She called ‘J’s daughter and had a rather heated discussion about not wanting that car in her garage or in her house etc, etc. Seems she is afraid that the car is going to spontaneously combust, even though the car has been stored in the garage all along. Not sure about the rationale behind this fear. Anyway I was warned to try not to bring the subject of the car up during our visit just to avoid any agitation. We arrive at about 1pm and you’ll never guess what the first topic of conversation turned out to be…. You guessed it the CAR!!!!! Well sure enough don’t we go through the entire thing with ‘J’.

“Who told me I can’t drive? The doctor. How do you know? You weren’t there. Well the doctor wants to keep you safe. No he doesn’t. I’ve never had anyone with authority tell me I can’t drive! Who the hell are they.”

Well this went on for a good while until we finally changed the subject to the dog. Later on it was brought up again by Grammy. It seems like she is definitely showing more signs of confusion and memory loss herself. I don’t think that she remembers what happens when she brings up these sore subjects. I’m not sure what to do to help them. The visit did turn out OK in the end. We had a meal together and spent a good part of the day visiting. I must say that I was happy to come home.

On a more positive and productive note I organized a bunch of art supplies: papers, soy fibers, card making supplies etc. I had been stock piling things in my living room and finally took the time to sit down and sort and bag everything. I’ve stored it away in what will be my future art room. ‘R’ is motivated to get it done for me so it is good to start organizing. I can’t wait to have my own space!! Yippee

One last thing: Does anyone know how to add pictures to the middle of a post? I'd like to have the flexibility to put the pictures where I want them! I've tried uploading and then cutting and pasting and it isn't working for some reason. I'd appreciate any help. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
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