Apr 27, 2015

Tiny Dancers......

When my oldest pretend grandchild, Abigail, was about 3, she went through a phase where she was crazy about ballerinas.  I can remember her getting so excited every time she saw a ballerina doll that she would exclaim, "Mimi!  LOOK!  A balWEENa!"  I still, to this day, sometimes pronounce it "balweena", just because it was so cute.  Needless to say, there was a year or two there where everyone bought her ballerina dolls, and she has quite a collection.

Those days are gone, now, but yesterday we got to see our very own 'balweena' at her recital.  The 'balweena' dream stuck with my Abigail long enough for her to get to give us a performance.  The cuteness is hard to put into words. 
Getting ready

Would you believe that her mother had somehow, miraculously, found the ever elusive red lipstick?  I must admit, that red lipstick is just the thing if you are going to be performing on stage.  Seeing her with eye makeup almost made me cry, she is growing up so fast and she looks so much like her beautiful mother.

I laughed instead of cried though, when Rosie requested make up also and her mother declared that she must wait until kindergarten to wear makeup "like all the other girls".  This cracked us all up and had the two little ones looking at the grownup women and wondering what was so funny.  It's hard to explain to small children how much the world has changed.  I kind of doubt they would believe it anyway.

The cuteness..........I can't...........

I watched her walk into the auditorium with her robe hanging unevenly due to the tutu, and blinked back tears.  She was just a little nervous, but looking forward to her performance.

Anything anyone might need is packed in those bags.  That momma has it goin' on, yo.

Her mother, my bonus daughter, had worked all morning to get everything together and ready and despite the fact that she is carrying another baby, she never slowed down or forgot a single thing.  

Bright lights, maybe a little too bright........

Unlike myself, who had forgotten to bring my camera.  I used my phone, and this was the only shot I got of her on stage.  She is the one on the far left, and she did a wonderful job.

Rosie watches from the audience.

Those ballerinas had the entire audience mesmerized.  Even the 2 year old's were good, with all that bling on the stage Rosie was captivated.  She will have a performance of her own coming up, and can I just say that when the little ones come out you can hear the entire auditorium sigh?  Seriously, all the little ones have to do to get applause is follow a bigger ballerina across the stage like so many ducklings, and you just melt.  That is all they really have to do, just stand there with tutu's, and the world is their oyster.  

Pink sweetheart roses, perfection.

After the performance we gave our ballerina her roses.  Just look at that posture!  She already looks like a dancer, don't you think?

A real ballerina, living the dream.

I did not mention that her lipstick was gone.  She would have wanted to reapply and her mother would have killed me.  I like her lips better natural anyway.  

As far as other performances go, she said she didn't want to dance anymore.  Her mother told her that she had to pick one activity to be involved in and next she wants to do gymnastics.  I am unclear on whether gymnasts wear lipstick......I'm thinking not, so it might get 'lost' for good this time.

I guess she figures she has lived the 'balweena' dream and now it's on to new dreams.  It's getting a little hard to keep up, to be frank.  Six year old's move pretty fast, but whatever is next, I will be there, cheering and supporting and being so grateful this child came into the world and my life.  It seems like a lot longer than 6 years ago......can't wait to see what the next 6 hold.

Apr 21, 2015

My Kitchen Window.......

I snapped some pictures of the crystal I have hanging in my kitchen window.
Outside the yard is freshly mowed.

The seeds are coming up.  So far the Sweet Peas are doing the best.

I continue to kill flies at a rate that I would find disturbing if I were killing any other creature.
But I'm good.

Every afternoon the sun shines in and this crystal fills the kitchen with rainbows.

Just counting my blessings for today.

Apr 20, 2015

Dry Summer?

Check out all the seeds on the Maples this year.
I would say it's going to be a dry summer. 
I've never seen so many.  This whole tree is like this and today they've been flying everywhere in the wind.

Apr 18, 2015

Turtles, Tents, and Empty Nests.....

It's just me and the dogs this morning.  The boys are sleeping in.  I treasure my mornings alone, except for the dogs, these days, but sometimes..........

It's raining quite hard.  I looked out the front door and saw a turtle running across the road.  Yes, running.  You would be surprised how quick turtles can move in hard rain.  

This is when I really miss having little kids.  They would be up with me and would have run out to take his picture with me.  By now we would have him warmly ensconced in a nice box, with water and lettuce and would have already named him Harvey.  But instead I just came back inside.

Where I was greeted with the dogs freaking out because it was raining and I had left them for 2 minutes.  Now, I am going to tell you this.  Don't laugh.  Or do, go ahead.  It is kind of funny but may also be a totally legitimate symptom of "empty nest syndrome".  Some people would not tell such things on themselves, but that would not be me.

I made the dogs a tent.
You laughed, didn't you?  Oh well.  Since I like to sit on the back porch and drink coffee and blog, and since it has a roof you can hear the rain on and lots of windows I can open, and since the rain either hurts the dogs ears or scares them, and since Shadow particularly likes to only be under my legs at these times, I made them a tent.  I used the kitchen table and two comforters that need to be washed.  This is no time for laundry.

This is what middle age is like, I guess.  Being happy that you don't have little kids to run you ragged and then wishing you did and substituting dogs instead.  The dogs have not gotten into their tent.  I suppose I'll have to get in there, too...........dogs and children are remarkably similar.  Just sayin.

Apr 17, 2015

I Spy.......

Saw these guys hanging out in the yard of a house today.

Well, hello chickens, I said.  They paid me no attention whatsoever.
Then I happened to look down from the porch.  Do you see it?

Under the rose bush, there is a nest.  A nest with two eggs.  Maybe it didn't belong to any of these chickens.  They didn't seem to care that I was standing there, at any rate.

I guess your mother will be back soon, you two.  I hope so, anyway.

Apr 16, 2015

Oh, I Love My Rosie Child........

I got to spend a few days with my bonus daughter to watch Rosie.  It was heaven on earth for me.  I have missed seeing her like I did Abigail when she was small.  Rosie is a very happy child.  Rosie and her Mimi got some time together and we had a very good time.

The first morning when I got there I had to bribe her to take a bath.  The bribe I used was her phone.  Abigail and Rosie have a phone.  I did not know this but Rosie led me right to where it was plugged in to charge.  I had no idea how to run the phone, but Rosie did.
After her bath she also picked out her own outfit.  It had a sweatshirt that zipped up the front.  I started to zip it up for her but I had forgotten Rosie is 2.

"I tan do it mysef", she informed me, resisting all help I offered.

And so she did.  She could also brush her hair herself, and that was fine with me.  I have yet to forget the stress that combing Abigail's hair put me through.  No one would see us anyway.  I learned a long time ago not to sweat the small stuff.

Rosie showed me everything, inside and outside the house.  She quickly forgot about her phone when I mentioned "outside".

Outside I discovered that Rosie is the Jumping Queen of the Trampoline.  With a tutu and glittering shoes, she jumped off and on all day.  She wanted me to jump with her.  I told her I couldn't because I'm an old grandma now and when I jump on trampolines it makes me pee my pants.  Just a little bit.  She solemnly took this information in, repeated it after me, and did not ask me to jump again.

The second day I decided to get in there and clean out some sticks and leaves that had found their way into her trampoline.  She looked at me, dead serious, and said "Don't pee."  
"What?", I asked, looking at her in confusion.
"Don't pee", she repeated, her eyes not wavering.  I had forgotten all about telling her that the day before, then I laughed when I remembered.
"I won't", I assured her, and so I just sat there, picking up sticks and leaves, while she watched me and made sure I didn't pee on her trampoline.
Two year old's have minds like steel traps.  I can't remember the last time anyone listened to me like she does.  

She gave me the tour.  We identified several types of wild flowers growing in her yard and pulled weeds out of the cracks between the tiles.  She led the way to the pool.

She told me not to get in the water.  I said no problem, that it wasn't time yet anyway.

I held her up and let her pick some blooms off a tree.  She thought they were very beautiful, and smelled good, too.

I managed to talk her out of opening this gate.  She graciously stopped, but she knew exactly how.  If you want to know something, ask a 2 year old.  They know everything, I swear.

Not only did Rosie know how to work her own phone, but she knew how to work mine.  Mine happens to have pictures from the day she was born until now, and she was really thrilled with that.  She would pull up the first time Abigail ever held her, and stare in wonder that she used to be so small.  I, too, stared in wonder at exactly the same thing.  She called my father at least 3 times in 2 days, until he gave up trying to talk to her, adding entertainment to his day.
Rosie loves her babies even more than being the Queen of the Trampoline.

She is getting ready to be a big sister, as well as a little sister.  I told her I thought it would be so much fun to get to be both.  On these days, she was concentrating on her "boy baby".  You can tell he's a boy because of the Royals shirt he wears.  He came with us on all our travels, complete with a stroller, blanket, and a diaper bag, all remembered and gotten by Rosie herself.  She knows how to wrap him up in his blanket, make sure the sun doesn't get in his eyes, and strap him in so he doesn't fall out.

I sang her a few bars of her song but she just said "I not a store-bought woman!!" and then wanted to know what that was.  She was very touched that someone had written a song about her.  I told her that the best part was "cracklin Rosie make me smile", and we looked it up and danced to it thanks to youtube.  Youtube is one of the best parts of the modern world in my opinion.

Frequent dismounts were called for if he would "cry", and she would pick him up, rock him side to side to while making the "shh-shh shh-shhh" noise instinctively known by all mothers of all babies everywhere.  She would strap him back into his stroller while saying "It's okay......I gah choo....."

On my last day there, we celebrated by eating outside, which was Rosie's dream that day.  Also her dream, to drink coffee.  This turned out not to be about the "coffee" as much as the "cup".  Rosie's parents do not have an coffee, but they do have an impressive collection of tea bags, most of which did not have caffeine.  I drank all the ones with caffeine myself, and made Rosie some "coffee" in a cool cup which consisted of some Chamomile tea and milk.  She was thrilled.  We had "sammich"es of waffles folded over peanut butter and jelly for snack, and every time she would take a bite, she would turn to me and say "I drink my coffee!!" with the biggest laugh.  It was so much fun to do so little and make such a sweet child so very happy.  

When her mother got home, Rosie got to tell her all about our adventures that day and I got to spend some time with my beloved Abigail.  Abigail wanted me to sing a pirate song.  I confess, I was never that into pirates, so I sang "16 bottles of rum on a dead man's chest", and she looked me dead in the eyes for a few seconds and then looked at me like I was nuts, and said "That doesn't even ryhme".....for all the world like I was some kind of idiot.  Which was very true, I had to admit.  That's the way I remember it, anyway.  Maybe we should have looked it up on youtube!  

Then, in what was possibly the funniest moment of all, she grabbed both sides of my face and put her face right in mine and said "Mimi! Do you remember the red lipstick??"

How could I forget the red lipstick???  My lips were chapped for days.  Apparently, after Abigail gave us those "makeovers" that day, the red lipstick mysteriously disappeared.  I looked at her mother as I said that yes, I did remember the red lipstick and Abigail explained that she had lost it somehow, on that very day.  Her mother silently smiled a small smile as she met my eyes, and I was reminded again how lucky I was to have this wonderful, determined and sometimes sneaky woman in my life.  Sometimes that red lipstick simply must go.  We moms gotta stick together. 

Apr 15, 2015


We are getting a rainy but warm week here.
The flowers are making good progress.
The seeds are coming up!
I always plant my seeds for flowers during the waxing moon.
These were planted during the last quarter before it was full.
Plants that make their treasures below the ground should be planted after the full moon, when the moon is waning.
I broke my own rule about throwing money away on annuals and went crazy and bought some Dianthus.
I can't resist Dianthus.
I added them in front of the basket.

I put a Christmas tree stand to use as a pot for some Lobelia.
Lobelia is also an annual but I love it even more than Dianthus and I got a packet of seed for 20 cents.
I don't even count that as throwing money away.
What's 20 cents in this world?

I just flipped the stand upside down and there it was.
I think the blooms of Lobelia all around that dark green circle will be very pretty.
Here is a picture if you are unfamiliar with Lobelia.
It's one of my favorites.

The pot full of violets is also doing well, so far, with the diaper in the bottom to try to save some water.
This could be due to the cloudy weather and frequent rain showers though.
The jury is still out on using the diaper in the bottom of the pot.
I think maybe it would have been better if I would have lined the bottom of the pot with clay before adding the diaper.
We will see.

Perhaps it was the phase of the moon that made the dogs dig a huge hole in the back yard.  They have always dug holes but have seldom shown any focus or dedication.
This time they dug the prettiest hole, about a foot deep and at least 15 inches wide, that I had ever seen.
Just one.
So I possibly threw away $4.97 on a rose bush and threw it in there.

It's a pink Tea Rose and seems to be doing quite well so far.  
This rainy week will help and then it will have full sun.
I hope it lives.
I may have to get it a trellis. 
The package didn't say it was a climber so I guess we will have to wait and see.

Apr 14, 2015

.....All My Children.......

Finally, I was able to get all my children together for my birthday celebration.  One thing about having multiple children is that it is very hard to get them all together at the same time.  It won't get any easier, I know, and luckily I do not care what actual "day" this happens on.  Whatever "day" it happens is always a good one, regardless of whether that is the actual "day" we are celebrating or not.  It's a mom thing.

My first request was to get a picture of all of us.  This involved setting the timer on my camera, sitting it on the barbeque grill on The Rock Star's patio, and running to get into position.  We didn't get a great shot, but we are all in it.

Youngest Baby, Rock Star, Rockette, Charli-girl, Beautiful Redhead, My Oldest Baby, and me, the mother of them all.

It occurs to me that my children are pretty much grown.  Look at that, My Youngest Baby is taller than the Rock Star!  The Beautiful Redhead said she was in an awkward pose, so we took 1 more.

I am confused as to how they all go so big, but I got a grandchild out of it, so I'm rolling with it.

The queen of all our hearts.

I wanted to get some pictures of all the kids, so the boys all pile in.  Charli sees sunglasses!  A prize for any 9 month old child.

But wait!  Where is the Rockette?  Turned out she was in the kitchen preparing beautiful, handmade cupcakes with candles that--HAD COLORED FLAMES, ya'll.  Coolest thing I may have ever seen.  She is like Martha Stewart, but better, I swear!  She, also, is a nurturer.  She also, can't seem to stop.  I think she is a special present just for me!  I call for her, there is the sound of running feet, and then here she is.  Charli has successfully snagged the sunglasses from the back of her Youngest uncle's head.  He hasn't even noticed.  Victory for Charli!  My Oldest Baby was about cropped out, but you can tell he is there.  The twins got some sorely needed time with their brother, and my heart was full.

After a wonderful meal and cupcakes, Charli was very tired.  Her mother read her new Easter book to her and I watched that baby's feet.  She has her mother's feet, we think.  Just look at those little toes. 

A couple of times I thought she must be praying with those feet, she can almost fold them together like the rest of us do with our hands.

Then it happened.  Charli's signature move.  When she is tired she puts her hand on her forehead, as if to say "Oh my, it's been a long day, I think I must lie down for a bit."  That's not even all.  See the look on the Beautiful Redhead?  Also her sign that she is tired.  Perhaps only her father and I would recognize it, but that is it.

Just look at that.  It melts my heart every time.  I am so thankful for a grandchild with parents who love each other.  She has a beautiful house where she is treasured above all every single day and night.  She has lots of family and any one of them might snuggle up and take a nap with her any time she wants.  This time it was the Beautiful Redhead.  To hear her offer to lay down with her niece made me look forward to her having her own baby.  The years flashed by in my head in a blur, and I realized that this is real.  This is my life.  I love it so much.  Sorry, Beautiful Redhead, but you knew this.  I waited for a very long time for grand children of my own.  Totally worth the wait, but I wait still for the rest of them.  It's a mother thing.  You will understand.  Someday.  The story never ends, you know.  Or perhaps I should say "the neverending story continues"?  So many happy hours I spent with my older two watching that wonderful movie.  

It's just going to keep on going.  Eventually, someone else will take up the telling of this story.  I wonder who it will be?  We will just have to wait and see what happens next.  I can't wait.  What happened next this time was the Rockette went back to check on our girls and came back gushing about how sweet they looked asleep together, and it hit me: I am not the only mother around here anymore.  What a relief this is.  What a blessing for this wonderful, strong woman to have landed in our family.  You never know what lies around the corner, but I am so glad our family went around that particular corner.  

Happy 50th to me, colored candles and all.  Thank you, God, for my many blessings.  May I be worthy of them.

Apr 13, 2015

On Dandelions and Legacies........

*UNDERCOVER NOTE FROM AUTHOR: So, I've been blogging every day.  I'm not going to mention it, because I did not plan that, I do not know where it is coming from, and basically have no idea what is going on with that this.  Since I've been waiting to see what I was supposed to do next, been willing to do it, and really haven't cared what it is, I'm just going with whatever happens.  It's been a very good period for me, probably much like people who go away to "rest" after a nervous breakdown.  Odd, I know, but there it is.
I have no idea how long it may continue or where it might go, but who ever really does?  Let's just not mention it further and see what comes next.  ;)*

I started this blog in January of 2011.  There is something that I certainly have never brought up except to lament the fact that I don't do it, but you are supposed to do this every day.  Blog, that is.  I don't really care if anybody does it every day, but when they just stop??  And you're wondering if they died or some kind of horrible hospital stay in their life and so were unable to let you know that...well, they are still alive????  You try to remember how old their kids were the last time you saw them, and when that was???  Then you wonder if you are what would be considered a "stalker"???  That's very upsetting.  But hey, it's their blog.  They can do, or not do, what they want.  They would tell me to get my own and I would say, Hello!!  I did!!  Anyway, if you are still coming here and know me from your blog that you have abandoned, I miss you and hope you are doing well.

In 4 years this is my 225th post.  That's just how I roll.  I'm all right with it, and very unconcerned about how other people feel about that.  But I do so appreciate the friends I've made through this little blog and the loved ones who care enough to keep up with it.  You know who you are.  It has been a very strange and exciting journey, these years, and has helped me in many ways.  I hope it has helped you too, if only by giving bad examples and citing mistakes made.  And to the few nutzoids that I've corresponded with and also this blog to thank for?  I wish you peace.  I really do, and that is all.

It's been 3 years since I wrote This Post on The Secret of Life, Abigail was 4, and she picked every single dandelion out of my front yard one day.  She was into filling up a little bucket I had, and it didn't hurt her back to bend over, and she picked every single one.  That was a lot.  She had "very many" dandelions in her bucket.  The next day she got up and was bamboozled to discover that they had grown back!!  We considered it a miracle!  I will never forget her face that day.

That experience had the affect on me of never looking at a dandelion the same way again.  I hope it had the same affect on you too.  Why?  Because within the dandelion lies the core of the secret of life.

It's the most common thing in the world; ignored by many, despised by most, appreciated by very few.  Most people don't even give them a thought, unless it's to plan to kill them, and yet Dandelions will be blooming and seeding still, on the day they bury each one of us.  As children we believe that wishes made on seeded dandelion heads would come true if we blew on them and the seeds flew away.  At some point most of us quit believing.

The Dandelion has long been the eternal thorn in the side of anyone who likes "landscaping".  The Dandelion has roots that run very deep, and are edible, as are the many copious flowers that it produces.  Even if you pick every bloom out of your yard, the next day the Dandelion just sends up more.  These blooms, even if picked, will seed themselves and send out hundreds, nay, thousands, nay(!) MILLIONS (!!) of seeds.  Many will be lost to the wind, never finding land to sink roots into, but more will sink in and start again.  The Dandelion understands the odds.  The Dandelion does not shrink in fear or weep for lost seeds that never find fruition.  That's just life.  The Dandelion just keeps it's own counsel and does what it was born to do, despite what the world will do to itself.  The Dandelion will not only survive, it will thrive.

It reminds me of some people I know, and age has no bearing on that.  It's more of a spirit thing.  People either have it or they don't.  Most of us are born with it, but sometimes it gets worn down and some never recover from that mortal blow.  Other times, people discover their own strength at the strangest times and just run with it.  Life, after all, is not really that hard, if you are willing to just show up and keep going.  We trap ourselves, often, by not being willing to forget bad things that happened to us.  A lot of good things probably happened to us after that, but we choose not to think about those things.  Why?  I don't know either, I am really asking.  I do know that it's a choice, whether you realize it or not.  Take back your power, and smile.  Life goes on, and you might as well enjoy it because it will end sooner or later.  I hope you choose to keep going and enjoy the ride.  No, I don't know where we are going either.  But we are going, so smile.

Recently I have been obsessed with the work of Fantasy Wire in the UK.  I don't know what made them pick Dandelions, but check out their work if you love Fairies, sculpture or Dandelions.  I think you will be amazed.  I was.  This one is a weather vane, a big one, and it's called 1 O'clock Wish.

This blog post started to sink it's roots in around that time, and I have been mulling it over ever since.

I lost my job last year.  I am now 50 years old. I have a trip to Germany planned for 3 weeks this summer, so I'm only looking for part-time work right now.  I am not too enthusiastic about going back to a desk.  At all.  I can do anything I want with the last few years before retirement.  It kind of blows my mind that I consider 12 years a "last few", but I do.  I can say that without a qualm and someday, if you live long enough, you will be able to, too.  Yes, it's weird, but not scary.   

The state of nursing homes in our land is rather abysmal and I hope I never end up in one.  I would, simply put, rather die.  I am a nurturer, I can't seem to help it.  I am pretty sure that is why I was born.  With all the cold reality setting in around me, it occurred to me that elder care would be a thing I would love, could support myself doing, and would be cheaper done at home than the often shoddy and terrifying experiences of people in nursing homes.  I could tell you these stories, but it's sad and I am sure you have your own.  To give credit where it is due, I know many very good nursing homes also.  But not I will leave it at that.  

I looked at the pictures of Fantasy Wire's work and contemplated the seeds that Dandelions produce.  How those plants thrive under almost any conditions and never worry about whether they will survive any kind of apocalypse.  They just bloom where they are planted and live their life, kind of like old people.  Also like old people, they leave seeds that fly all over their world, some that won't root for a long time, but will eventually.  Some will take root in ways that the person who sent the seed out would never have imagined.  Often, actually.  Some words they dropped into a child's ear and never thought of again will one day come back to that child as an answer to an unasked question.  Resolve will bloom in that child's soul and they will simply think "the answer was inside me all along".  They may never remember exactly why but that doesn't matter.  The seed took root and will bloom.

In my own life I have had moments where something a grandparent or my own mother said or did that I forgot about for years until it just came to me.  It came when I needed to remember it.   Seeds that flew by on the wind years ago, finally rooted and blooming and carrying on.  Dandelions speak to me because I am one, in a way.  We all are.  It's my turn now to bloom and send my own seeds on their way.  All throughout our lives we are blooming and seeding ourselves, many times unknowingly.  Don't worry.  I believe it is all part of a plan, and I know God is in control.

Will Abigail ever remember that day?  I am sure I explained how Dandelions send out seeds.  I know we dug up a root.  They are impressive, she may remember that now.  I know we have made many wishes on the seeded tops and joyfully blown seeds all over creation in our world many times.  I told Abigail that those wishes were real, and that the seeds would carry them.  I never stopped believing that was true, and I hope she never does either.   Some day, perhaps she will be making comparisons to Dandelions and the seeds that I planted with her.  I've done that with children all my life, and my own Charli girl is getting old enough to listen to my stories, too.  We scatter our legacies like the world scatters Dandelion's seeds.  

When we get old, we have boxes of pictures, journals, keepsakes and memorabilia that may only mean something to us.  If anyone else actually knew what it was, it would mean something to them also.  Maybe it would mean a lot.  

I am sure that my grandparent's told me who was in all those old pictures at some point; but I forgot.  What if I could spend my days with a person going through their old pictures?  Documenting their stories?  I did that as a child with my own grandmother, I did it with my mother before her death, I've been doing it ever since.  I could also sweep, make lunch, throw something in the crock pot for supper, and still do that.

My thoughts continued.  I have always taken care of babies, and still love to.  They are my first, and possibly my last, love.  However, I cannot run after those babies anymore.  Getting down on the floor is fine, but getting back up takes longer than it used to and frankly, I prefer not to do it.  But elder care.........that is going to be a good job to have, at the age I am now.  I can listen to, and document, people's stories all day long.  I love their stories.  It doesn't matter how small they are or how much they think no one else would be interested.  I know for a fact that after they are gone, after the seeds have all flown and their children and grandchildren are feeling so alone, they are going to want to know.  Even if they didn't before, which I certainly hope they did, but you know how kids are.  I know you know because we were all kids at one point and I think we all did the same thing.  Kids do not pay attention and later they are so sorry.  But that's life.  And I could make that easier on them.

That napkin that looks like trash to them and would go right into the trash bag may be the one their grandmother saved from the first night she met  their grandfather.  That was the night that sparked a thousand more, and eventually the people who are sorting through this box of memories.    It gets better; that wedding ring charm that they can't find the bracelet to go with; she pawned it to buy seeds so her husband could feed their babies in the summer of '32.  She never told him.  She didn't want to hurt his feelings because it was the only piece of jewelry he could ever afford to buy her.  She worried about not telling him, but then he never seemed to notice, and she never knew for sure whether he figured it out or not.

I totally just made that up but I swear to you on all that is holy, there are stories just exactly like this among one of your relative's souvenirs.  Maybe the stories are even better.

This was feeling like a really good idea.  Who doesn't need someone to come in and stay with their sick child because where they work has a point system and the child isn't sick enough to go to the Dr. but is too sick to go to school?  What if there was an older woman you could call to come sit with your child?  To tell Dandelion stories and give them frozen treats and make a bed for them on the couch where they can heal?  You can go to work, think about that while you need to, and know that you will be coming home to a clean and orderly house, and just join the flow of your own ordinary life without having to make up for lost time.  Supper will be ready when you are, and then you can snuggle with your sick little one, all without missing a beat or any one "job" suffering over any other.  I feel for you.  I lived that life for what turns out to be too long, but I remember exactly how horrible it was.  I would have given anything for a woman like me.  A grandma.  Notice how all the grandma's work now?  Thanks, "liberation"!  *waves tiredly*

Who hasn't had a sick loved one at home who needed them, but they had to go to work?  It's awful.  Your mind is not with you at work.  It's imagining your poor parent has fallen and just laying there waiting for help.  Your poor loved one is lonely, confused, perhaps they have that demon Alzheimer's, and you have a family to help, but you cannot possibly cover every minute of every day and night, even with your family helping.  These things will happen to you eventually, if you know the odds.  They have happened to me, and I know exactly what it is like and how hard it is.

Perhaps you just "get things slide" for too long, and your house is a mess and you have to host a family dinner next week and you need some help doing a deep clean.  I'm your man.  I know how it is, kid, I raised 4 kids myself and 2 dogs and I could tell you bagless vacuum cleaner stories that would make you feel like Mary freaking Poppins.  Everybody has dirt.  You are not special in this regard.  Now get out of the way so I can mop.  

Growing up, whenever we had a death in the family, which was kind of often, we had a ritual that seems a bit strange to me now.  I never questioned it growing up, but now I'm wondering if we were considered strange, or if everybody did it.  It's one of the things I still don't know and maybe never will.  When we had a death in our family, we called a lady who lived in town that we had known all our lives, and she helped us clean the house of the deceased.  We did not hire her to clean it for us.  We all cleaned it together.  It was, perhaps oddly, the way we coped.  Someone would die, we would call a lady named Mary, and instead of taking to our beds and crying, we would clean the house and ready it for people to drop by.  Then we would go home exhausted, take to our beds, and cry.  But first things first.  Strange or normal?  Your call.  I just thanked God for Mary.  Still do.  Whether she treasured ordinary life all along or got fed up with corporate crap and turned her back on it; also a  mystery.  See how it doesn't matter but works out in the end?

Perhaps you need someone to sit with your wife.  "What would you do?", you might ask.  Well, what is her ordinary life like?  This is what I will do.  What does your wife like to spend her days doing?  Does she love her flowers? Her garden?  Does she crochet?  I do not, but I've been feeling terrible about never learning.  Does she love to cook?  So do I.  Maybe we will spend days talking about her babies.  I can take down all the information for them that will be lost with her.  When they got their teeth, when they walked, what illnesses they went through, funny things they said when they were little.  All these will be lost to the wind when she is gone.  There are some things that only a mother remembers.  Sad but very true.  I can keep that from happening.  Eventually, someone will want to know that, and you can take that to the bank.

I have experience with Alzheimer's and know that some days it's enough to let them paint.  The walls.  Of their house.  Black and pink, perhaps.  But it soothes them, they are their walls, after all, no one gets hurt or upset, and it's just paint.  There may come a day when you let a person do something like this because they are so precious to you that you literally do not care what the walls look like.  On that day, the fact that your wife or mother is in her own house, occupied and happy, and will be there when you return, will mean everything to you.  Even if she is not exactly like she used to be.  Even if there is crazy paint all over the walls; she will be there,  she will be as all right as it is possible for her to be, and you will have one more day of memories with her.  It will mean everything to you.  I've lived that.  It's worth more than anything, then.

I have experience with end-of-life care, more than I would actually like, but again; life.  I know how important it is to certain person's dignity that they cross the river from home.  I respect that.  Nobody crosses that river alone, either.  Don't worry.  

How did maintaining an ordinary life come to take extraordinary measures?  This is what I asked myself.  How did cherishing ordinary life work it's way out of our culture?  Are these things even still considered "ordinary life" today?  Well, any reader of this blog will know the answer to that.  That, however, is not the point.  The point is that we need to bring these things back.  We need to focus on what is really important, and we need to do that before we are old and in need of a companion to help us maintain our ordinary, glorious, lives.

So I decided to see what happened if I offered this service.  I ordered business cards and everything.  I used a Dandelion on them.  There were so many reasons I couldn't even begin to fit them on a card; hence this post.  Plus, I ordered them for practically nothing from Vista Print and the dandelion theme was already there.  I took it as a God wink.

This is the front, I apologize for the clarity but it was the best I could do.

I chose Extraordinary Measures as a name.  It's a little tongue in cheek, as am I, but I love the irony of ordinary life taking extraordinary measures these days.  I think I'm finally the perfect age to do some good.  I have been training since childhood.  I probably should have a doctorate.  In my world, I do.  I actually am the modern day version of Mary freaking Poppins, minus the snazzy outfit and sadly, ability to fly.  So far.  Never in a million years would I have predicted it; but there it is.

And the back:

I love living in the country.  I am not too interested in going back to an office and sitting there until I die, or just wish that I had, while out there life is happening and I am missing it.  I am surrounded by cows and good people who are getting on in years.  I am positive they have wonderful stories to tell and I think I can both support myself and my new community in a valuable and "old fashioned" way that they will appreciate.  I seems a little crazy but it feels right.  I will do it privately in order to circumvent all those crazy no-common-sense- rules that govt. entities purporting to offer this same service use to choke any kind of logic or purpose out of their own creations.  We will have none of that.  If you have lived to be in your 80's and want salt on your green beans, have some salt.  You have lived your entire life, raised a family, taken care of your debts and hoed your own row.  And you would like to sit outside and have a beer?  Cheers.  To me, it's largely a matter of respect, but honor and dignity are in there, too.

People will still have control over their own lives.  For those that do it their way, I am here.  I think it might be my purpose.  Finally!  Finally a reason and a course to follow!  How long did I wander around wondering why I was going through all this?  Long.  I put in hard work and I feel like I'm finally seeing the "why".  

It just feels right and I've reached the age where if it doesn't work out, well, I just know something else will.  Those seeds are going to root somewhere, and you can bet on that.

Apr 12, 2015

Almost a Prayer.....Desiderata

It's almost a prayer.  It's good instruction for life.  It's a poem, by Max Ehrmann, that was largely unknown during his lifetime.  He wrote it in 1927, and died in 1945.
But it was used in a collection of devotional materials by a reverend in Maryland in 1956 and found it's way to us all, somehow, from there.  What is meant to be.......will be.
It has always spoken to me.  In particular now the verse "Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth."  I think it speaks to us all, no matter what stage you are in.   I have always loved it, and it's Sunday.  Enjoy.

Max Erhmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, remember what peace there may be in silence.   
As far as possible, without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. 
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings. 
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations.  
In the noise and confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world.  
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Apr 11, 2015


It's that time of year.
Three very handsome men showed up at my door this evening.

They love the tuxes.
My oldest baby wanted the "Terminator" look....

I had to insist that I get at least one without the glasses.
They are almost men.
Still boys at heart, though.