- Writing an article for the local newspaper as part of my publicity chair duties for a music organization
- Watching on video cam as Em and Roo ate their cheese sandwiches, spelled their words, and blew kisses at us. Way cute!
- Reading about Gracie and Jbear going to church today. Makes my heart sing!
- Grilling hatch chile cheese sandwiches for supper
- Taking a wee nap. Ahhhhhh.
- Saturday shopping at SAM’s on Sunday. Not my favorite thing to do.
- Partying with GW & Abigail, Muffin and Nannie for her 87th birthday, which is Tuesday. We ate at
Rosa’s, then adjourned to Nannie’s for gifts and Chocolate Mint Cake. Gave her a certificate for a massage and a pink embroidered apron, “The First Lady”, from my favorite store at national airport, . Washington, DC
- Playing “Wonderful, Merciful Saviour” for church service at 11:00 and for a Sunday School class at 9:30. Only I was late because Muffin had some important conversation in the car as we arrived, and I didn’t want to interrupt, and I knew that the pianist was waiting for me in the fellowship hall, and that the SS class was waiting for me upstairs, and they were—actually sitting and waiting, just for me. How embarrassing and so obvious that I hadn’t tuned well and was rushing to play. Oh well. Better next time.
- Getting a phone call from Kak just after I played for SS that she was feeling really terrible and asking advice
- Leaving church to go home and fetch the gifts, originally planned as a trip home to leave my violin in a cool place for the morning, but then learning I would be playing for the church service
- Cleaning all the glass on two cars in the garage as I waited for Muffin to rescue me
- Locking myself out of the house when I retrieved the gifts. No problem. Have a spare car key in my purse, which is in the car (keys in the house). Only…the spare key only unlocks the car door and has a chip which will not allow starting the car.
- Calling Muffin to catch a ride to the house for a rescue so I would not miss the offertory at church, for which I was to be providing music.
- Waking up in a stupor because our very old telephone with our land line started ringing on its own at 3 a.m. Muffin thought he shut it down. But actually he temporarily discouraged it, then he shut down. I kept hearing screaming noises from 4-8 a.m., but it all mixed with dreams and consequently, I really didn’t sleep. Audio Adrenaline!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
No weddings, funerals, shopping, out of town trips—didn’t even make it to the gym today. Here’s what we did do:
- Scoped out puppy pictures online
- Cleaned the music room, purging old sticker sheets, old festival brochures, old coloring books, old violins. NO! Wait. We love old violins.
- Read blogs, and more blogs
- Watched our new 37” Toshiba HDTV
- Worked in the yard (just Muffin, not I)
- Watched a rain storm make its way into town and rain on the newly cleaned yard
- Bought a few groceries, including ice for a 40th birthday party
- Attended aforementionted birthday party
- I talked to Nannie while Muffin bought brackets to secure the new TV
- Made a Mint Chocolate Cake filled and covered in Chocolate Ganache for Nannie’s birthday lunch tomorrow. Recipe in this book (minus the mint and Ganache) if you can find it.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Today Nannie’s appointment with Dr. Munton was at 4:30, but she wanted to be there at 4:00. I pulled into the drive at 3:58 and she arrived about 4:10. They called her in right at 4:30. He had read her chart before entering the room and asked how she felt today. Answer, “Hurting”. It was 5:20 when we left and she did most of the talking about matters unrelated to health, but it makes her feel better to talk, which I hope this office understands by now. They had clearly had a long, perhaps difficult day, and were very tired, but listened to her until she really got off the subject. Dr. Munton reins her back in very nicely and helps her focus on the subject at hand. I’m so grateful to him for that.
- No longer having good long term results from injections, plus reacting to the cortisone
- Reactions to medications are unsatisfactory and complicated (Lyrica and Cymbalta did not work, causing some side effects. Pain patches unsuccessful and are very powerful medications which require careful withdrawal. Only med that gets results is hydrochodone, which is causing side effects such as loss of appetite, weight loss, sleeplessness. Keep taking the antidepressant.)
- Back brace may help by compressing the nerve into a comfortable position. He wrote a prescription for that.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Backtracking to our trip to
- Contact your congressperson with date of requested tour
- Collect full names, birth dates, social security numbers, height, weight, true hair color, well maybe not precisely all of that, but most of it—for each person going on the tour
- Receive confirmation of tour about five months later, complete with instructions and confirmation number.
- Let reality sink in—there are no bathrooms available to the public tours. You may not take any bags of any kinds, no cameras, no hand held devices, nothing that won’t fit in a pocket, around your neck or waist and come off easily for security scrutiny. You MUST have a photo ID, and you MAY have a cell phone or umbrella.
- Arrive at the Visitor’s Center about half an hour early—last chance for a potty.
- Walk to the gate and show your confirmation number, with all names of those touring.
- Walk to next checkpoint where a guard with a clipboard checks all the information against your ID, which, of course, cannot be in a bag of any kind.
- Thinking you are inside, you walk several yards before realizing you are walking the opposite direction from the entrance. In fact you are headed to yet another checkpoint. This is the serious one. It is inside a temporary facility where powerful metal detectors look at any information you may still have on your person, then you step through the detector and “redress” yourself. Now that I think of it, it’s pretty amazing that my credit card and Metro fare card were not demagnetized at that point.
At last! We walk in the direction of the House. Enter the East Wing, and view poster sized photos of the Bush family at the Olympics. Then there are the historic photos of administrations past, drawings, the view of the gardens from the East Wing. Under renovation, presumably for the next resident, the East Room is spectacular, even without it’s draperies and it’s carpet partially rolled back. Oh the history!
On our way out met one of the guards, who is from Forth Worth, TX, bless his heart. He graduated from GWU and has been in the current job, uniformed White House guard, for four years. Now, that’s public service!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
For most of the last two years I left town only to see my children and grandchildren, and even then, waited until it was almost to the point of necessity—a birth, celebration, graduation, babysitting opportunity or several events combined. They were precious years in the life of our family, the final two years of my Daddy’s well-lived life.
On March 3, 2006 I had a call from pregnant CB that she would be seeing a perinatologist the afternoon of March 9 because Roo was not growing as she should be. The plan was for Kak to fly home for Spring break (she was still in DC in college) on March 10, so the timing was perfect. Except that 45 minutes before I left town on March 9 Nannie called that she was on the way to the ER behind Dubbie, who had fallen down three steps and broken his hip and was sedated, lying on a board in an ambulance. A couple of hours later as I walked out of the ER into the parking lot where I could get better cell reception and speak privately, I got a “call” from Father God, who told me this would be the beginning of the ending. I experienced just about every emotion know to human flesh—fear, shock, despair, grief, longing, joy, sadness, love, hate, anger, loneliness, fatigue, and most of all the questioning.
Two weeks later Daddy was in a rehab wing, doing very well physically. Our relatively small family (four people in town including Kak) was exhausted, having sat with him day and night because of hospital psychosis which caused him to have hallucinations beginning at sundown every evening. His hip was repaired with a plate and screw, his balance was relatively good considering bad knees caused him to fall in the first place, and getting off all pain medication helped considerably with the psychosis. But we all knew that he just wasn’t the same as before. Statistics show that most elderly people do not survive complications of a broken hip. In fact most die within two years following a broken hip.
Daddy left the rehab wing with a walker and home healthcare and Nannie was under a tremendous weight of responsibility. As the only child, I was also feeling the squeeze. I pressed on toward the end of the semester thinking I could handle things so much better after my teaching schedule was relieved, the twins were born in late May or early June, and Daddy was more fully recovered. At that time Kak was back in DC at school, Muffin was working his usually 40 hours in 4 days so he could drive home for weekends on Thursday evening through Monday morning.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The above mentioned cake was the birthday boy's request. He says it is better left over and chilled.
He spent much of the weekend twin wrangling while I cooked, did laundry, and played for a wedding. That's one of the things I love most about him--the way he plays with children. Our girls loved playing with him when they were little and their children are big Grandpa fans as well. He erected a tent and tunnel inside the house because the mosquitoes were pretty bad outside and this is what happened.
One day he went outside with the RG's and wrote words on the sidewalk in chalk. Roo enjoyed shouting out the words and Em enjoyed writing her own words in her own language.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Eph. 2:21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Excellent prayer! That is the spirit in which we prayed last Saturday in Washington, DC.
And then, on his knees before thousands of people on the Mall near the Capitol of the United States, Dr. Bigpond let his hair down and freed it from his braid, signifying that "it is finished". This work is done. Just as the sacrifices in the temple are finished. Just as the shedding of blood to cover sin is finished. Just as Jesus finished His work.
It is a moment I will not forget.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Immediately after arriving four hours later than our original flight was scheduled, we checked into our amazing hotel in
It is family friendly, has a delicious hearty breakfast included in the price, and the rooms have a beautiful view of the Air Force Memorial. Many military families choose this hotel and it just simply makes you proud that these wonderful people are defending our nation.
In the absence of lunch, Muffin and I downed a Cliff bar and met our church friends in the lobby, walked to the Metro station and bought fare cards for the duration of our stay. Our group rode to
The museum stays open late in the summer and we were famished by 7 p.m. Joybear met us at Jaleo’s, where we ordered tapas and shared with one another, laughing and talking about health care and the elderly, Joy’s job. Take a virtual tour here. We ate delicious flatbread with tomatoes, fish, and herbs. Spinach with raisins and nuts. Spanish tortilla with eggs and potatoes and herbs. Skewered chicken, cooked to perfection. Chorizo and little beans. And perfectly rounded chocolate mousse with Spanish coffee for dessert. Go. Eat at Jaleo’s by
Monday, August 18, 2008
After visiting the White House, touring the rooms open to guests and perusing the halls with historic photographs and the latests photo shots of President and Mrs. Bush at the Olympics--opening ceremonies, high fives with athletes, hugs with medalists, profile shots with daughter Barbara, we walked past Lafayette Park (What a debt of gratitude we Americans owe that fabulous Frenchman!) to the Old Ebbit Grill for lunch.
We personally recommend the crab cakes and the summer vegetable plate serve with polenta. Yum!
Following lunch most of the group walked to the Reagan Building and viewed and photographed the chunk of the Berlin Wall. If you are my age or older you vividly remember President Reagan's speech with the famous exhortation, " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Muffin and I left the group at that time and strolled over to the National Gallery of Art to view a couple of current exhibits. Special exhibits do not allow photography, so it is illegal for me to show you what I saw. However if you check www.nga.gov you can get photos, podcasts, virtual tours of the Afghanistan treasures and the Martin Puryear exhibit. I was so blown away by the gold, the history, the fact that the treasures just survived, that I'm still slapping myself as a reality check on the Afghanistan exhibit. May I just insert a "WOW!". And M. Puryear is a genius with wood, fiber, and other natural materials. A Genius, I tell you. And I never, ever lie about a genius. Reserve a flight to DC, take the Metro to Federal Triangle and walk straight to the National Gallery right now. You will not regret it.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
All began well. View this, and this. Made me smile. Two siestas came over for our final Bible study of the summer. We studied, prayed, and ate well, avoiding the Three Dreaded H’s of summer. But I had an outstanding internet order with guaranteed delivery today and the tracking indicated delivery at any moment. I waited. I ran errands and got a lovely pedicure. I made schedules, phone calls, wrote policy and calendars for the studio. I watched a recorded episode of Burn Notice, eliminating all commercials. I nursed a headache. No delivery. I work more on the schedule as the evening wore on. No delivery. I took leftover goodies to Nannie and great books for her to read if she cannot sleep, which has been too often since Dubbie died.
On the way out the driveway the garage door bounced up, which it sometimes does, but this time it would not stay down. On the way home I called Muffin who gave me instructions on using the ladder and a screwdriver to make adjustments, except it didn’t work. About 5 trips up and down the ladder, many turns of the screw and many lift/lower bounces later, a terrible clattering noise occurred and no movement at all on the next trial lift/lower. So, down the ladder, and a trial to manually lower the door and SNAP! The chain broke. So, with many errands to run and a trip planned I will be manually operating the garage door until, oh, say 10 days from now, when we can get parts replaced. This is not the sort of uplifting experience for which I pray. Oh, and while the door was halfway up/down and I was gone for 45 minutes delivering goodies, UPS delivered. The scan indicated it was out for delivery at 6:30 a.m. and the delivery was about 8:30 p.m., but still within the 3 day limit, so Yea. I think I’m experiencing two of the three dreaded H’s now—hungry and hormonal, so be warned to BOB! Back Off Buddy!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
We went out for breakfast (ending in a melt down for the girls and carry out boxes for the adults).
And, speaking of Aunt Kaki, she and RG’s Mommy, CB, are visiting Gracie, Jbear and family. (Marmee is jealous!)
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Buddy was JB and CB’s first “child”. I really knew that JB loved CB when they bought Buddy at a pet store before they were married. JB kept him at the house where he lived with too many roommates. CB smuggled him into her rent house on occasions when JB was working long hours, holding down three jobs as a student. Buddy was half Aussie and half chow, with a perpetual growl that expressed all his feelings of love and anger and everything inbetween. He looked much like crumbled Oreos in a glass of milk that had sprouted lots of thick fur and had two shiny button eyes. His cute furry head was often tilted to one side, with a puzzled look on his face, as if he was saying “What’s it all about, Alfie?”
Scooter and his family miss you, Buddy. I’m so thankful that you didn’t have to make that last trip to the vet’s office, but that you died quietly with your family at home. I’m glad I was there and saw that you didn’t suffer, but chose to just quit eating and leave silently. You were a great little Buddy. See you at the
Just this side of heaven is a place called
Friday, August 8, 2008
So You Think You Can Dance is over once again, boo hoo. I’m so excited that Joshua won it, mainly because he is a Texan and went to a public school. Good things come from
He speaks the truth. In over 40 years of performing, I’ve played concerts, rehearsals, and recitals characterized by trouble—illness (played with 102 fever and flu at one performance; eyes almost wouldn’t blink), injury (pinched nerves in neck or back, wearing a Tens to block pain from severely injured wrists, knee in immobilizer and walking onstage with crutches), pain (migraine, the aforementioned wrists, surgery only days before a performance, childbirth one week before a rehearsal and performance series, etc. etc.). And difficulty: well that’s a category in itself. Twice I played with guest artists who never rehearsed with the orchestra due to missed flights or inclement weather. We rehearsed with the director, who then rehearsed with the artist, and we prayed and watched without looking at the music, almost. The audience never knew.
The only excuse ever publicized to the audience was absolutely the worst concert of my life. Our orchestra is in a small town and we were then known as a “pick up” orchestra, playing with only a small core of local musicians and “picking up” players from other cities who drove in on Thursday evenings for 2 ½ days of rehearsal before a Saturday concert. It was in the winter and we had some bad weather, but not terrible. Three fine players, all graduate students on visas from other nations, were hit head on by a driver on the wrong side of the interstate. They died instantly on the way to rehearsal. One of them had a brother in another car and he saw it all. It was halfway into rehearsal when we learned the truth about why they were missing (one was a section leader), and that ended the rehearsal. The following three rehearsals were almost useless. The only thing we performed well was the Faure “Pavane”, which was done as a memorial to them. We cried silently as we played. I still cannot perform the Pavane, or even hear it, without profound sadness, and it was almost ten years ago. But, the point is that the orchestra performed. We performed the Saturday following September 11, 2001—without our conductor,at that time, because all planes were grounded and he lived in
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I’m not the only one getting older. My microwave broke last night. It isn’t terminally broken, just blew a fuse, but it stopped in the middle of brewing tea. It’s so hot (over 100 most every day) that I dislike using the oven just for warming. I’m not crazy about warming 6 bites of food in individual pans on the range, either, so cold food will do til Muffin fixes a fuse.
My serger is now 20 years old too. Twenty years since my Pickle died. I bought the serger as sort of a memorial to her. She taught me lots of handwork and loved to see the things I sewed for the girls when they were little. Kak was only three when she died, but remembers her. When I was about three, I was in a bad mood at her house one day and she called me a Sour Puss. I replied that she was a Sour Pickle. The name stuck, but was abbreviated. Of her 14 grandchildren I was the only one who called her Pickle. As an adult I cross stitched and embroidered pickles on various items—book covers and pillows among them. All of those came back to me after she died. I guess these memories are tickling my brain tonight because I have been sewing for a couple of days and the serger is generally sewing well, but is terribly outdated and much more difficult to use than the newer ones.
Scooter is eleven now. His mother, Muzzy, died when she was 12, or just a few days before that. I still think of Scooter as a puppy. Muzzy’s first litter of Shelties was on May 1, 1996. One day later, I went on a Walk to Emmaus. Two days later was the high school prom. I essentially deserted my daughters on prom night at their insistence. I had no idea how much they loved me to allow me to spend such a frivolous weekend full of love poured out by the Body of Christ. It seems like yesterday that Scooter was a little puppy, Muzzy was a new mom, Boo was graduating, Joy was going off to cheerleading camp, and CB and JB were getting married, but all of those events were between eleven and twelve years ago. Scooter is on meds for arthritis and liver function and that breaks my heart.
Our house is the second newest house on our block. Muffin designed it on the computer-in 1986. We moved into it in 1988. All manner of gadgets and attachments are in need of replacement or repair. Muffin replaced most of the fence not long ago. The living room carpet, which seems dirty all the time, is the “new” one. It’s six years old.
I find comfort in knowing that things aren’t really made to last. Relationships are. God calls Himself the I AM. He IS, WAS, and ever SHALL BE. As I learned so aptly and is forever implanted in my brain in 7th grade English: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, have, has, had, do, does, did, shall, will, should, would, may, might, must, can, could. Yep, that pretty well covers God—in English, as least. He is timeless.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Boo blogged about Jbear and his exploding baby powder this morning. Funny thing is that about 35 years ago, Muffin and I babysat with our pastor’s three boys for four days and three nights, and a similar incident occurred. The oldest of the boys, R, had lots of physical issues and at age nine, attended a special school and was just out of diapers. Breaking up his routine by introducing two people who had no children as his caretakers was really a big adjustment for him. He would tap me on the forehead and say “Where’s Mommy?” Repeatedly. Just hurt my heart. The two younger boys were two and three. They were full of it. Twenty four hours a day.
We had strict instructions to help them maintain a routine and I stayed home with them all day to be there to meet the bus when R came home from his school. B and S would wake in the pitch darkness before 6 a.m. Winter in
The night we hosted Bible study at the house (planned by the pastor and wife so we would be able to stay there and get the boys to bed) we kept hearing them when they were supposed to be asleep. One of us would go it, explain that they must quiet down and go to sleep. B and S shared a room that was closest to the living room. I’m sure we were too noisy for them, and they tried to settle down. But, curiosity got the best of them and the last time we checked on them someone had emptied an entire container of baby powder into their beds and on the floor. They were wearing fuzzy red PJ’s before the “incident” and afterward, we just improvised. The entire room was a white cloud of powder. It was hard to breathe in there, so we stripped the beds, enlisted the airmen and wives from the Bible study to help, vacuumed, put things though the dryer so the lint catcher would filter out the powder, and nearly ruined the vacuum cleaner making the room safe for them to sleep. R slept though the whole incident. Needless to say, we stupidly asked “Who did this?” and S pointed to a small “puddle” on the carpet and said “R did that!” We all laughed hilariously about it for hours afterward. I think 2-3 year old boys are fascinated with baby powder. Thank you God, for my four girls.
I love my Muffin
Love my dog
Love my kidlings
Love my blog.
Losing weight is such a tussle.
Fat is uglier than muscle.
Just don't eat what is a treat,
Mostly veggies, fruit and meat.
Wish we had an HDTV,
Plasma fifty inch LCD,
Searching sites, comparing info
Makes the formerly sane go loco.
Twenty four hours in a day
Twelve to teach, work out, and pray
Four to practice, study, plan,
Cook, read email, run and scan,
Two for phone calls, house upkeep,
Can I live with six to sleep?
Monday, August 4, 2008
Muffin drives back to his apartment and work 200 miles away, working hard for four days so he can return for a long weekend. The house is quiet and Scooter the Sheltie and I are disoriented for awhile. Coffee helps.
The phone rings more often on Monday. Why is that? All sorts of organizations think I must hear their recordings on Monday. And brides call or email on Monday, panicky that their wedding plans have slipped my mind or my calendar. Not so. I hired the quartet to play for the weddings long ago.
About one hour after leaving the family reunion I was here. Our quartet was invited to provide music for the new class of the pharmacy school at Texas Tech. It’s the second class for this branch and the White Coat Ceremony is very dignified and interesting with many speakers providing history and advice to the new students before presenting them with the White Coat and leading all pharmacists and the new class in the oath of their profession. Then we play as they recess, meet family and friends and professors for a reception, taking lots of photos. Since we are in the balcony of this lovely restored theater we never really know when it “over”. We just play until it’s very dark and we can’t hear anyone anymore, then run downstairs to see if there is anyone left who isn’t part of the packing crew. Our total time at the venue is about three hours, from set up to break down. (No, not a fiddle breakdown. I said it was very dignified!) We are honored to be invited to play.
Favorite part of Monday: Acts 29:1, which is the name of our Emmaus reunion group. Love those sisters! They are the most faithful prayer warriors ever, and the silliest sisters outside of my four daughters.
Next favorite: Monday night Body Flow. But I’m still sore from my workout on Saturday. Drat! Perils of age, I guess.
Friday, August 1, 2008
August 1, 2008
Ugghhh! Perils of age and inactivity! Praise the Lord and pass the ibuprofen! The praise is that I accomplished three Body Flow classes this week, along with some cardio workout and resistance training. More praise for excellent teachers in the classes. Still more praise for working the total body rather than just the legs or the flexibility, since the new release of Body Flow made me sore from my toes to the backs of my arms and everywhere in between. I am confident that the two weeks we spend doing this release will make me stronger and longer, as promised in the advertising.
Popping the ibuprofen before class began would have been smarter than taking it afterward. The old bones are screaming from so many extensions with legs crossed and in triangle pose. The abdominal track is grueling—squeezing heels together, pulsing arms with head raised off the floor, and even the stretching at the ends, well, stretches. Even the young women in the class mentioned their sore muscles as a result of last night’s class.
The worst pain from gain is in my lower back, however, and after doing two months of therapy for a slipped disc, this was probably a bad idea. I actually stopped participating in that track both last night and today. It is a well known fact, (well, I know it well.) that Grandmothers and Marmees should not participate in activities which send us to therapy. We buy too much ibuprofen as a direct result of injury and therapy, cause everybody knows that therapy is more painful than the original surgery or injury. We also must have more frequent appointments with stylists and manicurist/pedicurists as a result of therapy. All that repetitive movement in water simply destroys the nail polish and hair styles.I called to get an appointment for a hair cut and learned that my stylist is out with a broken wrist, two chipped teeth, and lacerations. These are a result of a bicycle accident, due to a malfunction with the bicycle. She’s a new Grandmother. I told you so! Don’t participate in that which results in physical therapy! Just don’t do it. I’ll pop the pills before BF class tomorrow—get ahead of the pain-gain train.