Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Rings and things

What are all of these crickets doing here? Oh dear, are they stuck in the cobwebs? No matter, we can share the space just the same. The following story wants to be here so that I can always remember it. You know how you always think "Oh, I could never forget this", and then life happens with a series of other things you are destined to remember, and eventually all of the words to the Glass Houses album are safely secured in your brain forcing some of those other once important things aside. I am happy that you are here with me...all five of you (yes, that might be an exaggeration at this point).

Today already had a lot going for it just by not being a Monday. I knew that my trip up to visit my grandmother was far from the sweet spot of bringing her down to the kitchen for lunch. Most likely I was going to arrive in prime napping time, and had no real goals beyond saying a quick hello. As I turned the corner, I saw some of my favorite "friends" gathered in one of the more homey seating areas. Wait! There was my grandmother sitting there with what one could call "the cool kids". She excitedly shouted my name and waved to me, scooching over to make room on the couch. I greeted everyone and sat down.

My grandmother was concerned about something, but it took me a few tries to get what the issue was. She was very concerned that her rings were not going to be ready in time for her trip home to Tupper Lake tomorrow. I went through the usual motions of scripts to ease her mind. Nell, one of the activity directors was nearby and offered her support as well. Apparently my grandmother was planning to get married tomorrow (hence the rings), and she was feeling that last minute stress that many brides feel. We talked about how the weather might not cooperate for her trip, but certainly everything would be fine. The woman sitting next to her was very concerned about catching her bus and expressed her annoyance that her husband (who I believe is no longer with us) hung around when she didn't want him to, but hadn't shown up today when she did want him. Nell and I offered reassurance to both situations, while exchanging knowing glances and smiles.

I got to visit with some of the other more conversational women about nothing in particular, just chit chat. It was lovely. Nell was painting some flowers on columns in the seating area that look simply incredible and add such cheer, as well as being fun to talk about. My grandmother was still bringing up her concerns about the rings, and where the rest of my clothes for the big day were, and continued to do so for almost a half hour. Somewhere along the line I found out that she hadn't napped at all yet, which is incredibly rare. I wondered if it was adding to her mild agitation. Despite saying she was tired, my grandmother would not accept my offer to bring her in for a nap. She was easy to convince that everything was going to be fine, and the rings would for sure be ready. The problem of course is that thirty seconds later, she would forget that I told her the rings would be ready. She asked me if weddings were always like this. I told her that it really is a lot to do, but it comes together.

I asked her who she was marrying, hoping with all of my heart to be treated to some anecdote about my late grandfather. However, she did not know who she was marrying (which seemed far more concerning to me than whether the rings would be ready, but I kept my mouth shut). We just kept going around, but what did it matter? I was in good company, feeling the warmth of the eighty degree thermostat as well as these additional lovely women who all were willing to share their smiles despite never remembering who I am. I asked one of my favorite little ladies where she was going at one point and she said "to find you" and came over to give me a little side hug. In the grand scheme of the best I could hope for in the situation we have found ourselves in, I was pretty sure this was it. And then...I smelled the freshly baked cookies. Next thing I knew, Margaret (another activity director) was coming through with her cart offering tea and cookies. Suddenly nobody was worried about catching buses or rings being ready thanks to the delicious distraction.

The next time my grandmother told me how tired she was, she was more accepting of the idea of going to lay down for a bit. As we walked to her room, she stopped and looked down at her pants. She said she was ashamed to wear that outfit to the wedding, but I assured her that her other outfit would be ready tomorrow as well. As I tucked her in, she asked me if everything was going to be ok. I responded "Yes, everything will be fine." I talked to the remarkable aides who would be caring for her for the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening, making sure they knew about the rings and wedding. "Everyone will make sure everything is fine."




Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Fernds

I had this friend, Fern. We liked to hang out in the shade together, as we both get a bit wilted and burnt in the afternoon sun. I tried to support Fern's notion of the more being merrier, but she did not respect my vision of everything having its place. She worked fiercely in her secret underground to build a network of roots to support her random offspring. I was lured in several times by those adorable little wound up curls, just waiting to fling themselves open with the same misguided enthusiasm as a party blower.

This year I tried harder to keep the invasion at bay. By that, I mean that I ripped out many a wandering juvenile threatening to dwarf or strangle my other perennial friends. They got the hint...or so I thought
Really, Fern? I can't even say I was mad though to be honest. I admired her strength. She hit a wall, for the most part, and persevered. It was unnecessary for her to invite friends...
...but who was I to judge such tenacity? My trips to and from the car started to alternate between varying levels of fascination, annoyance and concern for the security of our driveway.

I don't know if the people my husband hired to seal out driveway sat in a circle around Fern, having their own "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" moment; or whether she was plucked from her spot and flung aside without even a second thought.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I donut random

Once again, it's been a minute. I thought I would give you some time to reflect on life and some of its great mysteries, like...

...why, indeed? (And now we don't need to discuss how my glamorous customer service job is going, since I am obviously killing it.)
I feel you apples, I feel you! (Figuratively, of course.)
Were Bugles struggling for a niche market? Was being delicious just not enough? Are we sure olives are really in second place? 

Now you know I loves me some baked goods...
...but I prefer not to be intimidated when trying to purchase them...
...that's more like it! And speaking of donuts...
...and apple fritters! And bagels?!
Nope, that is a few days old donut that I toasted up. To infinity and beyond, indeed! Pancakes don't sound like autumn to you?
Try harder then! Binge!!!
This is downtown Syracuse and one of the sets for the movie, Binge. Kind of cool!
Fancy!
Looks like it is going to be some party
Oh, that reminds me that I ought to give you an update on Amandequin...she's been trying to find her way to fall fun as well!
She fell victim to some unfortunate cropping when we went apple picking...
...but you can check her out in her entirety on her instagram @Amandequin6

Sunday, September 15, 2019

It's in the answer

I have been holding onto this gem since July. I guess I was struggling with exactly what I wanted to say, or how to frame it. For a period of time I found myself getting slightly agitated when people on the fringe of my small inner circle asked how my grandmother was. How was I supposed to answer that question? Most often I would just respond that she was "fine," but that didn't really seem fair to either my grandmother or myself. It also wasn't necessarily fair to blame the person for asking. Eventually I came around to accept that my discomfort at answering someone's question did not mean that the inquiry was flawed.

How is my grandmother? Well for starters, much of the time she is not my grandmother. For those of you who have met dementia, this probably resonates, but for anyone else, I would like to explain. I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about the long goodbye that has taken place, because that is sad, goes without saying, and not my point. When we show up to visit, the best we hope for is that she seems content and comfortable. There are still sparks of my grandmother's personality that come through from time to time. I do still feel her love, whether it is in the smile as she recognizes me or when she rubs my arm or puts her head on my shoulder. When she complains about the look on a fellow resident's face or offers other critiques, I know she's still holding on to pieces of herself. She still manages to teach me things, like finding a patience I never knew I had. The time we spend together is very different than it was, but still has its bright spots. Sometimes I don't recognize them right away.

My grandmother had just commented on how I should get married. I told her I was married. She asked how old I was, and when I responded "49," she said "That's older than me," and I thought maybe what followed would be worth recording. I think this may best answer the question, "How's your grandmother?"

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Fairly ridiculous

Oh hey! How have you been? Thanks for stopping by to check on me. What, that's not why you're here? You came for cake? Well apparently that third egg the recipe on the box calls for is vital...
...or it crumbles more than a cookie...
...and we ate it anyway.
Then again, we do not have very discriminating taste, as evidenced by this year's trip to The Fair...
...where three rights most certainly might make a wrong. We decided the photo was not even appealing. A few members of our squad this year had Milky Buns for breakfast, and while this treat may look appropriate for morning, being a donut sprinkled with cereal and all...
...but, it was filled with ice cream. There were other breakfast options, of course, but my son went with the "sudden death" for lunch...
...not appropriate for any time of day really. I will admit that this one did pretty much look as advertised...
...a package of delight, gift wrapped in bacon. I do like the checkered flag paper...
...as if to suggest this meal is for winners? Sure. The review, discussed over some blooming onion petals, was that it was salty. Maybe it just needed some maple cotton candy...
...followed by deep fried Oreos that this friend was willing to share...
...(Those grease spots on the bag?! Yikes!) Wash it down with some milk!
(Clutching that maple cotton candy for dear life)
Thanks cows!
Obligatory butter sculpture photo...
Thanks again cows!
We did draw the line somewhere...
...nope. We were off to see the Wizard...
...and flying monkeys...
...who I thought were flinging sand poo, but the kids pointed out they they were supposed to be apples from the tree. I am still not convinced.

Hope you are having a good week...
...and sharing your snacks!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Randomosity

To begin, let me give you the glads...
...now I will show you the love...
...you see the heart in that lake "greenery", right? 

Now a reminder to show your felines some love...
...but make sure to follow the directions...
...and be sure to know what kind of cat you are dealing with.

Meanwhile, in the back yard, the birds are up to no good (and are obviously friends of the barn swallows)...
...just digging some holes to fluff themselves in. Dirt baths? Are you kidding me?!?! I clearly can't count on Amandequin to be an effective scarecrow...
...She's too busy feeding a woodpecker...AS ONE DOES! 

I think in this case, two out of three might actually be bad...

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Random intermission

I just remembered that it’s actually Wednesday, which may be a date late for random, but now we are closer to the weekend! Get yourself a treat to celebrate...live on the edge and try a s’more made with a peanut butter cup!