Random Acts of "Kindness"

QUEST

I love Christmas. I love decorating the house — over the years we have had garlands hanging from many places. Our tree has so many ornaments it is hard to see the branches. Garlands with lights wind their way up our stairs. I added garlands to our front porch., wreaths to both our front and back porches. I added ornaments to the back yard.

Christmas for me is more than presents. We have always had limited funds so my purchasing reflects that. I have made many presents over the years. Since I like to bake, cookies have also become gifts.

Since my husbands passing, I’m not sure how much I’ll be doing this year. We have a Thanksgiving Memorial tree up. Our granddaughter and our Great did most of the decorating. Many angels are on our tree. After my father passed, I had a dream in which I was a pilot for the Blue Angels. I DID NOT SHARE MY DREAM. That year, for Christmas I received THREE SETS OF ANGELS from our children. The next year, there was a skirmish between my newest angels and the set of 6 small angels I bought when I was in high school. I gave my granddaughter the story of Wings to read in my book Journey With Me before asking her to place the small angels at the top of the trip. She wanted to know if I was setting her up, they had already hung some angels on the tree. I told her she was safe — I HADN’T PUT ANY ANGELS UP.

Since that day, I have added many of our angels to the tree. I remember not only friends but many of our cats and dogs. I have many ornaments from the travels with my husband. I already had an ornament celebrating his fishing. I NEEDED AN ANGEL — for him.

Therefore the QUEST. I DID NOT access the internet. In fact, although I mentioned my quest to my children, I didn’t ask them to find something for me. I attended the German Market downtown but no ornament called his name. A few years ago he had purchased a lovely red bird for me. I already had an owl.

A few years ago he renewed his love of ham radio, that was an option. Another option was an old car. He had a 1964 Lincoln Capri that was being restored. We already had an ornament celebrating a motor home that we lost in the tornado. Then I remembered the motorcycles. I went to Las Vegas for work and bought a Harley Davis miniature for him. Advancing age had convinced him to sell his bike but an a good day he still wanted to ride. Our son said his Dad was out riding a bike in heaven. And I found a green Hog for him. Is it a Harley? Does it matter?

I don’t know how much decorating I will do this year. I think I have decided to put the lights on the porch and possibly up the stairs in the house. I’ve decided that I will make a few of our favorite cookies. I haven’t put all the ornaments on the tree. Nor have I bought Christmas cards.

Since I rediscovered my thought ramble Learning The Ropes, I have changed the name of my “friends in high places” to my spirit team. I have NO IDEA who is helping me at any given moment. And I WELCOME THE HELP!

I planned to write a new thought ramble and thought of the title Learning The Ropes. I saw that it had already been used. So I read it. It deserves to be reprinted. The fun I had when my friend passed deserves to be shared again. My husband has joined my team on the other side. My husband was involved with ham radios. My CD player WOULD NOT play a CD I chose. When I was able to listen to it, I understood why. That same day I was NOT ABLE to change the TV to a program I wanted to watch. Giving up, I went out to fax a copy of his death certificate. Returning home — I was able to change the TV to that station. I won’t bore you with all the FUN I’m having. This Saturday we are gathering to celebrate my husband’s life with music, stories and fun. More than four days since he has passed, he has learned the ropes. LET THE FUN BEGIN.
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Mischief is afoot. I would raise the white flag but I know it won’t do any good. It took me awhile to become aware that someone was in training. But I’m a bit slow at times. Christmas is coming and my life will be busy. Not necessarily with parties and celebrations but baking and decorating the house seems to take more time and effort than it used to. I refuse to admit that it is because I’m heavier and older. I can’t do anything about being older but wouldn’t you think I’d be able to do something about the weight? I needed a few ideas to write a ramble about so they would publish during the time I was occupied with Christmas. My friends in high places are happy to oblige.

Anyway back to training. My friend Dorothy passed on Tuesday. My favorite knife DISAPPEARED on Wednesday morning. I have searched and searched without success. I remember putting it in its holder on the sink — GONE! I think life was relatively calm from Wednesday to Sunday but then my memory isn’t what it used to be. I know I should keep notes of the happening in my life but I don’t unless my attention is drawn to a happening — like my knife disappearing.

Saturday we celebrated Dorothy’s life. Sunday got my attention. Did she have time to rest, visit with those on the other side and was now ready to expand her knowledge. I don’t know but Sunday got my attention. It started with my husband’s poker game floating face down in the toilet. When did it go for a swim? Good question. I went to Mass and let the rest of the household sleep. I walked and it started to rain as I entered church. The gospel was the same as the reading at the service on Saturday. Our music director was late and a cantor with an excellent voice lead us in song.

On the home front, my husband’s day was interesting. Vitamins and pills had a life of their own — falling on the floor and spreading around the desk. He mentioned other happenings but I don’t remember. We decided we should take life easy and go out for breakfast. The restaurant was so packed we left for another place. Everybody must have been out for breakfast, finding a parking spot at the restaurants was impossible. I won’t bore you with the search just let me say five restaurants later we finally stopped to eat. Thankfully the food was very good.

Returning home, I wanted a cup of tea. Eight boxes of tea cascaded out of the cabinet all over the floor. I often switch to herbal teas early in the day and I have an assortment. I was reminded of all the flavors as I picked up the boxes and tried to get them settled again. Sometimes one or two boxes will fall — as if someone is helping me with the choice — but eight??

I wrote CELEBRATING A LIFE. Evidently some of my writing didn’t pass — the computer refused to save it. I deleted and changed a few thoughts. The ramble was saved!

I wanted to print something off of the computer and used the computer in my husband’s office. Trouble, trouble again. The computer had issues, when it finally let me access my e-mails — they were all gone. I was reminded of the fun my family experienced after my father passed and was learning how to mess with electronics the day of his wake. Our son and our daughter’s boyfriend each had different computer issues on that day.

Four days to visit and rest — that is about right.

STILL HONORING THE MAN

I knew my husband was a man of honor. This morning I opened the bible to Job 30. Normally I DON’T LIKE to open to Job. It usually alerts me to rough water. Today was different. “I wore my honesty like a garment.” Christian song early morning reminded me that I am loved. I am extremely fortunate in many ways. Our son moved home more than eight years ago to help his parents. I am not alone in the house. Yesterday it SNOWED. More than 3″. He took care of the steps and the sidewalk. I had started on the steps with a broom — only to quickly discover that there was too much snow on the steps already. I had planned to go to a Veteran ceremony but the snow changed my plans.

My husband enjoyed helping others. He was quick to give away stuff he was no longer using. I’m sure he is happy that the insulin he no longer needed has been given to a couple of people whose finances made getting insulin difficult. His clothes are also going to a couple of out reach places.

I have over 30 photo albums and piles of photos that never made it into an album. I found an album that I had put together using a photo service. I planned to send it to one of my husband’s sisters until I looked at it closely. I made the album when my husband and I returned from a trip back to his home in Maryland. We visited with three of his sisters, enjoyed a visit with his childhood friend and experienced more than a foot of snow arriving on the day we were scheduled to come back home. The pages are full of my memories of the trip. Since it was one of our last trips together, going through the pages with my notes — “A fellow at breakfast told stories of bear hunting. I was concerned that we would be in that area. The fellow told me not to worry. A note on one of the pages not only told the short story, but mentioned the bear hunting checkpoint sign.”

I’ve mentioned that I’m aware that I walk to a different drummer. I’m aware that I receive “help” from my “friends in high places.” I was wondering why I hadn’t noticed “help” from my husband. Sorrow does strange things. This morning I not only remembered my daughter needing a new battery in her car before she returned home. She had used her car with NO PROBLEMS taking her father back and forth to the doctors. She had moved her car in front of the house to make packing easier. She learned a new battery was needed when she planned to leave.

I’m an early riser, soon after my husband passed, I took my pens and books and calendars into the kitchen closing the door to not wake those who were sleeping downstairs. When I went to retrieve my pens they were gone. I remembered I had pens in a valentine box given to me by a dear friend. Opening the box, I found a red silk pouch containing a message. “This represents a: Life, b: Endurance, c: Hope, d: and Change.” It had a drawing of a butterfly and a personal note that I’ll keep private. It accompanied a butterfly magnetic pin. Last present and note I received from a special man.

HONORING THE MAN

It is with great sadness that I share the news that my husband of more than 55 years has passed over to the other side. We learned in September that he had pneumonia, then the mass in his lung was small cell cancer. He survived time in the hospital, kept his humor and quality of life. Chemo and having to wear oxygen began to take its toll. He did not like to wear the oxygen. He did not want to be a burden on me. He did not like the sore throat. He did not like that it hurt to eat. His favorite food became oatmeal with lots of butter, potato soup with lots of butter and chicken noodle soup with LOTS OF BUTTER A friend shared that her sister with cancer liked POTATO SOUP WITH LOTS OF BUTTER.

We applied for and received a handicapped parking placard. We submitted a form for handicapped parking. HE DID NOT NEED EITHER.

Although his body was responding to the chemo, masses were shrinking in his lungs, other parts of his body said this is enough. He passed over in the hospital at 1:18 in the morning. Both my son and daughter were there. They are having trouble sleeping in the one o’clock hour. Nights can be difficult. It depends on the track m y mind wants to take.

At first I was ANGRY. “Why did you leave me?” Then I realized I was being selfish. He DID NOT WANT to be handicapped. HE DID NOT WANT to be a burden on me. HE DID NOT WANT TO have to wear oxygen.

These thoughts and more in the same vein have helped during this time of “PROCESS.” Many things have been delayed. I’m not going to list them. I have been aware of “help” from the other side for many years. Now my husband has joined the team. Is he adding to the merriment. It is hard to tell. The Saturday when our daughter was heading back home, her car wouldn’t start. Although she used her car for trips to the hospital with out any troubles, she NEEDED A NEW BATTERY.

Cell phones and computers have a life of their own. Slowly, very slowly, I’m taking care of business. I’m dotting the i’s and crossing the “t’s”. And tomorrow will be another day.

FITTING

FITTING

I had to pull out my laptop to take care of a couple of challenges. Since the computer was out, I decided to look for something to republish. This article from last year is still so very true. I have been trying to clear a space in the small room off our bedroom so my husband could sit safely in a chair when he is sleeping. It is easier for him to breath sitting up.

Oh the treasures I have found. Hidden in a black bag was a beautiful knitted project, lovely blue shaded yarn, with safety pins attached to each. loop. ??? I had NO IDEA. What was I making? Thankfully I also found a picture nearby with instructions. WHY DID I STOP? Good questions. No answers.

I’m sure there are more challenges ahead.
ABSENT MINDED

I have noticed that my memory isn’t as good as it was when I was younger. Either the cracks are getting bigger or more stuff is falling through. I’m in trouble when it comes to money — paying bills, remembering to write down debit charges, etc. I panicked recently when I discovered that I forgot to deduct our insurance from the checkbook. Luckily we had the money in there to cover it.

Balancing the checkbook is always a chore. I have money hidden to cover small mistakes. Recently I had to use some of it and the new balance didn’t reflect the subtraction. I didn’t believe the new amount. Thankfully this month the balance is more in line to what I thought it was.

I’m sure I don’t need to mention all the times I lose my glasses or my cell phone. When I misplace money it is even worse. I write myself notes to help me remember where I have put stuff. Especially if it is something I don’t use regularly. I always remember the old place not the new one.

Thankfully I have “friends in high places.” I don’t depend on them but I’ll yell for “help” if I feel the need.
And often they help when asked or when they know I need it.

Yesterday — I planned to heat water in the tea kettle for tea. The burner wouldn’t light. As a matter of fact, NONE of the burners on the stove would light. I asked my husband to work magic and fix it. Before he did, I asked my husband if he wanted to go out for breakfast. We don’t go out often but it just felt like something to do. I even decided to put on a long dress. I seldom wear a skirt or a dress not to mention a long one. I even put on earrings. Most unusual!

We went out for breakfast and on the way to a hardware store our youngest daughter phoned. “Happy anniversary to you” she sang. WHAT? She was right! It was our wedding anniversary. Both my husband and I had forgotten.

Dressed up — out for breakfast — someone in high places had remembered and HELPED.

Just a note: That evening ALL of the burners on the stove lit.

THEY ARE BACK

THEY ARE BACK

I DID NOT MISS them. A while ago it dawned on me that I hadn’t had a hot flash in a LONG time. Maybe they thought I missed them. I DIDN’T. Days passed and my birthday rolled around. Accomplishment. I’m 75. The day of my birthday I didn’t feel like celebrating. My husband has lung cancer. He had his first chemo treatment and handled it as well as could be expected. He is on oxygen. Climbing the stairs to our bedroom was too much hard work. I DID NOT feel like celebrating.

A few days later, I noticed that my hair was wet, so was my shirt. I changed clothes and did not pay any attention. Until it happened again, and again, and AGAIN. I finally realized what was going on. HOT FLASHES were back. Is this supposed to make me feel younger? It doesn’t!

One flash a day is bad enough. Yesterday I changed my shirt THREE times. Each time my top was VERY damp. I DO NOT like damp clothes. The last thing I need right now is to get sick myself. Just what I need — more stress.

My husband has made some progress. He was able to climb the stairs and sleep in our bedroom. Two or three days of progress. Then various things have sent progress in the wrong direction.

I’d like to apologize for not having anything publish last week. Sadly that might be the first of many times that I miss publishing a thought ramble.

I don’t like to share all my frustration and worries on paper. Some one suggested that if I wrote, I might feel better. “My friends in high places” are always ready to help. One of my words for today was adversity. Not what I wanted to hear or read. The bible opened to more fighting. I didn’t read the chapter. Oatmeal that I was making for breakfast ran out of water and needed another 10 minutes to soften. My blood pressure pills escaped from their pill box and hid on the floor. The computer that I’m using developed a black screen. SCARING ME! One of the plugs for the connection had loosened and I ran out of battery. At least it was an easy fix.

AGING AGAIN

AGING AGAIN

This past week flew by. TIME did NOT stand still. Instead it disappeared in a blink of an eye. More important things took the place of normal life. Days disappeared. Suddenly it was the weekend and although I might have thought about writing, that thought quickly disappeared.

I must admit that I have no idea when this was published. Sadly I haven’t put the date on anything I’ve written. . Somehow I don’t see that changing. I have added another year to my age. I wish I could announce that I have done this exercise numerous times and my flexibility has GREATLY IMPROVED. I don’t like to lie. Sadly the DVD was lost . Although I searched and searched, it stayed hidden until recently. Now with the current health challenge, I’m not sure it will fit into my current schedule. I was SURPRISED to learn how high my blood pressure had risen. I thought I was handling the STRESS, evidently I was WRONG.
AGING BACKWARDS

I was intrigued when I learned of the DVD. I was very happy when the person who told me about it, followed up with an email with the correct title and presenter. Instead of debating for weeks, I searched, found and ordered right away. In fact, it arrived before we went back out to the camper. It traveled with me. And I actually opened it and tried out the first exercise before we even left.

It was a good thing that I did. Exercise clothes that I previously been able to wear were impossible to remove. My shoulders have tightened up, as well as other body parts. Since I had advanced warning, I was able to bring clothes to exercise in.

The exercises are extremely gentle. I have trouble getting down on the floor. The first time I did the floor work, I sat on the couch. I have since been able to get down onto the floor, getting up is still a major problem. My knees don’t want to support my weight. My right leg doesn’t bend like it used to. I’m guessing that the stiffness in my body contributes to my feeling of being old. I’m hoping that as I become more flexible, that feeling will pass.

Each time I have done the exercises – one compete set is for muscles, the second for bones and uses a chair for bar work — that night various body parts protest that I moved them. I have done the complete series 6 times now. Either I’m trying harder or working more of my body parts because various muscles let me know they I worked them. I’m hoping that getting up from a chair will be easier, as well as getting out of a car. “My friends” are very happy that I’m moving. So far I do two sets, one for muscles, the next day one for bones and I’m allowed to take the next day off. We will see how long this lasts.

This is the beginners set. We will have to see if the powers that be decide I need a more advanced set. I would really like to be able to get up from the floor unaided and out of a chair. I would like to use the reclining chairs at the pool. Of course, I would like my knees to work like they used to and be able to take my clothes off, UNAIDED!

AGING BACKWARDS — I’m ready!

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