Random Acts of "Kindness"

SHAVED

I’ll admit that I knew better. I knew if you are using a mandolin for slicing vegetables, it was VERY IMPORTANT to use the food guard. I knew my daughter had severely cut her finger because she didn’t use the guard. I TRIED! I really did. I couldn’t fit the potato into the guard. I couldn’t make it stay attached. I thought if I was VERY CAREFUL I would be able to safely slice the potatoes. I WAS WRONG!

The first thing that alerted me to the problem was BLOOD! LOTS OF BLOOD! I couldn’t make it stop. I wound a paper towel around my finger and used a rubberband to keep it in place. That didn’t work very well. I tried to put a band aid on it. I raised my hand over my head and kept it there. I ran it under cold water. It kept bleeding. Finally my husband woke and came to my aid. We wrapped my finger in lots of gauze and tape.

Perhaps I should mention that I cut my right thumb, just under the tip. Do you know how often you use your thumb? Since I’m right handed, I use my right thumb a lot. It wasn’t very long before the bandage was completely soaked with blood. I wondered if I needed stitches to stop the bleeding. I finished cutting the potatoes manually and finished assembling the meal in the crock pot. I managed to keep any traces of blood out of the food.

My husband replaced the wrapping on my finger a second time. It almost stayed on for the rest of the day. It looked like my finger was wearing an armor. Since the cut was at the top, my husband wrapped the entire finger in bandaging. Doing dishes that evening, the wrapping fell off and the bleeding continued or started again. I thought I had a deep cut. I didn’t know that I had sliced off a layer.

I went to the store and bought more supplies. He wrapped my finger up again. This time I was more carefully and the armor stayed on until evening. This time when it came off, I found a bandage to cover it. Then I found a plastic glove to cover my whole hand. Thankfully the bleeding had stopped for the most part. I will admit that I replaced bandage and glove for the next few days. I went shopping for food and was careless. Not only did I forget bandaids, I forgot a plastic glove. I asked a woman sampling food if I could have one of hers. Thankfully she had one I could use.

That is when I learned I had shaved off a few layers of skin. We went to the camper and I wanted to go in the water. I had to keep the water out of the injured area. I tried a liquid bandage. IT WORKED!

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BITS AND PIECES

BITS AND PIECES

I have learned that it is helpful if I write myself notes. During the summer when we travel back and forth from the city to the country I never remember what supplies I have on hand at either place. I have to admit that I’m better at noting the food and supplies at the camper than at home. It helps for packing.

Since I’m determined to do more cooking at the camper this summer, I brought many of the spices that were called for in the recipes I planned to try. Finding a container to store the spices in and making TWO lists has been helpful. One list is in the container, the other travels with me. I also have to admit that spices hid, and I now have extras.

After the winter, I discovered that some changes I made during the last summer have skipped my memory. I brought painting supplies out to the camper, but it was only AFTER I bought new sketch books for my grandchildren that I found a container with colored pencils, water color pencils and sketch books hiding in a closet.

I recently pulled down a box that contained a cooking appliance that completely slipped my memory. I must have bought it when we traveled in the motor home. It is designed for cooking for two — omelets, steaks, sandwiches, even pizza. It not only has directions, cooking pans and a cook book. I must admit that it is repacked. Will I use it this year? Will I donate it? Good questions — no answers.

I remembered that we had a motorized air pump. I knew where it had rested, I didn’t know where it had moved. UNTIL I decided to pack afghans away in a tub. Surprise — the tub contained not only the missing pump but also the missing inflatable mattress.

When I moved a cookie sheet and a wooden cutting board that I use for cleaning fish, I wrote a note and put it on the frig. That was a few years ago. The note is still there but every Spring I look for the cookie sheet and find my note.

Our house is much bigger than the camper. Just think of all the things that are waiting to be discovered. It doesn’t help that over the years I have been involved in many crafts and have the supplies needed for each. Maybe this Fall and Winter I will explore the nooks and crannies in the house.

NORMAL DAY

It started early, too early. Sadly I have not been able to sleep more than five, six hours each night. I used to be able to sleep for eight hours, wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day. But that seems to be a long time ago. Why it changed, I don’t know. Some of it was because I listened for my father when he had Alzheimer’s disease but that was 25 years ago. Has it really been that long since I was able to sleep deeply? And time passes.

I usually open the Bible and Queen of Angels in the morning. The Bible opened to the introduction of Sirach,, Queen of Angels opened to the empty page after Angels as Playmates and Confidants. Interesting!

After spending many days in the country we were back in town. Besides laundry, our plans included shopping — the temperature was predicted to be in the 90’s for too many days. I needed supplies in the house so I could cook, AVOID the heat, the crowds, the stores.

First stop — Half Price Books. Our son had books to donate — we were happy to help. My husband found three books from an author he enjoys. I found FROM JUNK FOOD TO JOY FOOD by Joy Bauer. Hopefully the recipes will help my never ending battle to lose a few pounds. Paging through the book, I found many recipes that might help. I have a couple of her other books and have found the recipes flavorful.

On ward and up ward, store after store after store. We ended at Wal-Mart. I have found the super store carries many of the food supplies that I use. While I picked up food supplies, my husband wandered through electronics and automotive. Heading for the bathroom at the back of the store, I saw my husband talking to an employee. He was glad I came by so he could leave.

The woman he was talking to shared her recent experiences. Her house had been on fire and it took more than three months before they were able to get back inside. Water damage had caused mold, requiring massive repairs. My husband shared the information that I had been in a fire when I was young. And the conversation jumped from topic to topic. She was amazed at the number of similarities we shared. Not only the experience with fire, but also a parent with Alzheimer’s and my writing of three books and a blog. She planned to write but many of her notebooks had been destroyed by the fire.

When we returned home, I shared our day with our daughter. It was from her that I got the title of this thought ramble. She told me, “Mom, you had a “normal day”. Most of your days are like that. Thinking about it — she’s right.

CLIPPED WINGS

I had plans. They weren’t big plans or expensive plans. We were going to the country for almost a month. I planned to try to lose weight. I planned to exercise in the water almost every day. I planned to increase the number of steps — walk the short nature trail, add the trails I used to walk before my knees became a problem. I planned to do many meals in our crock pot — not only to save money but to control the amount of sodium I was eating.

God must have laughed. MY PLAN — did I consult to make sure my plans were agreeable? NO! I DID NOT! My plans quickly disappeared. Our first week, Robin and I walked the short version of the nature trail. I planned to increase the length the next week. I went to water exercise and maybe worked my legs too much. I made a pot of ham and beans in the slow cooker. My husband invited friends to help us eat it. Too high in sodium for me because of the ham but it was delicious! The temperature forecast was for 90. We went out for breakfast but I only ordered one egg, potatoes and rye toast. NOT WHAT I WANTED — I was watching sodium.

Returning to the car from shopping at the store — I pulled the hamstring at the back of my right knee. I don’t know what I did. I only know it HURT! ALL OF MY PLANS QUICKLY CHANGED. It hurt to sit down. In order to get back up — I had to have support to pull myself up. Thankfully supper was ready — in the crock pot. Even going to the bathroom was interesting. I couldn’t sit down. Thankfully the next day the swelling decreased enough so that I could sit in the bathroom.

I DO NOT MAKE A GOOD INVALID. My grandkids were at the campground — they were going to the pool. Sadly I decided to stay put, keep the leg up. It was hard to ice the leg since the pulled muscle was behind the knee. I finally put a bag of frozen vegetables on the chair and placed my leg on top. SUCCESS!

Having planned meals for the slow cooker — meal preparation was easier. I had the ingredients on hand. Thankfully my husband liked all the new recipes. So did our friends.

After almost two weeks — my leg is better — I have only gone to water exercise once. Doing too much — stressed the muscle. I have finally driven the car — but not the scooter. I have to remember to put my butt in the car, then add the legs. I still CAN NOT get up unaided. Our oldest daughter suggested I do Tia Chi — It is gentle stretching. Is it helping? I don’t know. But not hurting! I have walked the short nature trail — picked ripe blackcaps on the way.

I thought it would be EASY to fix a pulled seam on my husband’s shorts. It should have been. It should have taken me one half hour tops, including taking out the sewing machine and setting it up. The reality was that it took more than three hours. During that time I had to call on my husband two times for HELP!

Okay, first I’ll admit that I haven’t used the sewing machine in years. To tell the truth, I don’t remember how many years it has been since I last used it. I made Christmas presents — not sure which present it was. I used to use the machine often — square dance clothes, Halloween costumes, tote bags. It was my friend. Together we accomplished many things. The memories of those times kept me trying to get the machine to work right.

First the pressure foot didn’t seem to hold the material. I thought the machine might need to be oiled — first call to my husband. He knows how to oil machines. Thankfully we had oil that would work. I still had the instruction book that showed which parts needed to be oiled. A little bit of oil and the pressure foot held the fabric and moved it through. SUCCESS!

For a minute. Then a needle broke. I FOUND a new needle! The instruction book showed the steps for threading the machine. The newly threaded machine broke the thread. MANY TIMES! I could NOT figure out what I was doing wrong. Time passed. It had been a rainy day, then the sun came out. Opportunity’s to go out — Rib Fest — Blues Fest — beckoned.

EXCEPT — Have I mentioned that I’m stubborn. I did not want to put the machine away in pieces or not working right. I DID NOT WANT TO GIVE UP. Time passed. The thread traveled through the machine the way it was supposed to. Then the bobbin thread started to bunch up and tangle. I didn’t do anything to the bobbin thread! WHY? Taking the bobbin assembly out of the machine has NEVER been easy for me! SOME THINGS DON’T CHANGE.

Finally — machine back together, I adjusted the stitch length and it WORKED! Fixed my husbands shorts, fixed a pair of my own, and a blouse and a rain coat. SUCCESS! Of course it was too late to go out and play. Truth be told — my legs were sore from the day before. I had such an enjoyable time at the Blues Fest — there was no way I could repeat it.

I was able to put my friend — the machine — away in good condition. I always acknowledge that “I have friends in high places.” Evidently it was best for me to stay home and they “helped!”

MADE MY DAY

I suppose it is no secret that I LOVE MUSIC . Even though Chicago has hosted the Blues Festival for 35 years — most of the early years was held without me. My husband DOES NOT LIKE CROWDS. He does not LIKE to go downtown so for the many years when we were raising our family, I didn’t go to any of the festivals in Chicago. One year I came to the realization that I could go by MYSELF. And so I did. And I continue to go by myself when we are in town. Sometimes he will go with me but not often.

We were scheduled to be in town for the 35th Blues Fest. Recently it moved from Grant Park to Millenium Park. Exact reasoning is yet to be determined but the city is able to provide more security for the event. In this day and age that is not a bad thing. In town — I planned to go. Rain was predicted for the Festival but I thought that if I wore a raincoat and limited the stuff I was carrying, I would be alright.

I noticed that the Festival was honoring Bob Koester for the 65 years that his record company, Delmark records, played an important part in the blues and jazz of the city. The Koester family lived down the street and around the corner from us. My middle daughter babysat for his children, my youngest daughter was good friends with their daughter. I stopped at the Delmark both to inquire. I learned that the entire family was present. BUT WHERE? Millenium Park was a smaller place, but thousands of people attended the Blues Fest.

I stopped at Southwest airlines to spin the prize wheel and won a canvas tote. I stopped by the stairs to reorganize stuff. The gentleman that I just talked to at Delmark records walked by. He asked if he had just talked to me. When I said he had, he told me where Sue, Katie and children where. I didn’t waste any time — they were sitting by a table at the restaurant. I had no idea who I was looking for so I looked for children. I asked a young mother if she was Katie AND SHE WAS! Happy — understatement! I phoned both of my younger daughters and they ANSWERED their phones. They both got a chance to talk with Katie. Made all of our days!

I enjoyed the music but I was HUNGRY. I hadn’t brought enough stuff to eat. I decided to find McDonald’s since I knew I could control the sodium level. If I turned right after leaving the park, McDonald’s would have been right there. Instead I turned left and walked FOREVER. After getting something to eat, I decided to keep walking over to State street. I knew there was an elevator by the Library stop. An elderly couple looked confused, I asked if I could help. Easy, they wanted the Red Line — subway train that was on the block we were on. At the Library, I made it up to the mezzanine — connecting platform between North bound and Southbound trains when I encountered a man who also needed help. No one there to help him find the Blue Line. Taking a couple of minutes to think, I was able to give him directions.

Frosting on the cake!

HI BROTHER

I noticed this morning that I needed one more thought ramble to have something scheduled to publish for the full month of June. Hopefully we will be going to the camper where internet access while available is not as convenient. My recent experience with the heat doesn’t give me much hope for brain function.

As most of you know, when I was four, my mother and brother passed over because of a fire. Did I pass over too and be sent back? Does it matter? If I had any unusual talents at the time — in the late 40’s and 50’s, having extra talents was not safe. So I hid them and they disappeared.

Slowly some talents are surfacing, I’m sure why, maybe because of “help from my friends.” I have a job to do.

The day before my brother’s birthday, a phone call to my daughter ended in the middle of a conversation THREE times. The day of his birthday, before we left for the camper I NOTICED six iris where in bloom in the back yard. I successfully took a picture with the I pad and posted it on MESSENGER to share with my family. (I’m not skilled doing that.) I have a note that mention’s MAJOR HELP but I didn’t go into details. Sadly, I often neglect to write things down. Maybe it is a good thing I do thought rambles on a regular basis.

Are you AWARE? Has writing about some of my experiences “helped” you? What am I going on and on about? Is there a reason?

YES! This morning before going to Mass, I took Robin for her morning walk. Blue skies — not a cloud anywhere. We had a heavy rain during the night but all the clouds had moved on. Slightly chilly. I had on a light jacket that has a hood. Walking under a fully leafed oak tree, I received a shower. So heavy was the water, I raised the hood of my jacket. “Hi Brother.”

I really don’t know if he was the cause BUT who but a younger brother would tease his sister? I have MANY friends in high places, but only one brother!

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