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.
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.
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.
Walking Robin in the early morning in the country, I had a unusual experience. The morning was cool, I needed a jacket. I felt like I had stepped back in time to a morning when our children were small. I was trying to cook breakfast on a two burner propane stove outside of our apache pop up camper in the country. I wasn’t skilled. It took me a long time to make breakfast. Just for a short moment I felt I was there.
Later in the day, I had a similar experience. Years later, I was preparing to can green beans or tomatoes. Standing at the stove, pressure cannier ready, jars ready for filling. Caps and tops in hot water. I still have ALL my equipment — pressure canneries, jars, caps. I’m not quite ready to get rid of them.
I have read of people who have had similar experiences. Normally these are not a part of my life. Remembering, I often think of various experiences but I don’t feel as if I am experiencing them again. One was unusual. Two — I can’t comment. I think I was puzzled but not scared.
I NEVER felt my age, to be honest, I didn’t remember how old I was. Sadly time has changed that. I don’t know if it is because of the trouble I’m having with my joints and other body parts. I don’t if it because of my weight. Many articles are currently appearing on the benefits of a vegetarian diet. I’m happy for those who are able to do that. I like most vegetables and enjoy some vegetarian dishes. I have learned that my body NEEDS MEAT! After my children were born, I requested Italian Beef sandwiches.
I recently fell. Thankfully I didn’t break anything. I might have stressed certain body parts. They are making their presence known. We had a small, personal table on our deck. I was placing a dogs collar on it when it collapsed, putting me off balance. After a few forward steps, I collapsed, face down. I didn’t break anything. THANK YOU, LORD.
Since my fall I’m craving beef. Hamburger, steak — doesn’t matter. Evidently there is something in the beef that my body NEEDS. I have had pork, chicken, cheese and beans. Plenty of protein. Doesn’t matter. I’m reminded of the commercial “Where’s the Beef”.
Our oldest daughter challenged the family to spend five minutes each day drawing. She discovered an APP that provides a new subject for a drawing each day. Slowly the members of my family have signed up to play.
I probably helped when I shared a tidbit from Woman’s World that reported from the journal Neurology that woman who create art stimulate their brain cells, making them 79% less likely to develop degenerative brain disease such as dementia. Since my father had Alzheimer’s disease, keeping my brain active is very important to me. I’m already experiencing some forgetfulness. Words like to hide when I want to use them.
When I signed up, I didn’t know I would need a user name. Brain froze, couldn’t think of anything interesting or creative. Evidently as with this Blog, it was something I was supposed to do. Name was accepted.
I didn’t know that I could paint until I was in my 40’s. The campground provided an opportunity to paint — bring your body, they would provide instruction and supplies. I DID, I was so impressed by my painting, I was hooked. For years I put oil paint on canvas, exploring the world. I ran out of wall space, and my husband developed breathing problems. I stopped.
My family has been pestering me to start painting again. I’m trying acrylics which doesn’t leave an odor. It dries quickly. I have not finished many paintings. Subjects have been hiding. My imagination is asleep. I WAS NEVER GOOD AT DRAWING! A group in the country gets together to paint, but it has been raining and we have been in the city.
New challenge. I have looked at sketches submitted by my children and grandchildren and am impressed. Of course, my ability to sketch might improve if I practice. My daughters have reminded me that they have been practicing for YEARS.
Today’s theme was Magical. Magic to me is a baby. I tried to sketch a child — definitely nothing to write home about. I decided to submit it anyway. After I did, I received an award for my first sketch. I couldn’t pick out the subject. It was just a rectangle of color. I chose the colors I liked the best. I was surprised when the image surfaced of a black cat.
When my granddaughter was at St. Joseph hospital because of her headaches, I told her we should compose a story about an Amazon Warrior who used her strength to battle the headaches and thunder boomers. I don’t know if that idea ever really became a story. While she was in the hospital I gave her the puppets I had acquired for her birthday — a Unicorn and a Pegasus. Unable to visit on her birthday because of her headaches, the idea for a story became a painting.
I will be the first to admit that I do not have the ability to draw. I needed a female warrior, a stick figure would not work. I tried to draw the image, it turned out better than I expected. Now I will admit that I petitioned everyone on my “spirit team” for help. I tried to draw a unicorn — the image had no relationship to the being I was trying to draw. I tried to draw a shield with limited success.
I hoped that paint would improve my drawing ability and drew a new image on a canvas board. I decided to put in a mountain with storm clouds leaving followed by blue skies with wispy white clouds. The sky, the clouds, the mountain became the image that I wanted. The female on the other hand, became a challenge. First I decided that she needed to move back on the canvas. She was too close to the front. I finally was able to improve on the image so that I had a female warrior, standing tall, ready to take on the world. The shield was another matter. I realized I had no idea what a shield looked like, let alone where to place it or paint it.
The unicorn was another matter. Poor unicorn, ears aren’t too bad, body is pudgy, eye and nose are okay.
The best I can say is that I tried. I decided not to clutter the background up with rocks or trees. After I fussed with the sky and the clouds and the grassy terrain, I knew that I had to take a photo and send it to her. It might have been possible to improve on the unicorn, it might have been possible to make it even more of a mess. I might have hidden it behind a tree. The photo gave her a smile.
I learned that I had trouble with the brushes. I learned that I had trouble with the paint. I learned that if I wanted to join the artists painting on location in the country I had to practice. I had planned to start painting when we first came home from the country. I didn’t! Hopefully — winter is almost over. Spring will soon be here. I have an easel and chair for wandering, I just need to PRACTICE so that I’m more comfortable using my materials.
I wrote this as an exercise for Creative Writing. We were supposed to write in a different style. My life had already changed considerably. I received more “help” than I ever dreamed possible. My “friends in high places” as I was beginning to call them, often woke me up at 4:00 AM. When my father was alive, he thought he could think better at that time of day. He even set his alarm so he would wake up. His sister Connie often got up that early. She had become another of “my friends in high places.” I thought getting up at seven was early enough. To make matters worse, an itch developed on both of my ankles. Scratching it felt better than eating chocolate or ice cream. Imagine if you will, three or four angels sitting around, conniving. The events are true. The dialogue is fiction. Or is it?
“She is awake. She should be up.”
“How are we going to get her out of bed? Nothing is working. She looks at the clock, rolls over, buries her head in the pillow and lays there.”
“It is after 6:00. Time is flying. She is wasting the day.”
“She ignores all the ideas we give her. Tells her brain to shut up, go back to sleep. Rolls over. Lays there.”
“I made her pillow lumpy. It didn’t work. She rolled over.”
“The dogs want to sleep too. I tried to get them to tell her they wanted to go out. They ignored me. They don’t want to get up this morning. ”
“It wouldn’t do any good anyway. He closed their bedroom door when he left.”
“If they barked or whined she would get up.”
“But they didn’t get up. They can sleep; she is the one who has to get up. How are we going to get her up.”
“I know! I know! I know how we can do it.”
“You’re so smart. How?”
“We can make her itch.”
“So we make her itch. She scratched, then she lies there.”
“That’s because you’re not doing it right.”
“What do you mean I’m not doing it right? There is not a right way and a wrong way to make someone itch.”
“Oh yes there is. I can make her itch so she gets up.” Oh yeah!”
“So smarty. How are you going to do it?”
“I’m going to start with just a little itch. She will scratch it, just a little bit, then roll over. I’ll wait a couple of minutes; let her think the itch is gone. Then I’ll make it itch just a little more. After she scratches, I’ll take the itch back for a couple of minutes. Give her a false sense of security.Then I’ll make her itch again. This time I’ll make a bigger spot itch, and maybe add another place. Spread it around a little bit. She won’t notice that the itch is growing. She still wants to sleep. This time I won’t wait as long after she scratches to make the itch come back. She will only be scratching her ankle. Now I’ll add her calf, just one spot, along with her ankle. I’ll make it feel really good to scratch, so she scratches longer, really gets into it. Now I’ll wait only a second before adding her foot to her ankle, along with her calf. Itch, Itch, Itch. She won’t be able to lie there. She will have to get up.”
“Go ahead and try it. What have we got to lose? She is just lying there. She will lie there all day. She doesn’t have a job, she doesn’t think she has to get up.”
“She never lays there all day. We have seen to that.”
“All right, so she won’t lay there all day. Just until 7:00.”
“She is awake. We woke her up. We gave those people something to say right outside her window at 5:00.”
“We made those tires stick to the road so all they did was spin and squeal. We made her listen to the traffic on the street. Made her think there was a lot of snow on the ground.”
“She didn’t get out of bed to look.”
“But we woke her up.”
“Now we have to get her on her feet. Out of bed. In motion.”
“The itch will do it.”
“You think so.”
“I know so!”
“Try it. What have we got to lose?”
“Told you so. Told you so. The itch did it. Not even 15 minutes. She is up. She is dressed. She is in motion.”
“Did you watch carefully? Take notes. So we can do it again tomorrow.”
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.