I’m a practicing Catholic. As I write this we are in the middle of Lent. Last week at the church in the country, the gospel revolved around the Samaritan Woman at the well. How she went into town and asked her town folk to come listen to Jesus. I’m rather familiar with the story since Peter, Paul, and Mary had a song Jesus Met The Woman. They are a favorite of mine. The pastor at the church in the country reminds me of the way our religion was practiced in times gone by. Saying the rosary, fasting, set prayers, preparing for Easter were all mentioned.
Today’s gospel revolved around the restoring of sight to the blind man. Today I was at our church in the city. The focus was on the upcoming Parish Mission and Stations of the Cross. The gospel homily reflected modern times. The contrast in the styles of the different homilies caught my attention. Now you are probably wondering why I’m spending time and energy writing about this. If you have read my last thought ramble titled OLDER, you might remember that I wrote about being confused — wondering just what I am supposed to do. Knowing that a message is out there, I just haven’t been able to decipher it. I had surmised that part of it concerns Angels as Playmates, another part concerns the importance of my family. I’m often at the right place, at the right time to share a story: Pap and The Pancake Turner: my father let me know that he was fine when he passed. Or the story of Shanae’s spirit running through our house. Recently I gave a copy of my book Journey With Me to a woman who had lost her only son and was trapped in grief.
My morning reading often refers to being chosen — the question is often asked “Who can I send?” So I’m wondering if I’m the woman at the well. If my thought rambles are meant to share information of life after death with anyone who wanders onto my page. This morning’s gospel: “blind but now I see” is interesting. I know that many years ago I crossed a bridge. I have a better understanding — I know that I’m never alone. I was blind, but now I see. I like that knowledge. My father passed over more than 25 years ago. I’m sure that he is often around. It is interesting how often I meet someone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s in their family. My mother was able to hide the fact that she “helped” me. Looking back, I can see times when I received “help”, especially when my father’s Alzheimer’s intensified. Since I neither see nor hear “my friends in high places” — my experiences might help you to recognize the “help” that you receive.
Looking outside on our last Saturday morning in the country this Fall, I saw fog or rain or mist — definitely gray skies. Robin didn’t care, she was ready to go for a walk. Words of Wisdom in Queen of Heaven’s morning reading instructed “Allow yourself to belong to God.”
Not sure of the weather, I put on my rain coat and rain pants — heading for the street instead of taking the nature trail, turning East towards our daughter’s trailer. I saw one of our neighbors holding onto a large container with a hose, spraying his trees. I was curious — what was he spraying and why. I know fruit trees are sprayed in the spring to protect the fruit from bugs but why spray in the Fall? I soon learned he was spraying the trees to discourage the deer from consuming the leaves. Most of the leaves were missing from one of our young maples. So were the buds off of a flowering bush, not to mention our Hosta’s had made a tasty snack. He offered to let us use his container but I thought it would be to our advantage to get our own. Thankfully I bought the last deer/rabbit fence spray with hose at our hardware store.
I had taken our car to the hardware store, giving Robin a ride. Have car — will travel. I stopped at our neighbor’s to thank him for the information, his generous offer — we had the last container at the store. Leaving his place, I met our friend’s daughter and husband. When I inquired as to her parents plans for the weekend, I learned she really didn’t know. Her sister might drive them out to save their gas. I thought I would phone and invite them for supper if they were coming out. When we saw them last weekend –their truck was loaded to the top, stuff going home for the winter — preparation for Fall close. My husband thinks we NEED A TRUCK.
On the road again, I saw the truck of the person who does our winterizing. I asked Sue if she had called him. When I phoned her, on Friday, she hadn’t called, but when I saw John on Saturday — she was on his list. I mentioned we had keys to her trailer. He suggested that I get her keys and meet him at her trailer. He was working on Saturday because he was way behind. Sue had been having trouble with her door staying closed and he explained the steps she needed to take to keep the door locked. I told him that we would leave our furnace on when we left, he could schedule our winterizing when it was convenient for him.
Back at the camper, I phoned our friend only to learn they weren’t coming out. I’ve used up most of the meat in our freezer but I planned to go to the store if they would come for supper.
Definitely a DIRECTED morning. I’m very glad for the information received and the meeting of friends. I’m very glad we had walked the street rather than the trail.
Would you like to laugh with me? My plans? I don’t know how often I make plans and God Laughs We had planned (?) to attend the exercise and nutritional class at the clinic –two weeks in a row. The first week, we received a phone call that the roofers were available to install the sky light in our roof. It had been back ordered for more than 3 weeks. The second Wednesday our car was in the garage and we were waiting for ADT to fix our carbon monoxide alarm that went off on Tuesday.
I had given myself a birthday present. I arranged to go shopping with my friend who fell and broke her hip in December. It was the first time she and I had wandered out alone since she fell. I was able to put her walker in the trunk. The waitress at our favorite restaurant not only remember us, she remembered what we ordered. We were able to get a motorized cart at Wal-Mart, finish shopping and get purchases and us safely back into the car. We proceeded to Wendy’s, where I got her walker out of the trunk. Returning, I put her walker back into the trunk only to discover the taillight on the fin of the trunk hanging in the breeze. That would never do. I did not have tape in the car. I could not push the light back onto its holders. My next stop was only a short distance away. They DID NOT HAVE TAPE, THEY DID NOT HAVE GLUE. I bought large band aids and taped the light to the fin. We asked my friend’s husband to bring tape down when I dropped her off. It wasn’t needed. I was afraid the city streets would cause the light to become detached from the electric. I didn’t tell her until I dropped her off that she was my birthday present. I was glad we went out. I discovered that I had the strength for the task at hand. We both had a MARVELOUS time. We will need to repeat before a long time passes.
Our car went to the garage the next day. Because the electric was still attached they were able to glue it into place rather than replace the part for a few hundred dollars.
We had planned to go to the country on Thursday. Thankfully we were able to proceed as planned. Evidently we were not supposed to go to the clinic on Wednesdays. Either it is no longer of benefit to us or we need to wait until our traveling is through.
Commercials on television were rather numerous on the subject of buying a new mattress, both in town and out in the country. I knew ours was ancient. In fact, we had two layers of foam helping to cover the old coils. Matters came to a head when my husband injured his hip and wasn’t able to sleep at night. A closeout ad caught my attention after I hit my head on a cabinet door. We drove out to the location of the store, only to realize that the ad was misleading. It was a bait and switch, no mention of closeout mattresses was made at the store. In the same parking lot, another mattress store was located. We wandered over to check their pricing. The woman on duty mentioned that we would save money buying from her — lower sales tax than Chicago. We learned that she had spent 5 years taking care of her aged grandfather who had dementia. He also happened to be a ham radio operator. When I teased my husband about our mattress at the camper, she knew where Woodhaven Lakes is. She grew up 30 miles from there. As a matter of fact, she still lives in that general area. Because of the expressways, it is an easy drive in to work. SMALL WORLD. We would be able to get our new mattress the next day. I KNEW that wouldn’t work. First my husband was planning to go to a ham fest the next day. Crystal knew what that was. In fact, that is how we learned about her grandfather. I KNEW that in order to switch mattresses, much work needed to be done at home.
I devoted the next two days moving some of the clutter out of our bedroom. Our room is on the second floor. Reached by going up a twisting wooden staircase. Talking to our daughter on the mountain, I realized I needed to move some stuff on the first floor also. Specifically the clothes tree and the bucket that held umbrellas. Our stairway walls are covered with family photos. I removed two of them, but the rest remained in their place. The mattress men said they would hug the railing. It was a GOOD THING I removed the clothes tree. When we removed the foam, we realized just how bad our mattress was. Thankfully it was a VERY GOOD mattress when we bought it. None of our children remembered our getting a new mattress. I didn’t look at the date on the tag. Who knows how old it was.
Thankfully we were the first delivery for the mattress guys. Thankfully they were young. I think they felt aged when they left. They did a good job. Didn’t knock any photos off the walls, nor break anything. The new mattress is MUCH HIGHER than the old one. We decided to use one of the thicker foams on top. My husband picked out the mattress. It wasn’t the firmest, but second to it. The foam and my body are a good match. I slept a whole eight hours last night. I feel like the story of the princess and the pea. My feet barely touch the floor.
This morning the men were at our house to finish our roof. Once again rain stopped their progress. In fact, the temperature is in the 50’s. The open roof cooled down the house, so much so that I found a sweater. I looked at the thermometer setting, but I couldn’t adjust it. ?? I discovered that the furnace was turned off. Thankfully no hit on the head this time. The furnace is now turned on. Soon the roof will be finished and I will start putting our house back in order. At least — some semblance of order for our house.
When I’m not paying attention — I get hit on the head. I’ll bang my head into an open cabinet, something will fall out of the frig or freezer, maybe something cascades from the medicine cabinet. The end result is one of my body parts whimpers or yells. Sometimes I have an idea what I am overlooking. Many times I am at a lost.
Since I don’t see nor hear “my friends” in high places. They use other means to get my attention. I’m often at the right place to see something or talk to someone. The other day my knee was yelling as I walked to the bank. I saw a younger person on a older scooter, the kind with front and back wheels and a handle. She had a dog on a leash. I was struck by her imagination — I wondered if a sore knee kept her from walking her dog normally. I overheard her tell her dog that she couldn’t go that way, climb a high curb and I wondered.
One of my reasons for wanting to stay in our house rather than move to the country — if I can’t drive, I can get around the city via public transportation. I can walk to a grocery store, the bank or a drug store. I can walk 6 blocks to the EL train and go downtown. I don’t have to drive.
My husband and I attended Smokey Joe’s Cafe, a play at Drury Lane. During intermission I talked to the woman sitting directly behind me. She shared a story. Her uncle, a young 100 years of age just renewed his drivers license. I heard of other people in their 100’s who were driving, but usually out in the country. When I asked where he drove she told me the North side of Chicago — not rural by any means. In fact — a high traffic area. So I wonder, will I be able to continue to drive as I continue to age. Time will tell.
I often hear of many people who are in their 90’s, with good quality of life — still accomplishing their life’s work — Jerry Lewis, Betty White, Tony Bennett just to name a few. I’m often reminded of God’s promise to Abraham “That He would make him numerous as the grains of dust” Sirach 44:21.
I’ve been getting bumps rather often lately. I didn’t know if I needed to make a few phone calls to make sure our roof’s skylight would soon be installed. Phone our home insurance to inquire about the remaining check. Phone to set up an appointment for podiatry care for my husband. Many things were put on hold when we were in the country.
It is very helpful to have “friends in high places” — at times. I ask a question, or I wonder about something, or I have a problem and need a solution. Often the answer arrives in the near future. I hear something on the news, or from another person. A letter arrives in the mail, or a magazine. The method of delivery changes with the situation. And sometimes, the answer doesn’t come at all. It is not a given that I will receive an answer. So when I do, it usually comes as a surprise.
The reverse is also true. When I should be doing something, and DON’T, I’m pestered. Things fall onto my various body parts. I get hit on the head. And I don’t always know what I’m supposed to be doing. When I am slow to respond, the actions continue. The problem might be my weight — it is still too high. The problem might be my shoes — already worn. The problem can be anything — sometimes I can’t figure it out.
Recently the pain in my knees, shoulders and hips has been an issue. A friend at the VA clinic suggested I take 2 TBL of organic apple cider vinegar with 2 TBL of honey. I increased the amount of vinegar right away but the honey became an issue. I was getting honey everywhere when I tried to measure it so I just squirted the bottle. Evidently I wasn’t using the proper amount of honey. When he asked how it was working, I hedged my answer and he replied that honey was VERY important. I have increased the amount of pressure and amount of time of adding honey so hopefully it is closer to 2 TBL. And I’m noticing the difference.
I’ve also backed off on my cherry smoothies only to have the pain resume. I’m trying to make sure I don’t skip too many days in a row.
Recently we were at the camper, and I was in the pool talking to a woman. She had watched a program on public television that concerned the flexibility of the body. She was impressed and ordered the DVD. I’ve noticed that I’m having trouble getting out of the car and off the chairs at the pool. Our sofa has become a challenge. The fact that I’m losing my flexibility doesn’t fill me with warm fuzzies. I have added tai chi back into my morning routine. I have also added leg raises and stretches to my evening routine. They might not be enough. More exercise might be required.
Once upon a time I was amazed when something crossed my path that was helpful to me. I WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I STILL AM! The information comes from many sources, always or mostly unexpected. This time I accompanied two of my daughters on a shopping or investigational spree. We stopped at an antique store at the beginning of our trip and I quickly realized that whatever energy I had was quickly leaving. It was the fourth day of visit from our daughter and granddaughter and my age had already caught up to me. I decided that if I didn’t sit down while they looked I wouldn’t make it for the rest of the day. Standing and looking wasn’t working for me. I abandoned the store and visited a nearby Starbucks. They could shop and look, I could sit and recharge.
After getting a Chia Latte, I sat down at a table that held a Conscious Community magazine. One of the last articles I read “Heeding The Message … 15 Years Later” highlighted my feelings for the day. “The universe starts with a whisper. If you don’t listen, the whisper turns into a massive holler!” I don’t know if I heard a whisper telling me that I was overdoing it. I did listen when standing and looking caused my knees and other body parts to object. Hopefully I didn’t cause the universe to holler.
The article reminded me that sad as it is to say, I’m no longer 21 or even 51. I’m not ready to sit and watch the world go by but I need to pay more attention to my activity. That day there was no way I was going to miss the fun of spending time with my daughters. At the same time, spending time sitting instead of standing, with the help of some caffeine allowed me to enjoy the rest of the day.
DO I PAY ATTENTION TO THE UNIVERSE? Good question. Yesterday I was EXTREMELY TIRED, so tired I could have easily sat down and waited for anyone to cook supper or order out. I had catfish defrosted — I needed to cook! And I did. It was delicious.
This morning, I noted everything I did yesterday. Looking at the list — there was a very good reason I was so tired. I thought I had done well. When I listed my chores for the day, I postponed three things for next week. I didn’t realize I had ADDED SIX more plus a shopping trip.
The night before, I caught a blurb on TV announcing that the dog flu was back. Yesterday, my husband took Robin to the Vets for the first of two shots. She likes going to the lakefront and running with other dogs. We want her to stay healthy.
Question: Will I ever learn? Hopefully I can keep the universe at a whisper — not a holler!