Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘FRIENDS’

IRISH MORNING

I have to admit that I have never been to Ireland. I don’t know if the opportunity to visit will ever come. My mother’s father was from there. I have finally learned the county that he was from but since I don’t know his birthdate or any other pertinent information, and his last name was very common — I’m not trying to learn anything more. I’ve titled this thought ramble Irish Morning not because the day reminded me of Ireland but because I was having lunch with a dear friend. She is not only Irish but she came from across the water. For years she lived on my block, went to Mass with us on Sunday. But time passes and our bodies reflect the passing. She had trouble walking up and down the stairs in her house. She moved to a Catholic senior residence. Even though she is on the third floor, they have elevators.

She phoned a few days ago and invited me for lunch. Of course, I accepted immediately. Then she fell, and we postponed the date. Then the snow fell on rain drenched stairs and I didn’t like the crunch as I swept the stairs. And we postponed it again. The day finally came, cold but with sunshine — blue skies. If I gave serious thought to the meeting, I wouldn’t have arrived empty handed. Ooops!

Her residence has many opportunities for a person to stay busy. I passed a room where art work decorated the window. I recognized the name of a friend and stopped to take a photo. A woman passed by with her son and asked if that artwork was mine. I admitted that it was a friend’s, I wasn’t a resident. She had recently moved in and was having trouble adjusting. I had to share a story of my recent painting experience and a photo of the finished art work. She didn’t paint or draw. She used to sing but has lost her voice. I suggested she just sing to herself inside her head. She was on her way to therapy. I was navigating the halls, looking for the building were my friend’s apartment was.

SUCCESS! We had a pleasant visit but more snow and rain was in the forecast. I really didn’t want to get stuck out in the weather. I learned that she had had a stroke a couple of years before. Somehow I missed that information. Her son used to live on our block and shared information about his mother. He rented their house a couple of years back, and moved to an apartment. I no longer receive current news. She is doing well now — in her late 90’s. Not bothered by the aftermath of her fall.

Going back down I shared the elevator with a woman who had a lovely accent. When I asked, she admitted she was from Ireland. Walking down the hall with her, I voiced the question of a bathroom. Two gentlemen going in the opposite direction pointed to a sign on the wall. I told my companion that I’ve noticed that when I ask a question, I often get an immediate answer. I wondered if the same thing happened to her.

Leaving — I met the same woman I saw when I first arrived. She hadn’t slept well the night before and was heading to her apartment for a nap before supper. I mentioned that it must be hard, giving up her house, her car and living in a new place. There were people there from her parish but the friendship is just starting.

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SQUARE DANCE

Looking back — it doesn’t seem that many years ago. Looking for landmarks — reality sets in. It was an EXTREMELY LONG TIME AGO! Our youngest daughter was a toddler. I’ve always loved to dance. The opportunity arose when I learned of square dance lessons in our neighborhood. It sounded like fun. My husband agreed to try it. It was fun! We learned the basic steps, then the opportunity arose to learn more — advanced to be specific. That also was fun. The caller announced he was going to teach lessons to introduce people to calling. I thought my husband would enjoy it. He liked to play chess — my reasoning — he would enjoy moving people.

AND HE DID. The problem occurred as he became more accomplished in calling. He LOVED to call, he didn’t want to dance anymore. I became extremely good at dancing the male part. I became his agent, handling bookings, and other assorted tasks. I learned how to call line dances. And life was busy. He added more equipment and records to his arsenal. I don’t know exactly why he stopped calling. We had gotten older, he wanted to take evening classes at college, being out at night so many nights of the week was tiring? What ever the reason — he gave up calling but kept all of his equipment and records. FOR YEARS!

Recently he redid his office and moved a lot of stuff to another room. Remnants of calling included not only his phonograph, but also boxes of records and three sets of speakers. The speakers were huge, and heavy. Since his equipment was still in working order, we didn’t want to put it out in the trash. The many square dance clubs that we had known, where no longer functioning. Their members like ourselves had aged.

I thought we could donate it to a music school. Every time we learned of a person who was still calling, for one reason or another the lead fell through. Our computer ended up being a great help. My husband put in a request for square dancing in our area and learned of a new club that was only minutes from our house. They had members who were interested in learning to call. They would love to have his equipment.

For the last time –he put some records on the turntable, hooked up his microphone and enjoyed calling. He sounded terrific. But we both agreed that it wasn’t something we wanted to go back into. I don’t think my knees would let me, not to mention if I would remember more than a couple of steps.

We were VERY HAPPY to donate the equipment were it would still be used.

FOYER

I thought I remembered having a French easel. I thought I had stored it in the foyer. Lots of stuff is stored in the foyer. In order to find the easel, I had to remove a lot of stuff. The easiest place to start was with our coats. Now I’ll admit that most of our coats how hung out with us for more than a year or two. In fact, I found our youngest daughter’s high school jacket. She really liked that coat and wanted it back. No problem — I wasn’t going to donate it anyway.

I found winter gear from when I used to cross country ski. Lets not talk about how many years ago that was. Will I get my skies out again and go out and play in the snow? Doubtful but you never know. What I do know for sure is that it would be a minor miracle if I could get my body into the outfit. Donated!

I would love to say that I had a huge pile of coats to donate but I try not to lie. When I wear a coat that belonged to one of my daughters it is as they are giving me a hug. All the coats were hung up and I still have more stuff on the floor to investigate.

I found my French easel along with four bags of stuff and a box full of painting brushes and paints. One of the bags held books that contained photos of many of my paintings. A gentle reminder that once upon a time, I was able to paint. One of the bags held a lot of my beading supplies as well as 7 magazines. No wonder I couldn’t find my pliers. They were all together hanging out. I looked through the assortment of beads and stuff. At this point and time I have no idea what I had planned to do. I have no idea how long that bag lay hidden — waiting for me to find it. I looked inside the box. It contains many brushes and some oil paint. It would be a good box to travel with. It has a compartment for the board canvases. I still have 2 bags and the French easel to investigate.

I remembered a field easel that I had at the camper and wondered if I could get one for home. It is light weight and easy to move from one place to another. I don’t have a craft room at our house. My craft room and office is usually the dining room table. I didn’t want to have a painting camping out on it.

Saturday I went to an art show. A friend of ours was invited to show his wire sculpture. It was PACKED! I wandered through the room twice before I found our friend. And then, it was only because I asked for directions. I took advantage of the opportunity and spoke to many of the artists. I recognized some of the techniques that I have seen demonstrated on public television.

Yesterday we went shopping. As I stood in line at Wal-Mart, I noticed a natural red haired woman waiting ahead of me. I admired an Easter cross she was buying. “Its for the cemetery,” she said. I replied that my family’s bones might be there, but they weren’t. “Where are they?” she asked. “Right here” I replied. She shared that her brother in law was always around when she bakes. Her brother in law’s sign is a cardinal, her husband a robin. Both accompanied her when she had her cataracts removed. I think of aunt Connie when I see or hear a cardinal.

IN THE WEEDS

Once upon a time, I thought I had a good, working memory. I seldom wrote notes. I knew I would remember. Then something unexpected happened. I AGED. Although I still have a working memory — sometimes. I often forget what I’ve done the day before or the week before. Just for giggles, I write down the things I do each day. It helps when I’m trying to track stuff I’ve done. Then I get busy and don’t write things down. Then it is a memory test. I don’t win often enough.

Two things occurred recently that has brought this into my attention. Since I’m no longer working, and we are living a quieter life, I don’t bake except for cookies at Christmas. A couple of weeks ago I remembered a pineapple angel food cake that I had eaten years ago. At our younger daughters house, my grandson and I made the cake. I didn’t have good directions and although the cake wasn’t a flop, it wasn’t a success either.
I found the recipe for the cake on the internet and made it at home. This time it was a success — but my husband didn’t like it. It has a cool whip topping — not to his liking. I decided that I would make a chocolate cake with bought frosting for his birthday. Many years ago I remember a hint I was given that would improve a packaged cake. But I didn’t write the hint down, why? I would remember. Then the few people I called didn’t remember the hint either. I made the cake following the packaged directions. It was a success.

Then my second memory test of the week — I remembered making balsamic potatoes with pork that my family really liked. I knew I had made it in the winter but I couldn’t find a note as to what I had used or when I had made it. I finally found a date — November 26. But I hadn’t jotted down a note as to where I had found the recipe. I hadn’t jotted down a note as to what was in it or how long to cook it. Was I hoping I would remember. I was WRONG!

Late at night, I pulled out my huge white cookbook that I had compiled years ago. I keep adding recipes I find that I like to it and thankfully, I had written down the recipe and put it where I had a good chance to find it. The pork and potatoes were a success.

NUMBERS

Until my body parts started acting up, I never paid attention to my age. Sadly problems with my knees, and getting up out of a chair or out of the car brought my age into my attention. Then I fell — twice within a very short time. Going up or coming down the stairs. Thankfully I didn’t do major damage to any of my body parts. Now I go up or down rather carefully — paying attention to what I am carrying. I also hold on to the railings more often. I think the first fall was caused by carrying to much weight in both hands. I’ve determined the second fall was caused by the surface of my slippers being worn. I’m not sure they were the real reason. I haven’t regained my confidence or my speed navigating the stairs. Most days my knees are working better depending on the weather.

Then I got sick and lost more of my balance and energy. I’m still surprised that walking up to our church was too far of a walk for me. I determined that I was going to take Robin for at least one walk every day. Then the weather shifted, the snow came and the ice. Safety became a factor. Each day brings us closer to Spring. I’m hopeful that while I won’t be able to run up and down the stairs like in previous years — they won’t become a major handicap. In order to remain in our house, I have to be able to do the stairs.

Age isn’t the only number I haven’t been paying attention too. I don’t remember the ages of my children or grandchildren but I have solved that problem. I have their age and birth date on strips in my daily calendar.
I have strips for the birthdays of some of my friends so I remember to send a card.

The last anniversary of my blog came and I underestimated the number of years I had been writing. Because of my daily calendar, I usually know what the date and day of the week is. When we are in the country it is easy to lose track. Especially when we don’t have any specific plans.

So by now you must be wondering why I’m going on and on about numbers. Recently I was at the store, getting ready to check out. The elderly woman behind me had a cart piled with one brand, one flavor of frozen dinners. I stared at the cart — I was amazed to see so many of the same kind in a cart. I didn’t count the exact number she had. When I asked if that dinner was really good — she replied that she didn’t cook any more. I answered that I still did. Even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to eat the same thing night after night. I can’t even eat the same foods week after week. I have a good friend, who is now on the other side — Thursday was pork chops and Friday was take out pizza. If I knew what the rest of the week was I don’t remember.

I mentioned that experience to my husband. He calculated that I have cooked over 20,000 meals in my lifetime. And I’m still cooking!

WARNING

Since I neither see nor hear “my friends in high places” — I try to pay attention. When I opened the bible to Isaiah 47:11 and read “Disaster shall befall you which you cannot allay,” I was worried. My youngest daughter and family were on the road, going to visit her sister. I wrapped the family in my prayers. I should have wrapped myself.

Late in the afternoon — both hands full — I headed upstairs, only to have my foot slide off the stair, causing me to fall backwards. I couldn’t stop the fall and landed on my back on the first floor. It was only a couple of steps up, somehow I turned the corner and sprawled on the floor. I aged my husband by 10 years and also my son. I was glad the disaster predicted was for myself instead of my daughter and her family. I wasn’t glad that I had caused concern not only to them but to myself.

THANK YOU LORD — I wasn’t seriously injured. No broken bones — slight injury to various body parts. I was lucky. Reviewing the fall, I surmised that wearing the slipper socks wasn’t in my best interest. They don’t have the traction needed for the steps.

This was the second time that I fell in December. The first was heading down the basement stairs, both hands full. I surmised at that time that I was too weighed down — out of balance. Thankfully that time I landed standing on my feet, injuring my side but no broken bones.

Two falls in one month, thankfully no bones broken but I didn’t like the direction I was going in. Was a message trying to get through and I wasn’t paying attention? My son, who lives in our home, had recently purchased a new blood pressure machine. I checked my blood pressure and was surprised at the reading. Extremely high. When the news was shared with the rest of my family, they were very concerned. Some thought I should go to the emergency room immediately. I determined to monitor the situation.

My readings over the next few days decreased but not into a zone that I liked. I promised I would go to the doctor. When I phoned for an appointment, mentioned my problem and gave my current reading, the person on the phone said it was too high, to come in that afternoon.

When my blood pressure readings were examined on the computer, I learned that they had been in the high range for some time. Even though I didn’t have headaches or other high blood pressure problems, meds were prescribed. Since I remember a time when my aunt had a serious stroke, I’m not against taking medicine. After all, I’m no longer young.

Making my children happy, I signed up for a well being check next month. I had promised my youngest daughter that I would schedule a doctors visit this year. A visit was arranged as well as a few other tests.

Heading for the pharmacy, I reviewed the past month. “My friends” listen to my problems, and often help. I’m hoping this was the action I needed to take. I really don’t want another fall. The next one might be more dangerous.

I’m taking other positive steps. I need to improve my balance and strength. Exercise is in my daily plan.

ARE YOU AWARE

I had to laugh! I don’t normally watch daytime television except for the news. When I do,I am surprised by something that is said on the program I’m watching. This morning I caught a segment — Dick Van Dyke at the young age of 91, still singing and dancing. I’m often given hints that I need to watch what I eat, take care of my health and exercise so that I’m able to function independently as I get older. At first I was given examples of people in their seventies. Since I have reached that age, the examples have aged also — now it is 90 or 100. People who are still vibrant, healthy and have a good quality of life.

Last week, a person on a daytime program asked: “Is there anything that reminds you of someone who has passed away?” And I laughed.

The day before, I was shopping at Costco and noticed a huge pork loin in a person’s cart. Wandering through the store, I saw another large pork loin in another person’s cart. Seeing two in a short period of time, made me wonder. Now I will admit that I have PLENTY of pork roasts — two — in the freezer and many packages of pork chops. I DID NOT NEED more pork BUT they had a deal $8 off a pork loin. The bargain hunter in me wouldn’t let me pass up the deal. Instead of looking for the largest, I looked for the smallest BUT a pork loin found its way into my cart.

The same day, I went down an aisle which I usually skip. First I saw Ramen noodles made out of rice. I have to admit, they stayed on the shelf, but since I used to LOVE ramen soup — the sodium has omitted them from my diet– the noodles might be in my cart on the next trip. Then I found, in the same aisle, low sodium, organic beef broth. Soon it will be winter, the season for soup and stews — the broth found its way into my cart.

Depending on what I am doing, I might be unaware of the “help” I receive on a daily basis. If I’m too involved and not paying attention, I often get hit on the head. I DON’T LIKE TO GET HIT ON THE HEAD!

When I first started writing, I was often surprised with the synchronicities in my life. I can truthfully say that I think they have increased. I try NOT to take them for granted. I try to say THANK YOU for the many blessings and gifts I receive. When I first started writing this thought ramble, it had a different title. I think I have mentioned that I have “editors” that “help” me! I COULD NOT save what I was writing. I received many messages telling me why it couldn’t save. The file was being used by someone else, it was protected, the disk was full, etc. etc. etc. I have to admit that I stopped. Then I asked my son to look at the external disks I was using for backup. When he said nothing was wrong with either of them, I knew that there was a different reason. I changed the title!

No surprise, the ramble saved without anymore problems!

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