I TRY to see big picture, and plan accordingly and give way too much advice-working on that. I share my life with: SH (sweet Husband), SS(sweet Son), SD(sweet Daughter), SSIL (sweet son in law), SGS(sweet Grandson), SCs (sweet cats), extended family and friends.
It seems that I am holding my heart in my hands these days.
There has been sadness in my family, my SCousin lost her husband of over 25 years. She is heart broken with her emotions so close to the surface. How can she get through this? She will, she is a very strong and determined woman, but it will take more time than can be imagined I am sure. I am always thinking of her.
Then, our country is all in mourning over the tragedy that took the lives of twenty small innocent children and their dedicated-protective teachers. How is this possible that a person had these weapons to do this horrible crime? How is it possible? His mother could see into the future that he was capable of killing her, taking her weapons and then committing such a crime?
Our hearts are all stressed by this loss of innocence for the fellow surviving classmates, what can they be thinking now, and the parents, oh, all the parents, those whose children were taken from them and those who are washed with gratitude for the safety of their babies. How do your find strength to get through this?
Today, we heard that a town, not far from where a great deal of my family lives had another heinous crime committed, four firefighters were shot while trying to control multiple house fires, two were murdered, two in critical condition, savage coward who killed them is dead also.
Maybe we need to stop giving these murderers what they want. We need to stop putting their names and pictures all over, they want their 15 minutes, and they will go for it at such a high cost to others. I don't care what they look like, what their name is, where they lived, nothing. I know all I need to know about them, they are savages who do not deserve to be studied at length. And if they are not dead at the scene of the crime, give them a name like Killer 1. for their trial. No pictures, please media of all types, stop giving them what they crave, it is too big a price that our world is paying.
Hi all, I read this wonderful except from a blog today-I can't imagine anyone not finding something to enhance their life. My SNiece posted it on facebook from a blog that she reads. Enjoy and love................................. Words of wisdom and grace
I follow a blog written by a serene, thoughtful, intelligent woman. Whenever I need a calm voice, I can read a few of her posts and things seem different. Today, she posted a recipe for Pumpkin Soup! I decided to stop reading and make it. Since I do not have cream in the fridge usually, I needed to add a cream element, so I added a can of cream of celery soup, and then added a cup of vegetable broth. The other change I made was to add some chopped up spinach/arugula at the last moment and to use a tad to top the bowl. My apologies to the originator of the recipe-I am sure her version is so wonderful, but I had to make do with what I had.
Click here for her blog and the recipe, please read down a few posts to get a sense of her calmness and wisdom:
I hope you enjoy the soup, in whatever way you cook the recipe.
I hope you have a calm element in your life-be it a person, place or thing. Sometimes just driving and seeing how things look at different times of the day are so fulfilling. I was driving at 7:30 with SSon this morning, going past the same place that I took this picture the other evening
This morning, there was a light mist floating in the dips in the ground, a small effect, but so pretty. I told SS that it was a piece of a cloud, come down to kiss the earth. He was not so awake, and not so caring about kissing clouds. He was on his way to meet his father, have breakfast and go to cheer on the Buffalo Bills. He would not be having a calm day, but it is the type of day he loves-so maybe the good vibes he gets from his day will be just as strong as if he read this wonderful blog that I referred you to.
And here is a nice piece to listen to while you eat your soup:
It seems impossible that I have not posted to my blog in so long. Well, I have written many posts, but only in my head at 2-5am. Instead of sleeping, I am thinking all kinds of things at that time of day-planning my life and everyone else's ! I have not been without time challenges, but maybe my daytime hours for electronic usage are being taken up by WWF (Words With Friends), Facebook, emailing and texting. How much electronic time does a girl have anyway eh? You would think if I am not taking time for blogging that I would have a perfectly organized home which is also spotless, and that every area of my life is fine tuned-HA! Whose blog are you reading my friend? Well, so much for explanations, aka excuses. On with a post!
The sunflowers at the top of the page were grown in a field not far from our house. I love the hope I see in sunflower fields, that so much beauty presents in wave after wave for the viewer with a simple planting. I have found out that a field of sunflowers can not be planted in the same area two years in a row-the soil gets poisoned by a fungus which prevents another crop the following year. So, crop rotations is a must. Sometimes when I think about this fact, I wonder how many times I poison my own life by insisting on the same approach to every problem. When faced with a situation, I immediately think, what can I do to fix/change/improve/prevent this. And sometimes I am successful, a problem./event was meant to be fixed. But sometimes things can not be avoided/prevented. In my personal life, one of my goals is to keep all situations regarding SSon positive. I try to make sure we always have an assortment of batteries in good supply to start with. What you say! How is that important? Well, if you are a very structured, no grey area person like SS, you might need to change your headphone batteries or remote control batteries at any time of the day or night-and if there are no replacements, this is stressful, very stressful. He counts on things to be there and after 41 years of being his Mom, I know the consequences of not being prepared. He can not be talked out of the anxiety that this type of situation produces. This is not a fault of his or a character defect. This is the way that God made him, and if you were blessed enough to be given him as your son, you need to take good care of him. He is not less because he can not face problems, he is just gloriously different. He has so many wonderful qualities, and is so sympathetic to the need of others, so it all evens out right? There are many other areas that this same preparedness is needed. This weekend, he caught me though. When he comes home from workshop, he checks the caller ID to see who called. Knowing that, his SStep-Mom calls me on my cell when there is an emergency regarding SS's Dad. I then evaluate the news and whitewash as needed, giving SS guarded info. He caught on that I was telling him info regarding his Dad even though there was no record of an incoming phone call. One smart cookie this guy! He asked why I did that, how I knew about his Dad, so the cell phone ploy was explained. I said I had to evaluate the information and decide what would be best for him to know at that point. He asked why. Hmm, I said sometimes the information could be very worrisome. And he said, "Oh, I see, you want to protect me because you love me." As I have said many times before, what a blessing he is. He did not criticize me for not telling him everything, he just needed it explained. And he repeated this statement many times to me over the next few days-as if to really cement it in his mind I think. Some of you not knowing SS might think this is coddling him, and all I can say is, you do not know him. Not everyone is able to process bad or worrisome news the same way. My way to stop poisoning the ground now is to re-evaluate every aspect of what I say to him, hoping that I don't over correct my approach to SS. I thought I had it worked out, doing the same thing every time, but obviously I did not. Just when you think you have things worked out eh? So listen,other ground poisoning is always happening by me, and recently I have had to evaluate other areas. In an attempt to always be able to produce a piece of paper that backs up some fact, I have saved everything. Filing systems that previously accommodated this practice are so overburdened that finding anything has now becoming difficult, so I have reevaluated and now am purging files. This is scary stuff for me, but jeez, who needs all this. This practice of unburdening myself of these items is difficult and sometimes seems overwhelming, but once begun, moves along easier. And an important change I have made in the past year is to pray harder and more often. I would always pray, but not with the conviction that I now know is needed. I have seen miracles happen this past year with prayer. I have also seen outcomes that are God ordained. In the past, I prayed for someone to get better, than if they didn't, I thought my prayers were not answered. I now pray for those in the intention to have the strength needed to get through a situation, or to bring peace to an inevitable outcome. That way, I am not poisoning the field by wrongly demanding things my way. Maybe just a little more strength is what a caretaker needs to get through a day, and maybe my prayer is just enough to help. Why not? What is to be lost? I think praying this way is not lowering my expectations, it is being more realistic that sometimes the outcome is not what I choose, but rather, "it is what it is", and my prayers just might be helpful to accept the outcome. This is a major leap of faith for me, and for someone who is a person who needs to control situations, this policy of turning over thoughts, and just being in the moment of things during prayer is a giant leap of faith. After all, if you can't dictate the outcome, you are grateful for any outcome.
I need to tell you about a very inspiring situation. This past week, my dear SCousin lost her SHusband after a very difficult 18 + month struggle with serious health issues. She is probably the strongest woman I know right now-she did not try to pretend that the situation was not serious, she used her faith to cope with it as it happened. She supported him and gave it her all with her magnificent way of organizing the medical aspects, and she gave him a funeral that celebrated his life. She was able to do this because she had Faith. Faith that she was doing exactly what he and her family needed, never despairing that this was happening, never saying "Why me, why us?", just going on, surgery after surgery, appointment after appointment, supporting the needs of her SHusband, SSons and her SMom. And when it came to it's unfortunate conclusion, she was able to say, I am at Peace with my choices. That is not poisoning the field by giving up and giving in, by being surprised by changes in the situation, that is doing what is needed at the time that it was needed. And you can't do that if you have preplanned how a situation will be. She would have done anything to sit on the beach together when they were in their nineties, but instead, she enjoyed their time on the beach this year. With much admiration, I give you their song: "Longer Than" by Dan Fogelberg
This is a photograph that I call: SBrother#2's backyard! He has worked very hard, and is blessed enough to live on the waterfront. We are all "water people". We love being around water, it seems to complete us and calm us. Some people might say this is nonsense, but not us, seeing the waves, the colors that are reflected by the sky and the surrondings, all add up to a perfect setting for the sibs. And speaking of the sibs, here are 4 of the 5, the same day that the above picture was captured:
We just so appreciate time spent together, never as often as we would like. Also attending were our significant others, and that word significant is so mild compared to the contribution that they have each made to our family. We would not be the same without all of their love, humor and support.
In the photograph, SSister#1 is on left, SBrother#1, SBrother#2, then me. We lined up, red hair, grey, red, grey. How clever we are! That little wee glow of light in the bottom center of the photograph is the birthday cake for SB#1. SSister#2 is out of state, or she would be have been smack in the middle of this picture, another red head! In the old days, we had three red heads, one curly black hair, and one mousy brown, that was most often highlighted to bring some color to my face. SMatka was born blonde, turned mousy brown, and then spent the next six decades with various shades of red hair. After about eighty years old, she went to that champagne color that looks so nice on women of a certain age. But, really, the back of her hair was still mostly brown.
My SGrandma Viviani had mostly grey hair as long as I can remember, and she wore it in a long braid, that she twirled around her head during the day, with the braid hanging down at bedtime. One time, for SS#1s wedding, my SMatka had it cut and permed-oh baby, that was not well received by SGV. I can not describe how the fire came out of her eyes when she was displeased-we called it the "Mal Occhio", evil eye. I must confess, I had this ability to a certain degree. I have tempered my use of this over the years, or maybe trying to be less judgemental as I age to perfection, I tend to not need it as much?
So, my, hairy essay is complete, except, wait, I have a SFriend who having completed chemotherapy, now has a spankin' new crop of hair, it is grey, wavy and adorable, you know one of those hairstyles that you might pay a mint to try to get at the beauticians? A silver lining as it were.
When most people hear this phrase, they might automatically think of a younger Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Sylvester Stallone, or even if they are of a certain age (read: me), they might think of Charles Atlas. But not me, I think of Hubert (Hubie) Kutter, my Sweet Husband, or as I refer to him on my blog “SH”.
He displays an admirable amount of strength everyday. He was born on Easter Sunday, and lived a happy life until he was exposed to polio at the age of 20 months in 1943. He spent the next six months in Buffalo Children’s Hospital, a quick, dramatic shift from a loving home surrounded by his parents and older protective sister to a large room with no familiar faces and everyone wearing white and poking at him.
His family would visit whenever possible, but having the responsibility of running a cheese factory did not allow for daily visits. Often on the way home from visiting her cherished son, his Mother would stop at Our Lady Help of Christians Church to say special prayers for her sweet baby.
Once he was allowed to return home, he started the “Sister Kenney treatment” of leg strengthening and stretching at an out-patient clinic held in a building adjacent to the Roycroft Inn, in East Aurora. Nurse Dorothy Shaw tried to bring back the muscles with difficult -to-do
muscle-limbering exercises, and standing on a boot jack which was a slanted board intended to stretch the Achilles area of his heel.
Then, all treatments were completed-all that could be done was, and he went on with his life, never having braces or using a cane or other piece of adaptive equipment. He just pushed through his permanent deficits, never complaining, never asking for excuse from any activity. He played first base for baseball games, using his great reach and a firmly planted foot to make the plays. He went to school, using the steps like everyone else. He went to the University of Buffalo, forgoing his desire to become a Pharmacist, knowing of the standing involved. He graduated with degrees in math and science and soon began his career as a computer programmer at Calspan Corporation. This was a “sit down” job, which made his caring Mother happy. There was no sign of deficit as the years of his life of collecting geological specimens (I call them all generic rocks) and pharmacy bottles and books and the detritus of estate sales continued.
He was always just pushing through, doing anything that he wanted, never stopping to think before he carried or lifted or moved anything or walked the aisles of the Clarence Flea Market weekly. One of his stops there was always for a few pies and cinnamon rolls from a friendly vendor, just enough to get him through the week, paying homage to his sweet tooth.
When he turned fifty years old, he had more than just the usual “getting old” fatigue. He had a gradual weakness, including in areas that were not initially thought to be harmed by the savagery of Polio. This weakness now was affecting his life and choices. He was pushed to see specialists by me, even though he thought “it” was nothing. He even had a mis-diagnosis that was similar to Polio, but not the same. Similar sometimes is an expensive word, in this case he was urged to “use it or lose it”, exercise on stationary bikes and at home were the suggestions of a kind-hearted specialist. The use of a cane began, with much resistance, then a cane with a seat folded away, a “quad” cane was next used for stability, all were heart-breaking to the man who always just used his internal strength to push through. As additional specialists were involved, the accurate diagnosis was ascertained: “Post-Polio Syndrome”. What was this? Why now after so many years? How can it be reversed? The progression was like a speeding train, as the symptoms appeared to be charging forward. All muscles are now used up, those that were permanently harmed by polio, those that weren’t, and those that were slightly affected. Some specialists theorize that Polio actually harms all the muscles, but only some show permanent damage. It would appear that SH can attest to that theory. Exercise was now known to be harmful to the life a muscle still has left. But, one other thing was never affected by this disease that caused the death and paralysis of many, the strength that beamed out from SH’s spirit. He never complains if he can no longer do what he used to be able to, he never asks anyone to do anything for him and he never allows the “poor me” mind-set to take root in his being.
He has lived in the same house his entire life, and as the occupant has changed, it has also, it now has the adornment of grab-bars and ramps.
SH is now in a motorized wheelchair, and his comment after using it for a day was “this is great, I feel like I have a new set of young, strong legs!”.
There has been a learning-curve with the chair, it has lift bars protruding from it to allow me to place it in our car, and as he glides around the house, these bars sometimes leave little
calling- card gouges on the door frames, in the same places where his tricycle left marks when he was but a small child learning how to get around-and a loving Mother allowed him to scoot around, smiling at him as he flew through the doorways.
He will have more changes in his future, but now he knows there are devices available to help him, not to fight so hard to avoid them, but use them to meet his life-goals. His medical team has given him the wind under his sails, keeping him afloat with their knowledge and caring.
It shows strength to do what is needed, rather than to cover your head with a pillow waiting for challenges to decide how they will treat you.
I wonder if there is a way to get his picture on a “Wheaties” Box-for he surely is the World’s Strongest Man!
Additional information: Hubie continues to work as the Marilla Town Historian, a position he has held for the past 17 years, and now the use of email provides him with the ability to answer questions about Marilla history or genealogy thru emails. He is currently co-authoring a pictorial book about the town of Marilla starting with the 1850's. He has been a past president of the Kiwanis Club of Marilla, and is still active in the club as his health permits. He is an amateur geologist, he daily reads and examines specimens which he has purchased on the Internet. His main job description however is to provide a perch on his chest for the family cat when Hubie takes his naps.
Today there was an editorial in the Buffalo news by Froma Harrop. I have never read any of her pieces, but the title grabbed me by the eyeballs, pulling me there. It discussed the fact that GRIEF is something that Psychiatrists were going to put into a category of mental conditions treatable with medications, etc., and calling it an adjustment DISORDER. The author makes it perfectly clear that it is not a disorder, but a necessary passage that only gets worse by medicating and trying to cover up the feelings with the latest drugs.
WOW, truer words were never spoken. In my opinion: Grief can not be ignored, putting a strong face out there, and pretending that you are not torn into pieces inside. Grief is an accumulation of minutia that together are overwhelming at times, and there is no strong face large enough to hide this state of the heart.
One needs to be allowed to express grief, and the way that we do it is the way WE do it. No Doc should be able to say, take this pill, you will be fine in 3.4 weeks.
However long it takes and in whatever way we personally need to grieve, that is what it is.
I found this article to be so freeing, and so important to look at how other cultures, times, worked through grief. I used to think the wearing of black for the grieved was just an outward badge of "poor me", but now I see it was a tool that some used to come to grips with reality.
Here is the piece, she did a much better job than I of pulling the info together, but my piece of advice, do what you gotta do, and don't feel like you need to meet other's expectations of how to grieve.
And the reason for this post: Happy Mother's Day Mom. XXOO
Clearly, I have not been faithful enough to this blog. Not having signed on too much lately, I must have totally missed the "changes are coming" announcements. I was reading another blogger tonight and she was having lots to say about the changes, and I thought I would go see what was happenin'. Well, Silly me, this thing is like starting new, no welcome picture for me, no just click on this and that would happen. Heck, I don't even know if this mess that I am typing will be visible by anyone but me, and truly, even if I will ever be able to see it again. What displays most prominently are the new blog posts of those blogs that I follow-jumping right out on my screen. But, the ability to do a regular post-not so easy to accomplish. I wish I was like this:
This is SGrandson and SCat, just hanging, no trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Bleh, I am just now thinking that the facebook timeline is not too bad, and I can work around a challenge, and then this? Hey, what am I whining about? So many others have it so hard-why they don't even have a droid! Buck up woman.
Deep breath, into new mindset.................ohm........ohm....... (what does that chanting ohm mean? "Oh! Holy mackerel?")
Now, I hope you have had many good days recently SReaders. I have had a plethora of choices about my days, but mostly I am sad to say that the list of those we pray for has unfortunately gotten much longer. Is it because as I get older, so do my family and friends, hence the possibility of them getting ill gets higher? I just can't imagine what it must be like in Third World Countries where the health care system is little or none, and families need to watch others get sick with no hope of them getting better. What about those families in Africa that have seen an entire generation of sons and daughters succumb to AIDS? How can they manage to keep going? Is it because they have never had better health care, so they have not seen successful recoveries? Maybe, or maybe they go on because what choice is there? Others go on, so they shall too. I envy their strength. And I pray for the illness and suffering of those whom I have never met, and those who have no one to pray for them. I have become such a proponent of prayer in the last few years. Before I prayed because I hoped that it would do some good, now I pray because I know it does some good. And one thing that I have discovered, I can not pray for such specific things. I now pray for strength of those who are ill to tolerate treatments, to give the medical caretakers compassion and wisdom, and for those who are the caretakers to be able to have the strength to carry on. Tonight, I will pray for you SReader, just because.
Click above and you can see what I am singing in my head, here is the first verse:
I'm back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again
Thanks for checking in, and the picture on my header is my looking-forward all-year-to seeing-it-bloom Magnolia Tree. We have had early, high, record breaking temps here, buds are budding, grass is greening, but they say we might get a bit of seasonal weather soon, so these Magnolia buds might not make it to open fully, I am enjoying them now, can not plan on tomorrow right?
(Just a reminder, when I put the letter"S" in front of a noun, it means SWEET is added to their title. EX: SH means SweetHusband)
You might be wondering why I was not blogging, when you know how much I like to do this stuff! Well, here it is: blah, blah, herniated disc, blah blah, facada kidney stone, blah, blah, are you kidding me, another stone???? blah, blah, now this is way too much, a third stone?, blah, blah, helping SHusband and a SFriend to write a book on deadline, blah, blah, Kiwanis activities and makeup work to do for same, see above which put me so far behind, raking leaves, cleaning flower beds, blah, blah, wind knocked out of me due to a SFriend's major health problems-it seemed so trivial to blog about nothing at the time.
Is is possible to miss people that I have never met? Is it possible to think that maybe they missed my musings? Is it possible to forget how much I received back from you and how much I enjoyed sharing? Yes to all "for my part" as my SGrandma Julia Viviani used to say.
Speaking of SGV, I had lunch with SSister#1, SCousin and her Mom, SAunt yesterday. We celebrated SC's brithday, and also since we call ourselves "Julia's Girls", we celebrated SGV's March birthday also. SA, who is the keeper of all knowledge on the family due to her incredible memory, sat there and talked about the times of her youth, and because SGV told her so many details of the time before SA's birth and when she was a little girl, we really got to hear some lovely details of the days of Wine and Roses. A formal parlor with glass french doors, used only when company was invited in, a Victrola playing Caruso records, people dancing, cookies and wine being served. Can you visualize it? I can, seems incredible that those were the times that my SMom grew up in. SA also described the necessary chores that my SGV was required to do, including animal cleaning and dressing for meals, sausage making, pasta and bread making, and always serving whatever men needed to be fed or cleaned up after in this Italian home. These magical dancing times were not so much fun for SGV.
Did you ever want to go back in time? Something that I have always thought about, seeing what certain areas in town looked like when all the buildings were new and spending time with loved ones and asking them all the things that I wonder about now. I have no doubt that my time would include SGV, and then I could also visit with SMom. What a blessing that would be-her absence at the lunch table yesterday was so heavy for me-how could we talk about the past and not have her laugh and say..................
Can you see the writing on this decoration? It says "Let it Snow". This picture is a big fat lie for the New Year of 2012. Yes, it is cute, but no, not one person in this humble abode want snow! Not a flake, not a Lake Effect Snow, notta nothing. This guy, SSon has to do the snow blowing and shoveling and throwing ice melter thingys. SHusband and I have to drive in the stuff, and as the wonderful saying goes "been there, done that".
But, I am not totally heartless, it would be okay if it snowed at all the ski resorts, outdoor festivals, and where ever little tykes like to play in the snow-but please, respect my boundaries, snow on the streets, driveways or roofs is not permissible. Thank you for your participation in advance.
I have the most wonderful family. I was ordered to do nothing for a week because of an aggravation to my back. "Nothing" can be interpreted many ways, so in order that their message was clear it had these words following the word NO: standing, stairs, carrying, bending, stretching, pulling, pushing, lifting. Then to top it off, they gave me Prednisone, which of course reeves you up, so it makes you want to do all those things that they said no to. Conundrum or what? Well, I tried doing just a bit, bending over to pick a book to read-yikes, were they right! Now I am a good patient because I want this to be better.
My SFriend brought me soup and she did not even know I had messed up my back! Talk about ESP. SDaughter drove me to the doctor appointment, then did errands.
The next day she brought in reinforcements, her SFIANCE (I love saying that), my SGrandson, groceries to cook a bizillion meals, and they even did the dishes that they used, took out the garbage, got the mail, more errands in town that I thought for sure I would be able to do, and gave us so much kindness. SS was driven by SD to the hospital to visit their father, he is still struggling with his health.
SHusband has been doing ALL THE DISHES since Tuesday when this thing reared it's ugly head non-stop. And he even made our bed. What a keeper!
Now, here is our first time together SReaders for our blessing of another year, 2012. I am not in step with those who think that calendars from a extinct culture is telling us that all is over in 2012. It will be over when it happens, and we can not live for today fully if we have one eye trained on the calendar.
So listen, Today I planted our Amaryllis. I am not telling you what color she will be, but we have named her "Marilla". We live in the town of Marilla, it almost, kinda, maybe rhymes with Amaryllis, so SH immediately blurted it out, and when something is perfect, you just don't mess with it.
Here she is in front with her neighbors, they all welcomed her warmly.
My only concern is that she had already started to grow when I took her out of the box. We shall see if this matters.
OK, next topic is the most important one. Many dear friends and family members are really facing difficult medical conditions right now, I ask you to please take the time to read this, it was sent by a SFriend, and it struck me as being important writing.
Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and email buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubt, release a renewed confidence through