Monday, October 26, 2020

Our Day

 It's been a long day. Around here we choose joy. We choose to find two yays for every boo...the boo-yay game. 

There was frustration today - that in signals Dad is feeling better and wants to be doing more. That's a yay. We have to get his physical body to catch up with where his mind is telling him it is, it will come.  I am thankful for a speech therapist who cares - and offers samples. I am thankful for a physical therapist who is working hard to see dad make as much recovery as possible. I am thankful for a few things we can work on to see improvement. I am thankful for a PT who realized my aching back is a result of Dad's uncontrolled movements...he gave me several strategies to try. 

I'm thankful for the snow...because Stacia said it was perfect for building a fall snowman. 

Millie is a snow hound! I'm thankful for her antics which kept Dad and I amused from our window. She's chasing snowballs. 

And....eating the snowman Stacia is trying to make. The poor thing began to melt with rain....but I'm hoping for a freeze tonight and that it stays around a while. 

While Dad napped, and Michael and Alex switched the mower to a snow plow, I made an apple pie. Nolan had picked up appears he got enough for me to take 3 or 4 pies. 😏 Stacia and Millie helped when they came inside. We used my sister-friend Julie's Magic Pie Crust Recipe and it was FANTASTIC. I am thankful for yummy apples, sister-friends, and Stacia's willingness to partner in the kitchen.

In keeping with my seasonal confusion - we used fall and winter cut outs for the top of our had leaves, wreaths and mittens on top. 

Millie was one WET dog. She needs rain gear. 

Yes, she did! Her help is dubious. I do love this dog. She brings much laughter to our home. 
Granny Apples - Lip Smacking Good 

I started a Sunday lunch in the instant pot, and no one ate I plugged that in, made rice, baked a squash and we were good to go for dinner.  I am thankful for an easy dinner. Krista got home in time for a small slice of pie. Alex, Michael, Krista, Dad and I played a game of Farkle. I'm thankful for family unwinding at the end of a long day. 

Dad won tonight! 

I'd be more thankful if I had won! Just saying. 

About That Misconception

 About that misconception I cleared up on Friday? The one about fall....and the calendar and the leaves on top of the snow....

there are no leaves on top of the snow as of this morning. It's been steadily snowing since 0530.  Look at those cheery lights  - winter lights y'all.  

I have a strand of cheery lights in my nook too...

I do love the change of seasons...however, winter lasts a good long time and there seems no need to rush into it...Can it be winter before Halloween? Can it be winter before Thanksgiving? I am quite sure one can't rely solely on the calendar for the answer when living in Alaska. 

Maybe it ISN'T fall. But I WANT it to be fall with the pumpkins, and leaves, and fall colors and Thanksgiving....

I'm fighting myself over putting up Christmas decorations. If I put them up Nov 1st, will that mean it isn't really fall and we can't really celebrate Thanksgiving. Or does Thanksgiving really have nothing to do with the calendar? Isn't Thanksgiving, like Christmas, meant to be celebrated year round? If THIS is true....could I put up the Christmas decor before Thanksgiving and STILL fully embrace both fall and winter....Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time? IS Thanksgiving a fall holiday? 

Ah, the confusion for a newly transplanted Alaskan.  Regardless of the season - it's snowing. We've begun to think Millie will need a coat. I KNOW. We've never gotten a coat for an animal, but this one doesn't have a coat of fur...she loves the snow but comes in WET, WETTTTTT....with snowballs up and down her legs and in her face. For now, this works.  I do think she will need leggings and boots. 

See - can I have the Thanksgiving tree at the same time as a Christmas tree?????? 

Millie at 5 months

The snow is beautiful....and I AM looking forward to leisurely days at home....fall or winter...this has become my favorite spot for early morning solitude and study. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Clearing up a Misconception for Alaskans

 It is imperative to discuss this small issue before sharing anything further. It is sad some can be so mistaken, unenlightened even. THIS is NOT Winter. 

By the way of proof I offer these facts: 1. The calendar! It is OCTOBER.  October is fall. Have you never heard of Oktoberfest???  2. Yes, I do see the snow...but have you noticed the leaves ON TOP OF THE SNOW?  It is my contention if the leaves are on top of the snow - they are still falling and it is fall. If the leaves are UNDER the snow, I will admit winter is here....but not one single, solitary minute sooner. 

Alaskan Fall Colors

I have noticed Michael turned on our "winter" lights - why settle for Christmas lights when they can burn from mid-Oct to mid-Feb? I don't believe he turned them on because it's winter, I believe it's because he knows how I love them. 

With that settled, let's move on....Dad's OT came again today. The attitude WAS different. I think she'll always check charts before offering opinions in the future. I hope. In any event, she was much more agreeable and I was not on edge. Dad enjoyed the visit. She told me she believes our home is the best place for Dad to be and she just worries I am going to throw my back out. 

Stacia and I took Millie out for a nice fall romp in the snow. She LOVES it. 

Again - leaves on TOP of the snow - obviously Fall

Dad took a long, cozy, fall nap. 

Nolan and Alex both had the day off. Michael took them out for Bible study/lunch. 

Stacia and I watched MacGyver and ate Christmas crack. 

About the time Michael made it home Aaron showed up. They erected a tent, and are warming the ground up....concrete tomorrow? Ramp next week. 

Josiah called. He, Carrie and Olivia came out to share pizza with us. Krista has been at an ASIST Train the Trainer on base all week. She got home and added to the merriment. 

Dad was ready for bed when Cy and Crew left. It's been a fun day. He is feeling MUCH better.  He's been using the walker most of the day....

Take Care of Yourself Too

"Take care of yourself, too." 

Wise words, difficult to implement in this season. 😏

I have identified a few routines I preform for MY wellness....time with Jesus in the morning, working out, Bible study with Stacia, Zoom meeting focused on this crazy wellness journey I'm on, and really all those tea and lunch/church dates, were self-care for this extrovert.... Tea/lunch/church dates flew off the calendar immediately. A workout "routine" has been difficult to establish in this season. I need a chunk of time when someone else is interacting with Dad, or he is sleeping. At this point I simply grab whatever time I can as the day progresses - works well some days and not at all on others.  I've played with early workouts, as I can read my Bible later in the day....but the solitude, prayer, meditation when the household is up is a bit different.  Nothing is natural and easy just now. Basically, I need a day with MORE morning hours and less middle hours. πŸ˜‚I KNOW I have to get a grip on this. I have 2 diagnostic tests, a wisdom tooth removal, and labs which need scheduling, and have for months.  Every time I plan to run in and get labs, or make that mammogram appointment,  someone else has an appointment, or the day gets away from me. A wise friend told me (weeks ago) to commit to simply making one appointment a week...not going to it - just making it. I am stymied when they ask, "What is a good day and time for you?" 

There is no good day or time.πŸ½πŸ˜…πŸ½

I'm a morning person. I tend to go to the gym, schedule labs and doc appointments for the first appointment of the day.....but to do that now someone else has to be up with Dad - Michael is NOT a morning person and I don't want Stacia to handle Dad's morning "constitution."  

Nevertheless, I don't have to be at the top of the list, but I'd best get me ON THE LIST. 🐽

Arielle is good to ask me, "Have you gotten out of the house? What have you done for self-care?" 

I told her I take Alex to work at 0445. She seems to think doing something for another doesn't count as self-care. I'm going to have to contemplate that idea a bit more. I think it "could."  Or it could be both "for another" and "for me." 

In any event BIBLE STUDY OUT for Stacia and I surely counts as self-care. 

Michael got up at 0900 yesterday so Stacia and I could get out of the house for our Bible study. It was heavenly. It got me out. And intentional time with Stacia is on my priority list. Win/win. I appreciated him making this happen for us. 

I'm not 100% sure it fits the definition of  "selfish self-care." 🐽Maybe? 

BUT this certainly does! While Michael and I dealt with our missing checking account, Stacia got busy in the kitchen. She got out a letter from Krista and made... "Christmas Saltines" , "Fake Toffee..." I'm not sure what they are called. She read the letter and laughed, and then made the treat. She also put on CHRISTMAS MUSIC - blaring from the living room. 

She  invited me to self-care! I should have been "working the list," but I needed to sit. 

I got out one of my special birthday tea cups - Mom gave me beautiful cups once a year for years. 

Stacia made a 1/2 batch of SUGAR FREE goodness! We learned the sugar free chocolate and "sugar" tends to melt at a lower temp/time. 

Tea parties are always times of remembering for me - even when I invite others over and don't discuss the "pretties." The tablecloth is Mom G's. The tea cups are birthday cups from my Mom. The teaspoons are from Gram's silver. The platters of treats are from Japan. The teapot is my newest - a Christmas gift from my boyfriend in my favorite color. The drinks: hot chocolate mix I've made for gift giving. Stacia has taken on the job of keeping the jar full for every day family use. The tea - Sugar Free Chai. The recipe is from Louise, co-host at the Hospitality House at Travis AFB. It's a top secret recipe and reminds me of the bravery God birthed in me through the process of speaking at TWOC's retreat. I call it Hospitality Tea...sometimes, depending on the day, I call it Hospital Tea. EVERY element of this break is steeped in meaningful memories. 
Yes, SUGAR FREE and wonderful! Certainly NOT Calorie free. 

Stacia's tray of treats...still lots left as Benny and GG both ate the sugar free later in the day. I may have indulged in a bit more than my fair share too. πŸ˜›

As we sipped our cuppas, I shared memories of Gram's, Dad's Mom, Mom G, and Mom...we talked about character, personal holiness, and perseverance. We talked of women who left a legacy, a mark in our lives. I emerged with determination to leave a godly legacy as these women have for me. It was a refreshing break in the middle of the day. It's one of those "houseful" techniques I learned which serves me well in this season....Sleep or work when baby naps.... a tea break in the middle of a busy household is heavenly. It pulls us together, it centers and grounds us. 

Tea time certainly can be labeled as self-care. I was known to write about these breaks as "sanity breaks" back in the day when the house was full of preschoolers and young adults. 

This morning my 0530 zoom meeting was interrupted by the cow bell. It's been our dinner bell through the kids' growing up years when I discovered I preferred a resounding cow bell to yelling across the neighborhood for children. It sits on dad's nightstand now and gives him assurance he can be heard from anywhere in the house (or yard for that matter).  NOT THE ZOOM meeting....I began to slide into attitude and then I saw these photos ready to blog....ah, the memory of a tea party. Delightful self-care. Commitment to legacy. My heart is to walk this season well.  

A simple cuppa tea can open doors of conversation, relaxation, healing and refreshing. 

A simple cuppa tea can accomplish much! 

Thursday, October 22, 2020



"Baachan, you walked right past me!" 

"You're right, Benny, I did." 

Benny was shocked, and a bit indignant, I could walk right past him and not say a word. I knew it was time to set aside "the list" and play...because some things take making memories with a grandson. 

Today was the first day this week without a single scheduled health worker in our home. It was nice. I was able to get the floors mopped, a yummy dinner made, 2 appointments made for Dad, talk with the pharmacist about our ongoing struggles to sort out meds, cancel Rocket Lawyer,  Bible study with was a good day.  

Dad is feeling better. We discovered this means we need to be even more diligent about keeping eyes on him. I caught him somewhere between the bed/chair and the floor 3x today. At one point I just helped him slowly slide to the floor and we were thankful, once again, Michael is home to help get him off the floor. He voiced his fear we'll get tired of taking care of him. I assured him that isn't the case. I voiced my fear another fall will put him back in the hospital and we may not get him out. We WANT him to do all he can do, but at this point his legs are prone to give out unexpectedly (which is what happened all 3x) so it is wise to have someone nearby while he works to get stronger. He's  STILL recuperating from the last fall in the facility on Oct 4th. I would hate more falls to set him back again. We want him pain free to concentrate on getting stronger.  

Dad called Benny.....and this afternoon...look who showed up at our home! BenNEEEY...and Arielle too. LOL  The first order of the day was to help GG shave....GG saved this task to do with Benny. 

Next, I prodded GG into going outside on the deck. Soon, we'll be able to wheel him into the yard....but today he was content to watch from the deck. 

Snow in the boots - it gets to the best of us, Benny. 

"Should I? In the winter?"

"I think, yes!"

GG  lobbed a few snowballs...and here comes Benny, up the stairs, with a handful of snow. LOL He had so much fun nailing GG that he turned on all of us. 

 Getting "Honey and baby." 

He's excited to throw snow at me....and I was excited to catch a photo of the action. He has Baachan's full attention now. 

CoRielle went out last night to try to catch the Northern Lights. They didn't see any, but they saw some great stars. We don't see stars all summer/ has to be dark to enjoy the stars. It IS such a joy to note them shining again. Benny was impressed. He burst out, "God is AmAAAzing! But Papa made 3 of them." 

Yes, Papa, my boyfriend - the maker of stars, bridges and moose.  Papa worked on a few less impressive projects today. He dug out the pea gravel so our contractor can lay a pad and get a ramp built for us. 

He worked on the burn pile. 

WHO is this???? 

The wood-hauling season has begun. 

It seems the bank closed one of our checking accounts. Michael was verifying I was correct in thinking our account is missing. They are mailing us a check for the balance. None of it made sense to us. 

Stacia baked some goodies - while Christmas music blared through the house - another post to follow. Stacia has an adorable way of getting into her baking. I've always been able to tell what she is baking by checking out her! 

It was a great day....we ended the day with a rousing round of Farkle - WHICH I WON HANDILY!

I think in the future I will try to schedule these days with NO ONE coming in every Wednesday or's a nice breather in the midst of unplanned scheduling.