Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Another Christmas behind us, Ladies. Time is flying by and in a short week it will be 2012. I wonder what it will hold for us. I am happy to be finished with this year, a year of change and heartache and fear. Each January 1 brings hope for peace, prosperity and good health, travel, excitement and contentment. My sister was born on Jan. 1, 1951. I always thought that was such a cool birthday to have, of course you have to consider that it is so close to Christmas the gifts might be a little lacking. For a few years, Mom and Dad gave her gifts on my birthday, June 25, exactly 6 months from Christmas. And I would get something on Jan. 1 also. Usually pajamas as I remember.  As a kid, I loved New Years and made long lists of resolutions; to read all the books in our library, to get all As in school, to become a nun, to become Catholic so I could become a nun ( this was either the year I read A Nun's Story or the year Mom told us she should have become a nun), to become a better daughter (you know when this was). As I grew older, my lists got shorter and more centered on losing weight, growing my hair long, getting contacts to replace the glasses I'd worn since I was 7. I still am a list maker, just not New Years resolutions so much. No, my lists now say, " Dr. appt. Wednesday, treatment 9:00 Monday, stop for gas, pick up prescriptions, get chicken soup and 7-Up."  The day-to-day simple things take priority over long term goals now.    
All through Stephen King's illness I have felt distanced, as if I am watching from somewhere else. Christmas has been this way for me too. Last night, Christmas Eve, we were at our niece's home with all my side of our family. I knew Steve wouldn't feel up to staying too long, but I wanted to visit with everyone for a few minutes. Yet instead of traveling the room speaking with each of them, I sat beside my husband and watched. I watched the ladies gather around the baby, cooing and kissing his sweet fat cheeks, watched the cousins laugh and tease each other as if they were small kids again instead of grown adults. Watched as the grandchildren thanked my Mom for her gift to them, some hugging her frail shoulders, others kissing her wrinkled cheek. I watched as each of them spoke to Steve, shocked by his weight loss, by the quiet voice, by the shaky hands. And I couldn't feel a part of it, not really, I was behind my wall. This afternoon our kids came for Christmas. We did a simple homemade soup and sandwich affair for the first time ever. Steve cannot tolerate big meals after treatment so we will hold off til New Years for our big dinner.  Our little ones were too excited to eat much, Caleb even helped clear the table to hurry the process. For an hour the paper and ribbons flew, ohhs and ahhhs accompanied each gift making its appearance. A Lego watch was Gavin's "best gift ever" and the snowboots were Cabe's. Maddie was shocked by the box of BBs then thrilled with the Pink Daisy rifle! The big girls loved the new handbags and IU sweats. The Christmas stockings were, as always, the treat of the evening, filled with wacky treasures and silly tokens. The sons and wives approved of their presents, though neither pair of boots fit our bigfoots. Nina giggled over her "philosophy" skin products and Shawn squealed with joy at her Kuerig coffee thingy. Stephen King proudly showed me the hatchet our son had crafted and the UnderArmor jacket, " just like the boys have". 
 And I loved it all, I was happy with the day and my own gifts, but I didn't feel here. I grabbed the little ones a million times holding them close to hear their heart beats, to feel their soft skin, just to prove I was here.  My coping skill seems to be working too well.
I hope each of you had a joyous Christmas and that you all enjoy each second of your break. Love you all.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh My Goodness

Courtney left last Friday, traveling back to her life in Oz. We want her to go. We want her to stay. She has been a blessing these 5 weeks, standing beside us through it all. But she has her life with Ken in Australia and just as our boys cannot leave their jobs and hold our hands, neither can Court leave her home. We are proud of our children and their compassion, faithfulness and generousity. Knowing this about your offspring makes a parent happy.
Mackenzie will receive her mother's kidney after the first of the year. Shawn is a near perfect match for Mack. Her long trial will soon be over. We can't wait for her to feel better, feel normal, feel healthy. She is even looking into colleges that require a move from home. Mack has always been a homebody, wanting family around her even on vacations. The idea of leaving home for school would send her into panic mode. She is a complex young woman, so intelligent, easy going on the surface but panicky underneath, and faithful to a Lord she loves. Since they have found that Shawn is a match and the transplant will be done, Mack has shown an unusual rebellion toward her meds and treatments. For 8 years she has been responsible for keeping up with all her meds and diet and now that it is almost over she forgets to take them or doesn't do her breathing treatment. "Screw it", she said tonight to her Mom's inquiry. What is she thinking?? Actually, it is good to see some normal teenage rebellion in our near perfect girl.
Stephen King is having a good weekend after a sickly week with bronchitis. He got up and out early this morning just like the old Saturday routine; off to visit a sister or two, a son or two. Taking Caleb down to farm to meet Pete, our new Great Pyrenes puppy. He is for the sheep, a guard against coyotes and Big Foot. Yes Ladies, the big guy has been spotted in Paoli. There is an expert from Missouri investigating the area as I write this. Front page news in the local paper, so much more interesting than the five drug busts last week. Love, love, love our home town.
Treatment 3 comes on Wednesday. We are praying it is without lingering effects for Christmas activities. He isn't much of a Christmas fan to begin with and we aren't ready for Papaw on steroids for the Holidays. The Grinch lives in his heart, well, not just his, his 5 sisters don't care for it either. I have been puzzling this for 45 years and still have no answer. They all attest to wonderful Christmas times as children. They just don't get it as adults, I suppose. Stephen King has learned I will not be influenced by his scrooginess. I love Christmas, the story of our Savior's birth and the commercial side, too. I hate shopping but like to buy gifts. (I know). I love finding just the right gift for everyone on my list. This year is somewhat different; gifts are here, but tree isn't decorated yet and only partially finished with wrapping. But I have sugar cookies cooling, waiting to be iced and hot cinnamon candy waiting to be cracked into pieces. A few Santas from my large collection are on display and a red Scentsy light in the kitchen. Not a total wash out, but a little cheer. I'm looking forward to hearing our daughter-in-law sing "Mary, Did You Know" on Christmas morning, voice like a bell. Makes my eyes tear up and my heart swell.
Mom has been released from care by the orthopedic doc and the physical therapist, she is just having difficulty remembering that she can use her arm now. Deb has taken care of her Christmas cookies and fudge. Mom insists she has to have them for Christmas Eve with the family. Once again we will all gather at our niece Stori's for our celebration. The King's missed it last year since Mack and Maddie were in Riley, so we are really excited about it. Stori and Jamey have 5 kiddos, 3 natural and 2 adopted. The boys Ian 2 and Chad 4 are from the Congo and are so beautiful. Liv, Parker and baby Owen are the the other beautifuls. Liv is the oldest and only girl, which she loves, Parker is 10 and is the smartest kid I know. He has the mind of a scientist and the curiosity of a boy, a regular Indian Jones, I say. Owen is just 6 months old, he was a surprise baby. They were considering adopting from the Congo again when Owen showed up. Sweetest, happiest gift from God. I love our family Christmas Eve, so many memories shared here and so many little guys I don't get to see as often as I'd like. Jamey and Stori bless us with their open home.
I have pink eye this morning, an unexpected gift from some unknown benefactor. Antibiotic drops will have me seeing by midweek, I hope, there is alot more to do round here than wear sunglasses and spray Lysol. Life is a party here in the Valley. Take care, Ladies. talk to me.

Friday, November 11, 2011


We have seemimgly been blessed, Stephen King has had very few side effects to his first chemo treatment. Some indigestion and jittery voice appear to be it. His session lasted 7 hours yesterday and will be repeated every 3 weeks for 6 treatments, so he is in for a long haul this winter. Actually we both were surprised at the ease we felt at the cancer center. The staff is wonderfully supportive without smothering the patients. The other patients are kind, respectful and quiet. Steve read alot, but couldn't nap because of the massive amount of steroids he had been given prior to treatment and the near constant need to empty his bladder! All that fluid has to be released. He was jittery and almost giggly from the steroids, which I quite enjoyed watching. Usually he isn't a giggly man!
It is now Friday morning and all is well. the only side effect is the jittery voice and a tendency to rattle on about anything. And everything. Courtney and I have been entertained by this especially during the evening. Stephen King does a running commentary on all the TV shows. He is a faithful Jon Stewart fan and apparently the steroids have increased his love for him. I cannot decide which is funnier; Jon talking about politics or Stephen King loudly and RAPIDLY repeating Jon talking about politics. Totally sarcasm squared!
We are maintaining the status quo here in the Valley, living as near a normal life as we can. Except I am more conscious of each day, each sunrise and sunset than I've ever been. We have been blessed by this and by each other and we really, really know it.
Thanks for all your loving support, Gaggle. Talk to me, Girls. I love you all.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hello all,
      Just when you think you have a plan... you get a wake up call from the Man in charge. Stephen King and I planned our lives long ago: I'd stay home raise the kids, keep house while he made the living. Then I'd finish school, have a career and he would retire early. About that time, his company restructured and he lost his job, just before retirement. God laughed. But He saw us thru it and Steve found a less stressful job for a few years. Then retired. If anyone ever enjoyed retirement it is Stephen King. After 40 + years of days starting at 4:00 AM and ending after dark, he was free to do what he wanted. He became my "house bitch". Our joke. He made beds, washed dishes and shopped. I found this wonderful. Grocery shopping is my most dreaded chore. Ok, back to the Plan. After a rough year we decided I would retire, too. God starts grinning here, the state decided I had worked 30 days too little to get my pension. OK, we can live without it. We decide to travel. Stephen King begins to complain about his aching back. Pulled muscle? Docs agree. Chiropractor declares 6 weeks of adjustments are called for. Maybe not the answer. Doc wants tests, xrays, bone scans, lab work, catscans. God cries alittle here, I think...Lung cancer that has spread to the bones. Spine, hip, femur, breast bone and collar bone. We wait while the biopsy is being examined, and wait, and wait. Of course, I have to do some research. Never do research. There is NOTHING good about this. But God has smiled at us again, the cancer is adencarcinoma, a common type usually treatable with good results. No cure, but time. Chemo therapy begins next week and Stephen King has decided he will breeze thru it and carry on with his plans. I cannot take that optimistism away from him by repeating horror stories of chemo I have always heard. Attitude and faith will see us thru this. We will lean on each other as always. Throughout our 45 years together, it has been us against the world. From two kids falling in love against everyone's advice to retired geezers having God laugh at our plans, we are together, hand in hand. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, we learned this so many lessons ago. We are still here. And God is still smiling at us.
      Stephen King wants us to keep our life normal, no moping around, no hidden tears, no whispered secrets. And so we are. I had dinner last night at the Winery with my Spring Break girls and he took a long walk with Hank the dog and Ian the 3rd son. We both had a wonderful time. The boys and their families were here tonight Trick or Treating and having soup and cupcakes. When Courtney gets here on Monday, we will do the same things we always do when she visits. The treatments will just be worked in around our planned activities. Sunday we will have our big party for Stephen King and Trent, who missed being born on his dad's birthday by 4 hours. Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving, staying with my mom will all go on as usual. He is cllingthe shots and we will go along as long as we must.
     As for me, I'm still numb. My friend who saw her son thru lynmphoma, tells me to stay numb. I know I should be experiencing something else, something profound, painful, scary. But not yet. I check every morning, asking myself, "Is it here yet? That overwhelming feeling of helplessness". But it isn't. I know it will come. I know it has to come. But not now, God must not be ready for it yet. I know I'm not.
      Talk to me, Ladies. Love, Hedy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hello Ladies,
    I have always been a realist, perferring to know the facts and deal with any issue head on. But we received some news yeterday that has shaken us into wanting to hide from the truth. Stephen King's backaches are not from a pulled muscle afterall, he has bone cancer coming from lung cancer. Makes me want to crawl in a hole and cover my head, but that isn't going to happen here! We will follow the doctors' lead and fight this. It isn't curable, but they will treat it to stop progression and pain. Steve's general good health and strong body will help him fight this, as will his attitude. If ever anyone had an is the Kings!

His take on this is that it sucks. But we have handled lots of things in our 45 years together; massive head injuries from a work accident, bone tumors, house fires, lupus, drug addicted kid, critically ill grandchildren, death of parents. Ahhh the list goes on, each seemed insurmountable in its time, but we made it successfully through each of them. This may have a different outcome, but we will deal with it in our usual way, day by day, step by step, head on. Reality sucks but it has to be dealt with, it doesn't go away. Steve said yesterday, "Another test. As long as it is strength, not smarts, I'm OK". Always has a smart remark, he has.

Please, send up your prayers, good thoughts, or positive vibes, whatever is your belief, for us. We will need support from all our friends with this one. Talk to me. Love

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Good Sunday morning to you all,
        It is a lovely fall weekend in the Valley, we had a big frost last night. I'm glad that I haven't had flowers on my porches this summer to be bitten. Trent took mine to their house when we were in Florida and I never brought them back here. Nina has coaxed them into beautiful blooms all summer and they are still going strong. With my time being spent at Mom's, I would have neglected the flowers and they woud have been long gone by now. I'll bring the ferns home for my parlor soon and hope they will winter well. I may pick up a mum or two today just to brighten up the porch.
        My family continues to care for our mother around the clock, she is much improved, but living alone is not a possibilty yet. Nor may it be in the future. The physical injury has exaggerated the Alzheimers' symptoms and the fear of another fall keeps us close to her side. My sister, brothers, and sisters-in-law share the responsibility of staying with Mom, rotating every 24 hours. The boys are only available on weekends, but are right there when they can be. We all are very close to Mom, each in our own way; I'm the oldest and have a bond with her, Deb has been able to spend time over the years helping Mom with cleaning and Christmas shopping and day to day life, Mike is the first boy and the Golden Child, we all say, and Rob is Mom's baby boy.  He came as a surprise to her and Dad when the rest of us were teenagers. And he has always been a blessing, keeping them young, they always said.  We all know this may be a long journey for our family and are willing to continue as long as it takes. Thankful we have each other to help us stay strong.
        The transplant process is slowly continuing for Mackenzie. This week brought another Riley visit and a ton of lab work. When this is analyzed, they will test her parents for a donor match. We feel it is taking too long, but know this team is the best in the nation for pediatric transplants and will trust their judgement. It is rather like sitting on a skillet which grows hotter and hotter each day, and not being able to jump off. Mack has been feeling unwell for the last few weeks, but is at school each day, working on her school yearbook, keeping her grades up inspite of it all. We went to Bloomington yesterday afternoon to get some outfits for Senior pictures. She had taken her SATS that morning and had a ton of nervous energy to work off, by 6:00pm she was zonked out in the backseat. No late Saturday nights for her until after the trnsplant. A transplant is going to give her more than just  healthy kidney, it will give Mackenzie a normal teenage life. She has been ill since she was 9 and doesn't know normal life or feeling good. I cannot wait for her to experience life at full power. She is such a sweet girl, trusting in her parents, her doctors and her God to keep her safe.
       Courtney will be here for the month of November. We are counting the days. She has had strep and even had a doctor make a house call! I was surprised to hear that in Australia it is not unusual to have a heatlh insurance policy which provides a doc come round whenever one is too ill to get out. Their doctor has recently relocated across the city and they decided to use this service. She was quite impressed by the lady who showed up after Ken's call. Competent and professional and reassuring that her high fever and earache were something treatable and not the plague Court felt it to be! 
         I cannot believe it is already Thursday again, where are we rushing to these days? I expected retirement to be a slowed down version of life, but amazingly it moves even faster than the world of work. I attempt to enjoy quiet moments each day and not just live for weekends, however, some days are gone before I know it. I have been home alone for a few hours this morning and have truly enjoyed the action of stripping beds, sweeping floors and pressing clothing. It feels so normal but it has been weeks since I have done these chores at one time. Usually it is a bit of laundry here, a run through with the vac there and finger pressing the wrinkles from my tops and shaking out my jeans! :-). I plan to take Mom to see The Help this evening, she read the book earlier, but has forgotten most of it. I'm excited for her to see the film, she enjoys movies. At least movies on Lifetime, which don't require much attention. My oh my that network tries my patience with its made for TV nonsense. Our lives are challenging, but imagine how one would survive some of those ridiculous situations on there!
         I bought a bright yellow mum for my porch as we came home from Indy on Tuesday. It looks so nice and cheerful in the big green pot Shawn gave me for my birthday. A point of light in an otherwise drab porch. I got Shawn and Mom a couple of them for their porches too. We all need some color to perk us up and I love fresh flowers. Maybe I'll be a florist when I grow up! Spreading the joy one plant at a time.
        Stephen King has suffered back pain all summer and it continues to nag him, but he is going to put a new roof on the house this month with the help of the boys. I'm so excited to see that happen, the old green shingle roof is tired and dirty. A clay colored metal roof will up the cheerful vibe around this homestead. I plan to paint the garage and garden shed next spring and put one of those barn quilts on the garage. Our little place is nestled into a hillside and it will be sweet to fancy it up abit. The house is a cosy place inside and these changes will help the outside feel cosy too. Love fluffing up the home place!
        The Fall Gagglefest is set for Janelle's on Oct. 21 and I cannot wait to see everyone and catch up with all of my girlies. This is a special group for me, most of my friends have been local and usually family connected until the Gaggle. Never have I meet a stronger group of ladies. All of them work full time as wonderful counselors or teachers and still take care of their families without missing a beat. Each faces her own struggle but is always quick to respond to a friend in need. Old Mothergoose is blessed to be part of this gang.
         Now I really have to shower and get to Mom's. My sister-in-law has had all the fun she needs in the last 24 hours and I get my turn. How blessed we are to have such loving girls in our brothers' wives.  Carol and Donna are more than in-laws, they are daughters to Mom. And we all love them for it.
        Enjoy this wonderful weather, everyone. Talk to me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9-11 Ten Year Anniversary has past without another attack on our country, but each time we hear that date we relive the horror and the fear of that day. Time cannot bring back those who lost their lives, nor can time remove the horror our country witnessed. I believe 9-11 was the day US citizens realised we were living a dream. We have unconsciously (maybe) assumed nothing bad could happen to our nation. Maybe individuals could suffer or be brought down, but our nation was invincible. The USA was above the rest, untouchable, teflon, now we have to realise we are vulnerable. A difficult lesson.
9-20-11. I cannot believe I didn't post that. My days seem to be running together without pause. Mom continues to need care. Her arm is progressing nicely, but she still cannot care for herself. At times it becomes too emotional to handle and I break a little. A few tears, lots of sighs then back to action. I miss my mom. She comes and goes, but is never totally herself. We never lose the need to be mothered, but now the roles are reversed.  I know so many of us will experience a parent with dementia issues, but until you do it is impossible to imagine the emotions involved. Helplessness is enormous, sadness, but tempered with the joy of being allowed to give care to someone who cared for you.
We had a King reunion this weekend. It was great to visit with cousins we hadn't seen in years. Kids I remember as pre-teens, suddenly have children of their high school! How times flies. Fun to see similarities between the children of first cousins who do not remember each other. Even names are shared in some cases, Kenzie King is a 17 year old senior and a 2 year old toddler. Both with sweet, round faces and spunky attitudes. Seeing a 16 year old Marnie play croquette with two year old Ada brings back memories of their mothers, Tonya and Carla, playing volleyball as little girls.  
More later, Ladies. I'm running late. Talk to me. ps Elaine, it was terrific to hear from you. I miss you so much. Love

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hello Ladies, another Monday morning here, I've decided today will be the start of my scheduled quilt time. I will devote 2 hours to Whitt's cowboy quilt first. He is a year old already, so I need to get it finished and sent off to Chicago before he grows up! It is a simple 10 inch block quilt with a variety of cute cowboy fabrics and a horsie applique. I'm framing each block in a beige lasso print. I think I'm happy with it now, I've ripped and replaced a couple of times already.
Hi, again! This is Friday already. it has been another busy week. Monday was my night at Mom's and on Tuesday she had an appointment in Bloomington to get her new hearing aide. Our 12th trip messing with this one between Mom putting one in the garbage disposal and the doctor breaking another one. We are beginning to doubt the value of hearing! This trip turned into a lengthy shopping trip, as Mom wanted to go to Kohls. Now you know my disgust with WalMart, well Kohls is a close second on my shopping meter. I love online shopping, no stress at all sitting in my living room, clicking on pretty things to purchase.
On Wednesday, Shawn and I took Mackenzie to Riley to meet with the transplant team co-ordinator and her kidney doctor. She is a gracious lady, calm and full of info we will need for our journey to a new kidney for Kenz. We can start the testing of donors now, she gave us the criteria list. Her surgeon will not accept anyone over 50, so some of our volunteers are automatically ruled out. But we are confident that a match will be found within the family soon. They would like to do the surgery just before the Holidays to allow a long recovery without missing much school. Keep her in your prayers, please.
We got some great news this week, Ken is sending Courtney home for the month of November! She has been suffering from a big case of homesickness since Mom and Kenz are both having health issues, so he decided to surprise her. She was ruled out as a donor because the blood types aren't a match, so she thought she wouldn't be coming back until 2012. He is such a good guy. He understands how close Court is to Kenz and knows she needs to be here for awhile. We can't wait!
Janelle has offered to host a FallDown Gagglefest in Sept. I do hope we can all get there! I miss my geese! Of course, I was the one who didn't make the last one. I'm putting the end of Sept on my calendar and praying nothing interferes with that weekend. My summer world consisted of going from our house to Mom's, Stephen King did our shopping and took care of himself, I didn't have our Sunday suppers with the kids or get away for short trips as we usually do. So I am ready for some good conversation and a little dip in the counseling/education world again and catching up on all the happenings with these ladies.
Actually, I am meeting some friends from school this evening at the Winery, our first get-together since spring. This is the group that takes Spring Break together and have always been my closest friends at work. I expect to hear all the stories about the first 3 weeks of school, horror and funnies! I purposely haven't gone into school yet. I don't trust myself not to set up business and never leave. The phone calls keep coming from parents, students and teachers seeking support and advice which I can deal with. But actually being there seems like too much of a challenge.
I want to report that the scheduled quilting time hasn't happened this week since Monday! I just haven't been home long enough to do it. I planned to sneak in a few minutes this morning to get a border on Whitt's quilt. Wish me luck!
It looks like a beautiful weekend in the Valley, as we pray for the East coast. Earth quakes and hurricanes striking so hard. Take care and enjoy the weekend. Talk to me. Love

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Hello Ladies,
I made it. Valley went to school this morning and I slept right through it! I may have some doubts and down moments, but at this moment, I feel confident that retiring was the correct decision. I am so happy to be able to help my mom through her recovery. I shudder to think I would have to return to my office instead. Several folks have texted, messaged and called to ask how I feel about not going back, and I have to honestly say, "I haven't given it a thought!" I'm finished with that part of my life; no regrets, no seconds thoughts and no looking back.
When Mom gets on her feet and we are no longer staying at night, I m going to quilt everyday. I plan to have a scheduled morning quilting hour or two. I have so many tops to finish, patterns to cut and quilts to quilt or have quilted, I know that scheduling time will ensure they get done. I do believe that choosing fabric is the big thrill for me, maybe I should just buy fabric and gift it to a real quilter! I suppose that might cause custody issues when they were finished though.
Stephen King's garden is done. The tomatoes have just about dried up on the vines. Guess there will be no juicing this fall. He has spent many long, hot hours out ther this summer and the results were delicious. I am happy he enjoys gardening, it fills lots of empty hours for him. I do wish he had another hobby though, maybe woodworking or something like it. TV seems to rot his brain, he continues to watch NBA games from the 80s and movies from the 30s. Not just watch but ENJOY! Makes me sad to see his little head shrinking. He does spend time reading, and I love that. But he tends to drop off after a few chapters and wants to share what he's reading with me. I have a rule DON'T READ TO ME AND I WON'T READ TO YOU. He isn't quite up on that one yet.
The kiddos are starting school tomorrow and none of them are excited about it at all. The boys and Madeleine haven't had enough playtime and Mackenzie isn't sure about her senior year. The transplant is likely to interfere with school this year at some point, but we don't know when. Not knowing is difficult for her. Mack is a good patient but would like to have more of a definite timeline. She plans on working on the yearbook from her bed, she hasn't talked about the rest of her classes! I know the kids will all settle into school in a matter of days. They are all good students and learn like eager beavers. Their friends are all at school and the little ones are social butterflies. Caleb will play basketball this year and I would be thrilled if the doctors allowed Maddie to play. She is a born athlete, but hasn't been healthy enough to play in the past, with the last surgery we hope her heart will be strong enough.  Gavin has done soccer and tennis, but 1st grade doesn't have basketball. It will be something to start all those school activities over again with these boys, their dad's kept us busy in the 80s. I really cannot believe my boys are in their forties, gee, where did all the time go?
Have a stack of ironing waiting for me, Girls. Talk to me, Love

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Real Life

We are back to real life here in the Valley, you can escape for only so long. Mom fell in her yard and broke her wrist and shoulder 2 weeks ago and has required 24/7 care since. My sister and sisters-in-law have been wonderful, jumping in to help with her care. We rotate through the week 24 hours at a time. so blessed to have such a loving family.
Stephen King and I just finished the corn; we have quite an operation, him outside shucking, blanching in a big canner on the gas grill, me inside dumping it in icy water and cutting it off with the electric knife and bagging it up. It is finished for another year, and if it doesnt rain soon, our garden with it. Our tomatoes are desparate for water. Overall, Stephen King has had a banner year with his garden this year, love to have some tomatoes to can though! We never seem to be satisfied with what blessing we have, always asking for just a little more. Must have come from Eve and that danged apple!.
Bless her heart, Mom held out till I was almost home from vacation to get hurt. We had a terrific time in Cape San Blas, relaxing, swimming, playing on the beach, and lots of reading and eating. Caleb was amazed at the amount of food we  bought, cooked and ate. He kept asking, " What are we going to do with all this food." I think it was because lots of it had to be put on the counter at the bar. Our house was new, modern, and beautiful but lacked a pantry and good storage. This drove me crazy, as I like everything put away out of sight.  Apparently it bothered Cabe too! 
Yesterday was a fun day for my girls and I. We headed to Clarksville for our annual school shopping and lunch. Mackenzie is a senior so this will be our last for high school , but I'm sure IUS will require a trip or two next year. Madeleine is a 6th grader this year and she is ready to go. Her last year at Throop Elementary. Only our boys remain. I promised them a trip for boys only this week. In the first and second grades, they have lots of school years to prepare for. Caleb is not quite as enthused about the whole deal as we would wish. He seems to like freedom and play much better than learning. Or at least better than sitting and listening. He and Gavin are bright boys, quick to catch on the new concepts and they get along well with other kids. And can charm most adults into whatever they desire!  To add to the fun day, Shawn and I took all the littles to see "The Smurfs" last night. It was a cute movie, so much less annoying than SpongeBob or even than the old TV show. After the movie Stephen King and I joined the kids at Trent and Nina's pool. An after dark swim was just the ticket after a hot busy day. So quiet down on the farm at night, just the stars and some heat lightening for company, we floated around quietly chatting. Gavin went to sleep in a floatie on Shay's lap. So peaceful.
This week brings another Riley visit for Mack, this one to the pulmonologist. Her lungs have responded well to the new antibiotic, but still  inhibit her activity. A new kidney will help her breathe better by sending clean blood to those damaged lungs. The disease is dormant, just scar tissue remains in the lungs, so keeping the undamaged areas healthy is critical. We are waiting for the initial meeting of the transplant team, so we can start the family testing. So many have offered to donate if they match. Wonderful, caring people, family and friends plus a few strangers who have heard of Mack's need for a kidney.
Mom is healing well, better than expecting at her age. We will just keep doing what we are doing till they can start physical therapy in a couple of weeks. She has been a pleasant patient so far, but the PT may bring on more pain than she can graciously deal with. And that's OK, she deserves to complain a bit. She has always been a quiet, gracious lady and with this injury her biggest complaint is feeling guilty that she has to "bother" us girls. As if she hasn't devoted her whole life to taking care of her family... we are just paying our dues! It truly has been a pleasure to do for her. I hate to see her hurting and helpless, but I have loved being with her for all the hours, even sleeping in the big king bed beside her. Watching over her and making her comfortable makes me happy. I am so glad I have retired and can do this. 
Talk tome ,Ladies. Love you all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Week 2 begins with a thunder storm that catches me and the little ones on the road to Port St. Joe! It is quickly over though and the heat intensifies well into the 90s. We return to the house and collect the others for a trip to Appalachicola and St. George Island. Surrounded by such beauty in the land and seascapes, I am smiling with joy. The guys, Stephen King and son, returned to Indiana yesterday morning after a pretty pleasant week. Papaw settled into the groove of vaca after a day or so and enjoyed himself. He still finds no attraction with the ocean, preferring mountains, but was sweet to try.
Kenz hurt her foot in the pool and has hobbled around for 2 days, minimizing her discomfort and replying "fine" when asked how it feels, She attempts to keep a good spin on the whole trip. The translant is obviously on her mind, as she searches the internet for experiences from other organ recipients. I think she has resolved her qualms about the surgery and just wants to get it over with at this point. Hopefully, we will find a quick family match and put this behind us by fall. My prayers are for peace and good health for Mackenzie, she has been ill since she was 9 and has no memories of being an active little girl. A series of seizures a few years ago, took away most of her childhood memories.
Maddie has had a good time, quietly observing all the rest of us, playing with her daddy and Caleb in the water and demonstrating her own teenage angst! She turned 12 last week and is already having meltdowns which require slamming doors, silent stares and mouthy responces to adults. I'm amazed at some of her antics! She has always been so laid back it is funny to see her having normal reactions. I have a difficult time reprimanding her, we have waited so long for her to communicate her feelings. Didn't expect such strong feelings though! I realize some of this is the ADD and OCD along with her communication disorder and we should be redirecting her towards more appropriate behavior. How hard it is when the child is yours and not a client or student. I am encouraged by such typical adolescent actions from Madeleine.
Shayla is here with us, leaving the others behind. She was not about to let a Florida trip pass her by. She is showing some homesickness though, a little crying spell, lots of phone time, but overall, she is satisfied. Shay enjoys being with the cousins and grandparents wherever we are. She is up for the beach, the pool or shopping. She always volunteers for clean-up duty and will sleep on a rock if necessary with no complaint. This house feels smaller than some others we've rented, but everyone has had a good place to sleep. I insist on that when I rent. Sleep is important even on vacation.
We have had 2 days of rain with clear evenings. Maddie and I play pool volleyball til it is too dark to see, laughing everytime she serves over my head and I roll under the water. It is Tuesday morning and everyone but me is down by the pool soaking up rays, as much as 70 SPF allows! Of course, I have to avoid the direct sun and spend my time on 1 of the decks, reading and watching the kids and the waves. Yesterdays rain allowed me to hear the surf! Usually I try to sleep with my door or window open, but here Im in a room facing the road, not the water. :-(
The girls have planned on a mini-shopping trip this afternoon to Port St. Joe's boutiques. Mexico Beach has a nice little Life Is Good shop that we will visit too. I love the things from that company and have been eyeing a new tote. But really, do I need another totebag? But this one is striped in the colors of the sea! But didn't I just donate bags to Goodwill when I cleaned closets? I do not need another! But.....
Our car will be so full of people and luggage going home that our purchases are limited. Shayla and I will be riding with Shawn and the kids since the guys took my Jeep home. I want a large clay pot for my yard, but doubt if we can make room. I'm thinking a water feature from it to add alittle something to my back garden. Stephen King sent me pix of tomatoes from his garden last night!  He has taken green beans, cabbages and cucumbers to my sister and Mom this week. I hope I don't miss all the good stuff! I intend to can tomatoes and freeze corn later. Stephen King raises great corn! Our tomatoes are usually a little iffy, for some reason. But there is nothing better than produce straight from the garden into the kitchen.
Shawn's mom and nephew are here this week, adding to our fun. Rosie is an old friend of ours and is so sweet and easy to be with. We have all been family for so long there are no uncomfortable moments, we just fit. She is a realtor and even in this economy her phone rings constantly, luckily we have poor reception on the Cape! I believe she is enjoying the break.
They are beginning to drift in for lunch, Caleb has eaten 3 bowls of cereal and 2 bagels and a bowl of strawberries! Nothing like an 8 year old boy to put away food. 
Having another terrific day in paradise, wish you all were here.. Talk to me! Love

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

62-- If You Say It Fast, It's Not So Bad!

Hi, I've always been an optimistic, cup half-full person,but this aging thing has been trying me. I won't give in though, promise! I have too much to look forward to from this point. Stephen King and I are easing into retirement and being together much more than we have for 25 years. He is attempting to make it easy for me to get settled into our new lifestyle, but I sometimes get into his routine and mess up his schedule. ie: cleaning up after meals, his 4 pm TV watching.  He is a man of strong habits and has his method cut in stone, and I sometimes don't fit into my place! I can see him stop, process what is happening, try to adjust, and bend with the wind! Such a giant step for a man accustomed to having things his way! I think we will get along fine, even if the family has bets on how long before one of us moves out! hehehe.
As of now, Monday morning, we are leaving for Cape San Blas on Friday morning at 8:00. Nothing packed yet, we don't possess vaca clothes per se, just wear our regular things with the exception of swimsuits. We will include them, but it remains to be seen if they are worn. I'm a night time pool person and Stephen King doesn't care for pools or oceans, so they probably will not get out of the suitase. I did buy 2 pair of shorts for beach walking, my capris always end up wet. I am daring enough to take some tank tops and expose my fishbelly upper arms to the sun. Bystanders will be encouraged to look away! Between his white legs and my white arms, others may suffer blindness if they look directly at us! We love roadtrips and since he hasn't been to the area, Stephen King is anxious to get started. He told Stephen we would leave them behind if they weren't up and ready when we take off. Luckily we have hotel reservatons for Friday night and the kids can travel at their own speed. We like to stop and look around small towns along the way, something the kids usually don't do on the way down. It is more of a challenge to round up 3 or 4 kids and get back on the road than it is 2 old geezers! And the kiddos are seldom interested in antique shops or historical markers.
 Of course our garden is just coming on as we leave. Nina and Trent are put on harvest duty, I hope to have some green beans left to enjoy. The tomatoes, corn and peppers will be later so we will still have good stuff for August. This has proven to be a good garden season with all the rain and heat. Cabbage, broccoli and squash have tasted so good and fresh. I can give up meat during the summer without a doubt. Stephen King fried rabbit livers for his supper last night, I was happy with mashed potatoes and fresh garden cucumbers. Really, rabbit liver. Domestic bunnies, at that, as in Bugs Bunny and Peter Cottontail.  Kinda like eating Hank or the cat twins, Hunk n Zeke. But that's just me. :-)
Heard from two of my Gaggle this week, Jill is retiring!!! I hope to spend some time in roadtrip adventureland with her. Alison is experiencing another annoying health issue! Doctors assure her it is common and easily dealt with, but poor Al has heard that before. I wish for an overnight with my girls to talk and laugh and cry this stuff out. Maybe later in July. Take care, Alison, we all love you. 
Courtney has tested as a possible match for Mackenzie's transplant, but until the appointment on July 19 we won't really know the criteria for a match. Mack doesn't want to talk about it over vacation, so we won't. We are going to relax, laugh, swim, eat, shop, walk and see the sights. No serious, worrisome thoughts will be allowed. Sure it is denial, but what is wrong with that? We deal with issues and fears and threats everyday, we can take a couple of weeks off. I recommend it for everyone. Lighten up and live. Life is for our enjoyment and so much of our lives we do not take the time and conscious effort to enjoy it. God gave us the ability to experience joy, failing to do so is a shame. He wants His children to be happy. Enjoyment is not a sin. I want my kids and grandkids to remember the wonderful times we spent together, not how hard we worked.
Thursday is filled with appointments from the 7:30 AM dentist to the 9:45 doctor to the 2:00 haircut. I may be worn out on Friday morning, but I'll have teeth and good hair! I cannot tell you how much I enjoy a roadtrip. I can never sleep the night before. More than once, we have taken off in the middle of the night and driven straight through to our destination, unable to sleep, we might as well drive! Those days are in the past, now we leave a little later, stop often and get a room half way there. But the excitement of travel still remains.
I'll check in from the beach, Ladies. Wish you were here! Love

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


We received the phone call tonight that we have been expecting for 8 years; Mackenzie's kidney function has fallen to a critical range and the transplant procedure begins. Her kidneys are only functioning at 11%, much worse than we thought from her lab work. She is upset, angry, scared, mostly scared. Mack has very rare blood type, B-, only 3% of the population has this. But the donor doesn't necessarily need to have B-, just negative. That makes the odds of a match within the family better. I cannot donate because of the Lupus, Stephen King and her other grandmother are borderline too old and her other papaw has only one kidney, he donated the other to his younger brother years ago. Odd to have two people in the family needing transplants, but her uncle's disease was not the same as the Weggners which struck Mack. We all feel that Courtney will be the match and she is being tested today in OZ. The doctor thinks if we find a family donor, the surgery can take place in 2-3 months, so Mack could be recovering by the Holidays. A much better Holiday than last with Madeleine having her heart surgery in early December and both girls in Rileys for the whole Christmas break. We are blessed they had such good results then, but Christmas in a hospital stinks!
We were all at Stephen and Shawn's tonight for Caleb's 8th birthday party. The phone call put a damper on the festivities for a brief time, but we all knew we had to celebrate this sweet boy. He has been so excited about his big day that I took him to WalMart, yes me in that place, two weeks ago to pick out his gifts. He chose them, I purchased them, we took them home to a closet for safe keeping and he got them out tonight to open! He was so afraid that I wouldnt go back to WalMart, we had to get them then! He knows G-ma too well.
Our niece went into labor tonight with her 5th child, yes Elaine 5th, she has two biological children and two adopted from the Congo. This little one was a surprise. Their kids are 11, 8, 3 and 2. There is so much love in that home you can feel it from the street! We know little Owen will fit right in. They were hoping for a girl, but Liv will be the lone sister among those 4 boys. She thinks that's OK, it is good to be the only princess in the land.
Only 9 days left before we leave on vacation. After tonight, we are all even more excited about going. We relax and pretend the world isn't out there waiting while we laugh  and play and eat and swim and enjoy the company of our family. I am so relieved to know that we have those 2 weeks to prepare ourselves for the next few months, they will be a challenge to all of us. Most of all our Mackenzie Rose. Please, pray for strength and grace to bless us. Talk to me. Love

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Hi Ladies, another Saturday almost over. The weekends fly by, don't they? Our guys are building decks today around the pools at each house. Stephen King tries to keep up with his sons as they both try to stay a step ahead of the old man. It is heart-warming to watch them all look out for each other. Shawn and I took the littles to see KungFoo Panda, another 3D adventure. They aren't made for adults, my eyes feel pulled out of socket watching through those glasses and my stomach turns with each scene change. I don't think the rocking chair in the theater helps either. G-ma loves a rocker, but really now in a theater?
Our Jill lost her mother again this week. I say again because the loss came a few years ago when Alzheimers struck this lively lady. I remember Jill talking about the changes she was seeing, the confusion, the crankiness, the strange person showing up in her mom's place. I remember thinking that they were losing her a little each day. The last year has been very difficult for Jill, her sister and father, as their loved one has been replaced by someone who doesn't recognise them or even herself.
 My dad had several strokes in the years before he left us, and I thought then that my dad  was not my dad anymore. So much that made him unique was taken with each incident, by the time he suffered the big stroke which would take his life, there was . I supposed Jill felt the same about her mom. My mother has early onset Alzheimers now, good days and bad days, you never know what you are getting. Mom is pretty good most days, cannot remember the day before, but ready for a new one. But somedays she sits on the couch in her pajamas and stares. She refuses to do anything, fussing when you attempt to make her eat or move. She seems to be lost, looking inside for something she had, but has misplaced. I wonder if she is looking for Dad or herself, maybe. Oh, she loses things, too; jewelry, purses, books, hearing aides and the notebook we check-in on as we visit her. This was to help her keep track of who had been there. It has been in the exact same spot for nearly 2 years, but it is gone. We checked everywhere in the house, garage, yes, even the trash. No sign of the notebook. She swept her 3 day old hearing aid off the breakfast table with the toast crumbs, into her napkin, and shook it into the garbage disposal one morning this week. Mom has always been tidy to the point of washing your cup with your lips still drinking from it. Tidyness cooked her goose this time. My daughter-in-law picked the aid from the disposal in tiny pieces after Mom complained of a noise in it. We are losing Mom but cherish each minute with her now. Jill reminds us to do that.
The weather is finally blessing us with real spring days of late. I love 75 and sunny. And that is what we have had this week. Storms brewing tonight and hazy, hot and humid returning for the weekend, but I am grateful for these right now. I've had my first at-home all day day. And I cleaned bookshelves. Now that doesn't sound like much, but you haven't seen my book shelves, probably. Books, mail, cards, fabric, nail polish, meds, pencils, sea shells, stones?, pictures, water glasses, eye glasses, coffee cups. And a few stale Fritos. But how clean and neat they are now. why at this rate my entire house will be clean before I turn 75. How do we amass so much? Paper, paper everywhere,  I hate it. I think I will stop the mail delivery to our home, just cut it off before it gets here. Nip it in the bud! I read on a Kindle now, but still have books and more books, I overcame my magazine addiction(somewhat), but still they sneak in. I'm way behind in sending birthday cards, yet my sweet friends still honor me with their good wishes from Hallmark. We pay our bills online, still the utility companies send paper statements. Junk mail is trashed without opening, and the offers for weird items still fill our box. Paper, paper everywhere. OK, where was I?
Oh, by the way, it is now Tuesday evening and I have to run to the kitchen and pretend to be slaving over supper for Stephen King. He is at Trent's working on their new pool deck again. It is going to be such a nice addition to their home. He is much more conscientious about the daughters-in- law having finished products than he is for my projects, but that's fine. I am too, only the best for our girls, right?
  Only 16 days until this group heads south and I'm getting antsy, Ladies. Talk to me.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A New Beginning

As of yesterday, "I am retired." It feels strange to say that and I imagine come August it will feel stranger not to be among the workforce. Back to school has been such a part of my summers for so long, I wonder how it will be to not return. I hope to enjoy a nice long summer before finding out! I am excited for this summer despite the extreme heat we are experiencing. We have lots of plans for family trips, visits and home improvements. Stephen King is willing to take some short roadtrips with me to places we have visited before and even some new spots we have always wanted to see. Of course, a reduction in gas prices would help those trips  be more frequent, but probably not gonna happen.
Our Mackenzie got the word from her nephrologist that we will be meeeting with the transplant team next visit to Riley Hospital. He assured her that doesn't mean a transplant is imminent, just sometime in the near future. We have all known this was coming, but just like Dr. Draper's "elephant in the room" we don't discuss a timeframe. Mack is showing some anger at this right now. She has handled her illness with dignity and poise for so long, but hasn't decided how to deal with this latest announcement. She is focusing on our Florida trip in July with so much eagerness, it cannot get here soon enough. She will be staying the whole two weeks this year. Last year her family had to leave after 8 days so Mom and Dad could return to work. Mom isn't working now and Dad will go back to Indiana with Stephen King after the first week. Yes, HE has decided he might just come along this time. Of course, that is subject to change!
The kids are doing well overall, the boys are growing into big guys, no sign of babyness left there at all. They are full of themselves; Cabe is such a storyteller, I do believe he will write or be on stage and Gavin is a thinker, a questioner, asking "what if" about everything.  I have always been partial to little boys and these two are no exception. They can just grin at me and I melt. Gavin is taking tennis lessons this month and I'm excited to see how that turns out. I'll be taking him a few days and plan to stay and watch him learn. He is alot like me and his dad, as children we were somewhat awkward physically. Clumsy, maybe in my case. Gavin is long limbed and tall and frequently gets tied up. Tennis will be good for him, I wish we had offered lessons to Trent at his age. Caleb is playing baseball this summer, but spends most of his time talking to his team mates or the fans in the stands. Is there anything cuter than a first grader in a catcher's mask? He has to take it off to talk, it is so big on him. At that age, games are entertainment not competion. I laugh through all 7 innings.
Madeleine is growing up too, she is moody and becoming a preteen. Scary! Her silence is deeper, but not as frequent, she argues now, a new thing for her. And must have the last word, even though it is usually said under her breathe while she glares. Where did sweet Maddie go? I always assumed she would not be as affected by teen angst...wrong, Gma, wrong. She followed her dad up a 35 foot ladder to the roof of their 2 story house last week. Stephen in his work boots, Madd in her flipflops, Stephen wearing safety harness, Madd wearing her glasses! She is so quiet, he had no idea she was behind him until he stepped on the roof and looked around. Smiling her smirky grin, Maddie says, "I'm going to help you, Daddy". Now, our oldest is a big man, 6"7' but he is afraid of heights and chickens (no chickens on the roof, thank goodness) and he about fell off when he saw her standing at the top of that ladder. It ended well with no injuries and was so typical of Maddie. The child has no fear. Heart surgeries, heights, even chickens can't slow her down.
A lot of my time will now be spent with Mom. She is a surprise every day. Some days she answers the phone sounding like Mom, other days she is someone we do not recognise, old, confused and scared. Mostly good days though! My sister and I will divide up duties, as well as spend time together with Mom, the three amigos. We were inseparble when our kids were growing up, doing everything as a group. Our brother, Rob, wa a surprise baby and is only 10 months older than Stephen, so all three of us had kids together. Rob, Stephen, Trent, Josh, Courtney, Stori, Joe and then later Michael. Our sister-in-law, Carol was always there, too with her babes. We were blessed to all be so close. The cousins are more like siblings and continue their relationships as adults. Courtney's move to Australia and Joe's to Chicago have made it a little difficullt, but with email and FaceBook, they chat frequently. They are all parents themselves now, except Court and Michael, the older grandkids babysit for the younger. Family is precious.
My last week of work was strangly surreal - almost as if I were already gone. I just felt tired, not real emotional at all. I'm taking that as a sign I am ready to be done with it. The work, the politics, the complaints, the tears, and the laughs, the inside jokes, the practical jokes, the caring and the kids. I've done my best to help where I could, and offer support, rational thinking and the truth to all I served. I will miss the kids, my co-workers and the everyday routine. But I know I will continue the relationships I have with those who matter most to me.
I do want to make a swing through the noth to see you all in your environment soon. Just give me time to setttle. Talk to me, Ladies.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


My good friend lost her nephew this week in one tragic instant the 18 month old drowned in the family pool. This is as bad as life can be for a parent, to lose a child, the baby of the family, so precious, now gone. Due to an earlier loss, this boy thought of my friend as a grandmother, she was a constant in his brief life. I can only pray for her and his other family members. Prayer is the least and the most we can do, it is the ONLY thing that helps. I came across this little memo this week which struck me with its pertinence to this tragedy:
                    does not mean to be in a place where there i no noise, trouble or
                            hard work, it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in 
                            your heart.

Maybe all we can pray for is peace for the family at a time like this. Pray they will find peace.

I love you all. Hedy

Saturday, May 21, 2011



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Times...They are A Changin'

Good Morning Ladies, strange that I can find the time to blog while sitting at my work desk! Must be retiring soon :-) . I think I'm so covered up with work to finish, I don't know where to start. June 3 is coming soon, sooner than I thought it would. I've been invited to the Board meeting tonight (to be recognized) some of them will need me to wear a name tag! I plan to explain why they need to replace me, as opposed to just absorbing my position, remain calm and walk out with my head high and my dignity in tact. That's my plan; the reality may be a little more messy! My vice principal told me recently he plans to go into the classrooms next year and talk to them about respect. What a concept! Did you other counselors get that? Apparently he will use his "MagicWand" and make it happen. If you get my drift. I love this guy, he's a decent man. a great dad, a good administrator. But if he really thinks talking respect to middle school students is all it takes, God Help Him! Must be the Penis talking.
Alison. you know all our thoughts and prayers will be with you Friday. " A shot and a sheet". Really? Put me to sleep, then cut into my chest, Buddy. Hope this little surgery doesn't mess up your bikini line, Girl. I have something called fibrous dysplasia in my bones, which caused the scare when our boys were babies. Janelle had the extra tissue mass in the winter. Maybe we all just got a little extra. Just our luck, huh? I hope to get up north and see you all this summer. I missed my Baby time with Caleb this spring. Cannot wait to hold him for the first time, Elaine. I may just set up camp in your yard and hold court for a few days. Rocking the baby, baking cookies for the kids, mixing salsa and drinks for the adults. I miss you all.
Stephen King is putting out his garden in between floods. Potatoes and more tomato plants going in today. Rain not supposed to get here till 4:00. We only get 1-2 sunny days a week and have to take advantage when they come. I want to get my planters filled this week, but have to power wash porches first. We are beginning to mold in the Valley, everything has an icky, sticky surface on it. I think I'll do ferns on my front porch this year. What do you think? Last time I had ferns, I had birds' nests in them. It was neat to watch the eggs and hatchlings. All of a sudden, I'm loving birds and their songs. Shore birds and chickens have always been my favorites, but now the area songbirds are making me smile. Wish I could recognize their songs, but I am getting better at idenifying them by sight. Simple pleasures are what keep us going. Don't overlook them while waiting for the big things to happen.
My words are hiding from me right now. I need to hear from you all. Talk to me. Love

Monday, May 2, 2011

What In The World?

Hello Ladies, I seem to have been lost in space recently. Time certainly gets away when we are busy, doesn't it? I'm sorry to have missed you all at Gagglefest, I know it was a great time. My Mom is doing much better the last week or so. She seems more like herself. Our girls are doing well, Maddie is back to normal and Kenz is doing ok on the new meds. School is crazy, flooding keeps us closed or delayed several days this spring. Today is one of them; early dismissal at 10:00 due to 4 inches last night and water flowing downstream. Apparently much faster than anticipated. ISTEP was put off last week, wonder if we can get another extension from the State. And who cares anyway?
I'm still processing the news of Osama Bin Laden being killed. What does this mean to our world? He seems to have already been replaced by other evils. I'm sure the families of the victims of 9/11 are experiencing relief of some kind. I pray for world peace each morning, feeling that between the wild weather and the economy and the world situation, peace is very elusive and much needed in all our lives.
Our Dad passed away 12 years ago yesterday. Hard to believe it has been so long. I still look for him to be sitting on the glider when I pull up their drive. My Dad was a big presence in my life, I always attempted to make him proud because he had accomplished so much in his life. He was a fatherless boy in an age where they were not accepted. Family was the most important thing in Dad's life, he made sure we never doubted how much he loved us and how special each of us were to him. Dad always treated Mom like a precious jewel, telling her how pretty she was, making sure she had anything she might think she needed. In fact, she often says she wished he hadn't always given in to her requests. As in paneling the walls in the 70s! She wallpapered over them in the 90s and regrets both actions. They spoiled each other, as the oldest of 13 children, Mom only knew how to take care of others. She took care of everything in their world; we never lacked for clean clothing, fresh food or a clean home. Dad made the living and Mom took care of everyrhing else. Growing up in that home, in that era was like a fairytale. Most kids today wouldn't recognize that kind of home. It breaks my heart to know that. I wish everyone could experience it. I'm sorry my grand children didn't have the chance to know their Grandad Bob. He loved kids and would have had a time with our wild boys and the sweet girls. I try to keep the good times in my heart and let go of the time that has passed since we lost him. I do miss you, Dad.
I've been attempting to work through all the steps to retirement! Wow, it would be easier to keep working. Everyone must be notified in advance, paperwork falls from the sky, the phone calls from people keeping records are amazing. Who knew you cannot just stop working? You have to follow the yellow brick road to retirement. So far I've talked to Dorothy and the Wicked Witch but haven't heard from the Wizard! There wasn't nearly the hassle when Stephen King retired - the State has its hands in ours lives up the wazoo, Girls. By the time you all retire, educators will be farmed out to someone else. Like everything else in Indiana.
I have mixed emotions about retiring. Love my job, love my kids, love my staff. I worry about what will happen when I am not there. I know that's ridiculous, the school will go on just like it always has. It isn't that, it's just I know the needs and expectations. I can be replaced and hope to be, but what if I'm not? These kids need an adult to make contact with them everyday, say their name, notice them, smile and laugh with them, hold them accountable for their behavior, love them. An empty office cannot do that. On the other hand, I look forward to spending long days with my Mom, my sister, my husband, my kids. I want to finish things; my quilt tops, my house, maybe write some. I want to see new places with Stephen King, revisit places with my grandkids. Talk about old times with Mom.
Our oldest grandson begins a new time in his life soon. He will be gone from us for a long while. He is paying for his bad decisions in a way we cannot imagine. He seems to have accepted this and looks forward to gaining what he can from this time. I pray he returns to us a new version of the boy we love. He will be in my heart and prayers each day. He deserves a chance at life.
The girls and I have chosen our summer escape and will wait till July to go this year. The kiddos are excited about Fourth of July fireworks on the beach. All the little towns on the Cape have celebrations so we should see a nice display. Hopefully from our deck! But we may have to drive to town. We love Cape San Blas. It is so quiet and non-commercial. You feel like you are at home in the small towns. There are no highrises, no tourist traps, plenty of good restaurants, neat shops and beautiful beaches. Sssshhhhush, don't tell anyone about this paradise.
So many changes in the Gaggle; Kendra is walking aready, Janelle and Alison have had their health scares, Caleb has been born and I'm sure someone else is planning a baby. I hope to see and hear from each of you soon. I miss you all. Talk to me. Love

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We all make choices everyday, some with little thought or consequence and others that require more consideration and carry heavier costs. I made a choice on Friday. I had the opportunity to join some wonderful women in Indy for a reunion of sorts. These are my Gaggle, those bright, caring, incredibly busy young women who allow me to share a tiny place in their lives. From the first few weeks of grad school, we bonded into a close knit group of serious students, high achievers and fun spirits. I was in my late 50s, Anna and Kirstie were barely 25, the others were scattered around 30. As unlikely as it was, we became the Gaggle. And all through the ups and downs of grad school, we supported, listened to, cried and celebrated with each other. We lost family, had babies, had health issues, but we all stood by, strong and ready. I love each of these ladies as if she were my own child. I've attempted to be there for all the gagglefests, all the weddings and the babies. This weekend, however, I had a bigger issue. Our mom has Alzheimers and my sister provides 99% of her care since my brothers and I have outside jobs. This weekend she was going to Chicago to visit her youngest son and his family which includes her youngest grandchild. She can count the number of times she has been with them since his birth and looks forward to spending precious hours there. Mom is at the point where she needs monitoring regularly throughout the day to ensure meds and meals are taken. I had to choose to go to Indianapolis or stay with my mother. No contest. I love the time I spend with Mom but it is emotionally exhausting. I seriously do not know how my sister does it, day after day. She isn't the same person who raised me, but she is sweet and loving still and just wants the attention of her kids. Our parents never had close friends, the family was all they wanted. We knew our parents loved us without a doubt. They spoiled each of us with attention and love, now we get to repay that love.
Besides...I had had Spring Break in the most amazing house on the beach! My room faced the Gulf and had a sweet balcony with a sweet wicker couch and a down throw where I spent my most of my time. This was the best weather we have had for Spring Break ever. Each day was better than the one before. And the evenings were beautiful, the moon was full and the moonlight reflected on the waves like silver. I went out on the balcony at midnight and watched this display, not believing my luck. How blessed we are to get to experience such a wonder. I came back to my real life revived.
We are down to the last grading period, the end of school is fast approaching and we are busy! The dullness that is February and March is gone and the hurry of spring is here. Scheduling is almost finished, ISTEPs are coming again, case conferences are almost daily, 4 today!, and I'm counting down the days till retirement.
Besides spending time with Mom and my kids, I want to work on our house and yard. Each room needs some fluffing, but the bath and kitchen have to go. Even Stephen King realizes that it is way past cosmetic repair. The tub, sink and flooring are shot. I want a stand alone shower, no tub, an antique chest for the vanity and tile flooring and walls. The only thing salvageble is the schoolhouse ceiling light. I'm thinking black and white. No surprise there! The kitchen is a different story. Some folks see no problem with fake cutting board counters and 1980s gold vinyl floors, but I do. Plus my kitchen sink faces a wall, not a window. In all my houses, the kitchen has been my room. Now I share with Stephen King, he cooks some, does most of the dishes and most of his own laundry in that ugly kitchen. He can take it, I cannot. I want warm, cosy, efficient, clean. None of which can be used to describe our kitchen. The cupboards are original from 1924, but strong and sturdy. I'm willing to repaint and get countertops, the ceiling is nearly 10 feet high and I love that. The rest of the room must go, 3 rooms actually. A tiny mudroom/laundry and nice big pantry open onto the kitchen. I'd like to open them all up into one big room. One would think with a carpenter husband and two carpenter sons, I would be living in a castle. One would be wrong. Like the cobbler's children and their lack of shoes, I am often the one needing a new roof, floor, door, etc. I'm thinking since I will have 24 hours a day to nag Stephen King about the kitchen when I retire, we might get it done! But I won't hold my breath, he can usually outlast me and seems to have a deaf ear to nagging.
I invite all of you to visit Summer Nail Photography on FaceBook to see the redhaired vision that is our Mackenzie in her Prom Dress! This child lives in sweats, is entirely low-maintanence yet her buddy captured her Teen Idol Self in these snapshots. They were playing with hairstyles and dresses and I must say captured a side of Mack never seen!. Summer is a professional photographer locally who should be taking shots for the gossip mags, I think. Check it out.
Gotta go, we may are taking the kiddos to see HOP this week and I have to check if tonight is it. Grandkids are so busy, we have to schedule outings now. Talk later. Love

Monday, March 21, 2011


Monday is history, thank goodness, it was a nasty one. Only 3.5 days till we break away for Gulf Shores. Anyone up for the trip? Come along, we haven't secured a house yet, planning to get a last minute deal OR sleep on the beach! And then when we get back...Gagglefest on the 1st. So happy we are doing this. So many things have taken place since our last reunion. Anna is Mrs. Clark, Caleb is here, Janelle is too! YAY. God is good, Ladies.
Courtney turned 36 yesterday in OZ. This is the 3rd birthday she has had downunder. I bet no one made a strawberry cake to celebrate her day. She may not eat strawberry cake now, but always asked for one while growing up. The boys liked pies better, but Court always wanted strawberry cake with pink icing. Even the year she turned 6 and only wore lavender, (even her glasses) she had to have her pink cake. Yep, she was a girly girl back then, once refusing to wear anything but dresses for a year. Then her pink stage, no clothing that wasn't pink. But by the time she hit 6th grade it was jeans, sweatshirts and Chuck Taylor hightops. Now it is gypsy skirts and sandals. 
OK< I fell into a trance, I guess. It is now March 21 and I'm sitting on my deck watching dolphins jump from the Gulf of Mexico. Not in OC, in Gulf Shores, AL. Three friends and I are here till Friday on Spring Break. Beautiful weather, terrific house and great company What more can I say? This year we have a couple of smallfry companions, Jake a 5 year old and Bella, 20 months  came along with their mommas. They have been a treat.
Our house is so close to the water this year and is a beautiful place. My room is a large 2nd floor master with its own bath and balcony. I've been spending my days on that balcony reading and watching the boats, dolphins and sea birds. It is amazing how the sights and sounds of the coast can lift the weight of the world from my shoulders and blow the cotton floss from my head. I rarely get in the water, but the ocean has such an attraction for me...I've decided I must have been a mermaid in a former life! Or possibly a whale, hehehe. Deb, my sister, has the same draw toward the desert. Maybe our parents picked us up on a cross country trip! The desert frightens me with its endless open horizon, one of the things I love about the coast. Strangely, I feel exposed in the desert and secure at the coast. It must be me, that makes no sense.
I'm happy to hear that OC is having nice warm temps, too. We, as the rest of the country, have suffered a long, gray, cold winter. I hope each of our students gets to be outside enjoying the warmth and expending some pent up energy. We have eight short weeks left of school, with lots of activities going on. I want to finish on a happy note. This is my last year of being a school counselor and I'd love to leave feeling good about the job I've done here. I know I will miss the kids, the staff and working. I'm ready for something else in my life.
Back to work now, doing the dolphin watch till dinner tonight at Tacky Jacks. A new one for us. I'll let you know what's good. Love

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy 17th Mackenzie

Today is our grand daughter, Mackenzie Rose's 17th birthday. March 6. She was just past one year old when she began saying, "two March 6" to everybody. We laughed and laughed at the tiny little redhead holding up 2 stubby fingers and denying being just one. Kenzie was such a strong minded little one then, we should have known it would serve her well as the years passed and brought health crisis after crisis; Kenz holds strong through it all. Just this week, she told her nephrologist that she was not spending her 17th birthday in Rileys, she may have been tricked into Christmas there, but not her own special day. Promising to eat and drink, to endure yet another injection this week and more labs next, Kenz came home.
She has requested vegetable beef soup and coconut cake for her Birthday Dinner and as long as G-ma Hedy is able, she will have it. All our grandkids are special to us, each in her/his own way. Mack is the first baby I watched come into this world; I watched in awe as her red curls appeared, followed by the sweetest, round face ever. Maddie was jumping into the doctor's hands as I came around the curtain, she seemed so tiny and delicate with a tuft of blond hair and a little whimper, we couldn't know she wouldn't get much louder. Caleb, I again, was the first to see, that dark head appear, followed by an incredibly long skinny body, so different from his short, chubby sisters, he soon would teach Mom and Dad the difference, Gavin was a speeding train, beating everyone to delivery, he was such a big boy, he practically walked out, there was nothing delicate about him, he was big and tough, looking at all of his family as if to say, "where you been, I've been waiting for you. Lets play". They had me at first glance. Joseph and Shayla were 6 and 1 when they came to us. Both fit right into our family, they were our first grandchildren. Joe was automatically mine. He was so like my boys, ready to be out and gone, exploring the woods and creeks, fishing, hunting and eating his weight in goodies everyday! Shay took a little longer, she was Papaw's girl at first. She had to warm up to me, but once she did, we became inseparable. Tea parties, gardening, cooking and eating out were our favorites and still are. The years have flown so fast, I cannot believe our Mackenzie Roses is almost ready for college and the younger ones are all in school. Shayla is a beautiful young woman at 22 and is a joy for all of us. Joe is facing a big challenge right now, but I feel he will be better for it. He, like so many of his generation, has made some foolish decisions and put himself at risk for so much hurt. We pray he will be given the chance to rcover and go on toward a happy, productive life. Joseph is a sweet soul, we love him and always will.
Birthdays, weddings, funerals, all make me emotional and nostalgic for old times. If only we could have those times back, knowing what we now know, could we do better, love more, tolerate less, expect more, accept less? I sometimes wish we could. I pray I would do better. But we aren't given that gift, so I will seek the joy of my family and love them better from here forward.
It is a cold wet weekend in Southern Indiana, nothing new there! I think the beefy vegetable soup will be welcomed by the kiddos. I do wish Spring will come soon. The daffodils are up in our yard, but not blooming yet. The grass does look greener, maybe. And our ewes are lambing again. We haven't had any births here at the house yet, but should this week. The field at the farm is full of new life, coming in singles and twins! I love that sheep twin so often, nothing cuter than lambies X 2.
I am adding a PS to this post. It is Monday night and another week has started, not surprisingly it resembles most others; the dread of Monday morning, the loud laughter of kids in the halls, the drooping shoulders of the teachers leading their classes out into the cold gray morning for recess, the crainess that is middle school lunch. Like many Mondays before, it is almost over. BTW: Stephen King announces the birth of a fine lamb overnight here at the house. Only three or four more mommas to deliver. Spring will come, we can see the Promise in God's new creatures.
Counting the days til the Gagglefest, Ladies. Enjoy. Love

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blank Slate

A blank slate to write our thoughts upon...but not a coherent thought in our head! I often have an inspiration for a post during the week; during a session with a student, a phone call with a distraught parent,a meeting with an angry administrator, a couch visit from a weary teacher or sometimes in the car with my Mom. My world is full of options for posting, I interact with a hundred people each week. The number of stories overwhelms me sometimes. Yet when I have the time to sit and process I cannot seem to pick out the nugget of inspiration to share with you. I admit to occasionally writing all my jumbled thoughts on the screen and editing later, attempting to create an interesting, honest version of my week. Usually this helps me see the real topic of the post, sometimes it just adds to my confusion on what to say. I love writing. I'm not good at it I know, but that is not important.
 The writing process helps organize my thoughts and I think helps me to do better work with my kiddos and others. I also write to have a record of my days and what was going on in my head at this time. The more time I spend with my mother as she falls deeper into dementia, the more afraid I become of losing myself as she has done. Yesterday she told me she thinks," I am worse than I thought I was". We had a good afternoon shopping for Courtney and Mackenzie's birthday presents. Over two hours in one store, just like old times, Mom picking up every item, looking, judging, putting it back. Over and over throughout the store from tops to pants to jeans to jackets to sweaters to dresses and shoes. She loves shopping, the crippling back pain recedes, the clouded thoughts clear when she smells a bargain. But in the car, minutes later, she asks what we bought, remembering nothing of the afternoon. This scares me and breaks my heart. But we end our day on a happy note. Laughing about how easy it is for Mom to curl up on her nest and rest. Something that never happened in her first 80 years. She spent those years in the kitchen preparing meals, doing laundry, making her home. Most of the snapshots of Mom are in the kitchen; standing; washing dishes, washing fresh vegetables, washing delicate sweaters and lace bras, preparing her special fried chicken, potato soup, beef and noodles, corn bread. Never sitting, never resting. All those years waiting for others to come in that back door and allow her to serve them, NO, making them let her serve them. No one ever left her kitchen empty handed or empty bellied. She force fed her grandkids handmade milk shakes, cookies n milk, full meals even as after-school snacks. They all know what it means to enter Grandma Helen's kitchen. All who enter take home a baggie full of something. Now whenever they go, she is in the small TV room at the back of the house, usually asleep, always on her little nest on the couch. The kitchen is dark, the stove is cold, it doesn't feel like Grandma's anymore. But she is still there, the light in her eyes is dimmer, but still there, she still speaks of all those days, not remembering our shopping, but reliving the first 80 years.
ISTEP begins tomorrow, so I am spending today at home resting up. I test our 504 kids and That becomes an intense morning. All of them become distracted so easily and it requires awhile to settle everyone. We allow them all the time they need and some days it might be 3 hours. Ofcourse, some days it is 3 minutes and they all are finished! I enjoy working so closely with a few students at a time and most of them try so hard to do their best. This type of testing places to much sress on kids. They cannot be judged for one test on one day. There must be a better way. Trusting good teachers' judgements might be a start. These next few weeks will be an interesting time in Indiana education. Someone let the fox in the henhouse in Indy.
I've spent several hours looking a summer rentals for the family. We have such a wonderful time each year, but finding just the right home for all our needs and interests can take a little work. Have to have a private pool for the teens and little guys, need lots of open space for everyone, I need at least a view of the ocean, good restaurants within 30 minutes, a terrific grocery close by, big equiped kitchen for Nina and me, bicycles for Shay and Maddie...the list goes on and on. And amazingly, we find a perfect one each year! Cannot wait to celebrate Cabe's birthday at the beach again. He believe's the trip is an extended celebration for him! Love that little Pretty Boy, can't believe he will be 8 this summer. And my Sweetie Gavin is 6 already. My babies are growing way too fast. 
Stephen King has been sick for 3 weeks, but he is on the mend today. He has plans for the next several days just to catch up on his activities. He loves retirement and does not handle illness at all. I am thrilled to see him up and out again. One body lying around the house is enough. He makes a great care iver, but a terrible patient.
I'll post this now, I've managed to fill the blank slate once again, Ladies. Hugs and kisses to Alison for organizing the Spring Gagglefest in April. Take care. Love

Friday, February 18, 2011


I've spent a large portion of my day dealing with angry girls, heartbroken girls, weeping girls. Hormones run rampant in the middle school. I completely understand that. I understand that females will be at the mercy of hormones until the GREAT CHANGE OF LIFE. What I don't get is why females are so cruel to each other. Why can't we see that we are all in this together and need to be kind to each other? Why do we save our most evil words for other females? Why do we treat each other as enemies? Why, why, why? Try as I may, I cannot convince the girls to play nice with others. That will come with time, I suppose. I know my own friends are precious to me. Old school buddies have been through good times and bad together. New friends reap the bounty of wisdom gained as we grow older.
But I still remember the power friendship gave to girls, the power to betray confidences, to lie, and to exclude. I remember feeling lucky that I wasn't a victim of others when I was a kid. I witnessed the behavior of our Queen Bee and her power over so many of us. I remember the uneasy relief of watching someone else burn under her stinging words. I realize now that I just wasn't a threat to them! I was quiet, but not timid, I wasn't jealous of what they had, I didn't date from the same pool of guys. In truth they probably didn't even give my presence much thought at all. I was lucky.
We have dealt with Facebook drama all week and the worst of it comes from mean girls... mean-spirited girls who should know better. Who don't appear to care how much they hurt someone. Who stand in high school halls and spray ugly words for everyone to hear. Ugly lies about a person who used to be their friend. A friend who made the mistake of confiding secrets or fears to someone she thought of as a sister. A sister who would support and protect her secrets. Secrets which are now out there for the world to see and judge. How can one female do this to another? We are all sisters in this world and should be that support for each other, we should stand strong against the hurts and trials of the world. Instead we choose to force each other to stand alone. Oh my, I hope these girls grow up soon and learn to treasure each other.
One of my good friends, a part of my Gaggle, has faced a health threat this week. It has ended well, but the stress of "what if" was heavy. I thank God for His mercy and blessing on her. Scares such as this make us realize the truly important things in life. Best wishes, Sweetie, and a speedy recovery. This wonderful group of young women helped get me through grad school at an age when I should have been planning retirement, not a new career. Each of them has blessed me with her friendship and I cherish the opportunity of their friendships. I cannot wait for our next Gagglefest, Ladies.
The warmer weather has been such a welcomed relief this week. Hopefully, some of the awful germs will blow away with these wild winds we've been having. I've never seen such a winter for sickness, people suffer from yuck to yuck without a break. No one remains immune. Stephen King has had a cold for 2 weeks and is tired of it! No one suffers pain and illness quite like him, I'm sure. He truly hasn't been himself, too tired to even get out. He usually makes his daily rounds regardless of the weather, so I know he isn't well. Too many hours watching westerns just isn't healthy. He was going to help #3 son put up fence today, I hope he felt like it. I worry if he feels bad.
Our kiddos are doing OK this week other than the regular elementary school crud, Cabe has a stomach bug and Gavin is still sneezing. The girls are all good. Madeleine had a terrific check-up with her heart surgeon. X-rays couldn't look better! Wonderful news. She is getting her color back and has been playing outside after school with the neighborhood crowd. She loves that.
Courtney reports all is well in OZ, no flooding or cyclones in their area. She just complains of heat, something I cannt sympathize with this winter! She has her resident VISA now so will not be returning to the States for a long while. We will miss those visits every 90 days. That has been how we've accepted her moving to the other side of the world. It will be interesting to see how long the parents can survive without scheduling a flight downunder!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I'm looking forward to a little sunshine on my front porch.