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2016 Was A Very Hard Year….

I have told about my father’s passing here on the blog. It was a tough day the day my mother called to say that he had passed away. But what followed caught me totally off guard and feeling quite down.

After my dad passed away, we found ourselves making lots of trips to Jamestown to help my mother sort through more paperwork. My, oh my….so much paperwork! It seemed like a never-ending exercise, filling out forms and figuring out policies and such, Thankfully, Mark has a tenacity that causes him to look mountains of paperwork in the eye and work right through them! Mark was a great help and Mom totally appreciated everything he did.

In August, Mom said she just had such a hard time…she couldn’t ram through her housework like she did previously. She confided in me during a phone call that she wasn’t her normal self. She made an appointment for August 15th to have a heart catheterization done to check her heart for blockage or see what was causing her to drag so.

When I found out about the appointment, I told Mark I wanted to go alone to Jamestown so I could go with her to the appointment. Mark wanted to know if I was sure I really wanted to go alone, but I insisted. I am so glad I did….

I can still see Mom walking into the hospital alone. Even though she had complained she couldn’t walk twenty feet without feeling the need to sit down, her determination to get this figured out far surpassed any fatigue she might have felt. At nearly eighty-six years old, she looked so stylish in her white jeans, black and white striped knit shirt and sandals.

I had the valet park the car and my brother and I ran inside to catch up with Mom. She fidgeted a bit, wondering what was taking so long. Finally, she was taken in for the procedure. I won’t get into all the details, but the bottom line was that the doctor said her heart just didn’t have enough “squeeze”. She made it through the procedure, but was admitted into the hospital.

Throughout her stay, we were called twice to say Mom wasn’t expected to make it through the night. We made the long journey the first time to say our goodbyes, but she wasn’t ready to let go just yet. The second time, Carly and her family traveled to be with her. Still, she wasn’t ready to leave planet Earth.

On the ninth day of her hospital stay, the doctor called us and told us Mom needed to be moved to a nursing home. Mark spoke with the doctor and I listened in to the conversation, feeling my heart sinking. There was no way Mom would ever want to be admitted to a nursing home. However, at the end of the call, Mark and I called the home where my dad had been for his last months of life and began to make arrangements.

Well, Mom was something else. She seemed to manage to get things done her way. I knew in my heart of hearts she would never, ever want to enter a nursing home. If that doctor had even mentioned a nursing home in her semi non responsive state, she had enough! That evening, I received “the call” that Mom had passed away. Even in the heartbreak of hearing this, I had to smile, knowing Mom had things done *her* way!

I had lost both of my parents within an eight month span of time.  It seemed so overwhelming, but I am so grateful that I had them so long!! Even though I miss them, I just thank God for every single day I was able to have them! My parents were such good parents.

The sadness didn’t end with losing both parents, though. Two days after Mom passed away, I had to make a trip to the vet to bid farewell to my dear little Murphy. He had been diagnosed with melanoma about eighteen months before and he awakened me in the middle of the night, crying out in pain and I knew it was time to say goodbye to my sweet little Scottie boy. I had held up so well at the time my parents passed, but when the vet tech came for Murphy, I felt as though my heart was going to break into a million tiny pieces.

I will end this entry here, as I hope I haven’t reduced you, dear reader, to tears. This was a year of some heavy events, but it was not all bad. In my next  post, I will bring some happy news!


 

A Little Fun Diversion!

Well, hello there! Yes, it has been a very long time since I have blogged. Far too long. Life got complicated and busy and I let this blog go. I have a great deal of catching up to do and I will do my best to do so.

Now, back to the subject!

We spend our Saturday afternoons and evenings with friends, celebrating the Shabbat (Sabbath) and breaking bread! Our group is small and we enjoy this time together so much. Mark plays guitar and there is singing and just lots of sharing and digging into God’s Word.

Last Saturday, Carolyn asked if I would like to attend a Victorian Tea with her. The town’s historical society had purchased a pretty Victorian house and has been restoring it. The invite sounded like fun, so I agreed to go along. We entered the house and were steered into a smallish dining area in which tables for four were set up. We took our seats at a table with a husband and wife. Soon after, a pot of hot water was delivered to the table and we were offered to select a tea. Carolyn and I both chose Salted Caramel. It was yummy! An offering of tiny sandwiches and sweets made their way to the table and we chatted away about pets and country living.

As so frequently happens, it was getting late and time to leave. We had such a delightful time and it was a nice little diversion from the norm!

 

Unexpected Blessings

In Matthew 7:11, the Lord explains that although we are sinful and evil,  we know how to give good gifts to our children. The verse further explains that if we love God, He gives good things to His children when they ask. What a precious concept.

I find that oftentimes I forget to ask for things I might need or want. I get too busy and just think it isn’t that important.

This year, our spring was so chilly, the leaves on the trees refused to come out until late May. Because of this, the peonies I planted so many years ago were able to grow better as they weren’t shaded.

How like the Lord to bless us with an abundance of my Grandma Manelick’s peonies the same year that Dad passed away. I went down and cut six of these delightful flowers and put them on the table.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. And sometimes He just blesses us to let us know just how precious we are to him!

 

 

Thinking back….

The last time I saw my dad was on the day after New Year’s Day, January 2. That was one week before he passed away.

Mom and I went in to see Dad. He hadn’t been in a wheelchair in many weeks. He could no longer sit up, so he was placed in a recliner on wheels. The first time I saw him in the recliner, it was all I could do from breaking down. His body seemed contorted in strange positions and he was propped up with pillows.

Mom always went to the second floor to get Dad and would wheel that big recliner into the elevator and take him downstairs to visit with him.  She would have a bottle of Ensure tucked in her purse. She placed a straw in it and told Dad it was a milkshake. He would drink it down so well through a straw. Then he would drink a cup of coffee through a straw. He rarely talked on these visits and just didn’t seem to be much interested in anything. I always struggled as I didn’t know what to say….Mom would talk to him and fuss over him and he seemed almost distant.

On the last visit,  Dad grabbed my hand in his. Somehow, I knew he was telling me goodbye. We went downstairs for our visit and when I spoke, he didn’t respond.  At one point, his leg  slipped off the recliner. Since I was sitting near his legs, I gently moved his leg back up. He didn’t complain when I moved it, but later, he drew his legs up and said his knees hurt so much. He told Mom and I that we had no idea of the pain he was in. It was all I could do to keep the tears back. When I had moved his leg back onto the recliner, I was shocked to see his calf wasn’t much larger than my forearm.

A couple of days after my visit, my mom called and said Dad was in really poor condition.  He had internal bleeding but was in such weakened condition, it would be hard to even do anything for him.

Dad passed away, very peaceably. My mom, two brothers, and my uncle (Dad’s brother) were talking in the room when he passed.

I will miss my dad. He was an amazing man, driven by his deep convictions….

I guess the reality of the whole situation has suddenly struck me now.  I am so grateful that my dad was with me all my adult life. I know so many people lost parents at a young age. I thank the Lord for all the wonderful times we shared and all the happy memories!

Shhhhh…..

Don’t tell Ben I posted this!

Ben completed his first semester at SUNY Geneseo shortly before Christmas with outstanding grades! I was so pleased last autumn when he included a photography class as he needed a general course not associated with his business degree.

When I read the syllabus for the photography class, I cringed…not being exactly a “techie”, I was overwhelmed by things like podcasts critiquing photos, technical assignments, and the icing on the cake! The final assignment was a published photo book. My hands got seriously clammy even reading the word “stupendous”….the professor’s choice of words for an “A” on the book.

Ben chose the subject Barns of the Finger Lakes for his project. He went on photo shoots and I was able to point him to some cool barns I saw throughout my adventures. I was so pleased when his book’s grade was posted…he aced it with an A!

 

 

On my way to the dentist…..

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I could not believe my eyes! I saw “something” big sitting on the road from a distance. It was only when I got several feet away, I realized I was looking at an immature Eagle! I suppose it was as curious about me as I was about it….ot sat there for probably a minute before finally lifting off and flying away!

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Whoa!!!

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On Monday afternoon, instead of running to the grocery store, I wandered into the house and made another batch of French Macarons. This time, I made them dark pink and flavored them strawberry.

Monday night, I realized I really needed to go shopping! We were out of basics. I am not inclined to shop late in the day,  but I left the house after eight. I planned to shop at Walmart and Wegman’s. 

I worked along the aisles, eventually ending up at the back of the store in the frozen foods. As my eyes lit upon the box above, I nearly passed out! French Macarons for sale in a box!!! But wait, they were $7.98 for 4.6 OUNCES! Over $27.00 a pound!

I’ve made four batches of Macarons now and not one batch failed. They seem fairly easy to make. The hardest part is letting them sit awhile before baking.

Wow. I never realized how expensive these little treasures are! I do know the most expensive ingredient is almond flour. I paid about $9.00 for a one pound bag at Walmart. That bag makes about three and a half batches. $27.00 a pound? Yikes!!!

Gone to the birds…

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The feeder I have hanging in the living room window is getting so old, the wood looks rather disgusting. I was trying to think of a new feeder when I ran across this wire mesh type feeder at WalMart. The mount I got has two large suction cups and is supposed to hold five pounds. I had been using it for a thistle sock and I think this feeder might even be lighter. The birds have been feeding like crazy so we shall see.
I did rather like how this little goldfinch sat on top!