Thursday, March 24, 2011

I wish I was handy ...

... with my toes!  Then I would write a nice long post about God's faithfulness during this journey of pain, and the learning and leaning that is going on in our home as we try to adapt to this latest health difficulty.  I would thank you all for your prayer and kind thoughts, and let you know that I don't have any answers yet.  That's my fault since I wasn't able to get in to see the doctor because of a scheduling change. I have not made an effort to re-schedule since I have an upcoming appointment anyway.  Most days my hands are working pretty well and the swelling is down, but then for no apparent reason the swelling and pain return. I'm learning that I have some limits and kneading bread is beyond my limit right now.  I sure am loving my instant yeast recipes these days. I miss my old 'pain free' hands but I am so grateful for what I am able to do!  Typing just isn't one of them - I find it hard to think and be creative when every keystroke is an effort.

Please do keep praying - I'll be back when I can.  We are finished with basketball now but plunged straight into the craziness of baseball season with twice a week practices to get ready for Opening Day.  We are so blessed to have a well organized coach who is teaching Storyteller's team in an encouraging and positive way, and we are blessed to have a regular practice field  rather than having practice moved every night  as is the lot of most of the teams.  We are just quietly humming along with school and family life, keeping busy but not too busy.  Those projects we started in January still sit idle and that's frustrating, but just our reality right now.  We'll get back to them ... eventually! 

 I'll finish this with a picture from yesterday's hail storm - these are the 'melt-able marbles' that peppered our home yesterday afternoon.  It was quite strange, very loud and did a lot of damage to our garden.  I'm glad our rhubarb is so very hardy since it looks like Swiss cheese  right now.  I had my mouth watering for a strawberry rhubarb crisp, but that might take a while now! Most everything that was coming up was flattened, but hopefully it will recover or we will miss the loveliness of our spring blooms. Thank you again for your warm words of comfort and concern!  I'll write again soon, I hope!

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Hands Down

**** UPDATE****
I just wanted to say thank you all for your kind sympathy and for praying for me.  I am still in a lot of pain, but it is better.  I am learning what I can do and what I cannot and using 'helps' wherever I can.  Including take-out pizza! Anything to save my hands.

My hands are down - quite literally.  

They've been racked with constant pain, intermittent swelling and spasms since Tuesday.  Cold hurts, warmth helps short term.  Rest might be good, but how does one function without their hands?  Today they were good enough to drive to art class and the library, to help finish two AWANA Grand Prix cars, to bake a few cookies for tomorrow's event and to type a few words here and there.  An improvement since yesterday I couldn't even hold a book (gasp) or my spoon at supper without crying.  I see the doctor next week.  This could be liver related, since my whole being is affected by the disease, or it could be something entirely different.  
We shall see.
In the meantime we are thankful for the pain alerting me to something amiss, and thankful to have access to medical care. I'm thankful for 44 years of useful, mostly pain free hands, and thankful that my worth is not wrapped up in what they accomplish each day, but rather in Who they are at work for. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Three alarm day

Our three alarm day ate my blogging time, so I haven't finished my Daylight Savings Survival post.  That's o.k. though because I'm sure no one is waiting with bated breath.

There was a lot of holding our breath around here today though!  The laundry room  toilet decided to clog badly and overflow a really nasty mess unto the tile floor.   
Alarm # 1
I'm giving thanks for the ugly white tile floor, for lots of cleaning rags, for sweet smelling candles, good strong cleaners, and the sanitize cycle on our new washing machine - which I ran TWICE.

Since I generally leave all the really smelly most plumbing issues to the Historian who was blessedly but inconveniently at work, I am quite inexperienced with ye old plunger. I gave it the old college try.  It worked, but the resulting shower of disgusting water landed squarely on me.

Alarm # 2

I'm giving thanks for hot hot showers, good strong soap, an abundance of shampoo, fluffy clean towels, clean clothes and the ability to hold my breath.
Getting my day back on track was not an easy task.  I decided that no makeup and the 'natural look' for my hair was going to have to be just fine since I didn't have energy for re-doing my morning routine.  I decided when the going gets tough, the tough get cooking and proceeded to the kitchen for a little baking therapy.  I was just getting into some wonderful radio ministry and choosing a few new recipes to try - that's when I heard the dog scratching the sun room door. Suddenly there was silence and I peeked around the corner to see the door wide open and Bailey was no where in sight!!!
Alarm #3

I'm giving thanks for our car stupid dog - even when she causes me stress, for a tank full of gas to drive around the neighborhood for an hour calling for her until we were hoarse, for the presence of mind to turn the oven down so dinner didn't burn, for the Historian who answered our distress call and rushed home to help us look, and for Bailey the dog who had the good sense to come on home without being hit by a car on our busy road or picked up by the doggie police. 

I'm quite sure it's time for another hot shower and bed! 
After I wash the laundry room floor again - and hug the dog.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Daylight Savings Survival

Once upon a time, I was a cheerful morning person.  

I moved to a college dorm, and everything changed.  Evening classes, late night study sessions and cross stitch confabs combined with really bad cafeteria food to create a whole new problem for me in the form of sleep deprivation. Mornings were no longer my friend.  
 After I moved back home to complete my education, my body thankfully  re-adjusted, but I had learned some important lessons about my time management, and particularly my sleep habits.  I learned that I really need my sleep, and that I am best suited to a well ordered sleeping routine.  

I'll never forget my student teaching  weeks, which seemed to be going along so very well until the Monday morning after Daylight Savings Time.  It was a week from the pit.  The children were exhausted, cranky and hungry at all the wrong times.  They learned little, got into trouble in the playground, forgot their homework assignments, and generally made me question whither I ever had a true calling on my life to teach or have anything to do with children.
As I broke into tears in the teacher's lounge, one veteran teacher muttered 'Daylight Savings week is always a bear - you'll get through it.' That was a huge eye opener for me. I had never connected the dots, but thinking back I realized that while I hardly even noticed the time changes, many others do and particularly children. 
I tucked that thought into the back of my mind for years.

The difficulties the time change presents to families with young children became more evident as time went on. During our early years in church ministry, Daylight Savings Time often fell on Easter weekend.  Can I tell you that was enough to make the preacher's wife swear?  Well, it might have been, if I knew the words!  As it was, it made it terribly hard to enjoy the blessing of Resurrection Sunday.  Most of the time it was just bare survival, but after we were blessed with children, we just gave up.  It was no longer an enjoyable family day for us.  The Historian, who was then The Pastor, went to all of the Sunrise Services, Church Community Breakfasts, and early services alone, while I stayed home putting our special dinner in the oven and getting myself and the children ready for service.

Since we were often unable to get enough workers for the nursery on special family weekends, I generally stayed with the children. I can tell you, our children were not the only ones who were making their voices heard on the issue of the their messed up schedule! Often by the time we regrouped at home for lunch we were all too tired and grumpy to enjoy dinner and often went to bed rejoicing that it was at last 'over' for another year. Sad, I know.

Since Daylight Savings Time on Sunday I've decided to put together two posts on ways that our family makes the transition  go more smoothly.  I can honestly say that there was only one year where DST 'snuck up' on us and I didn't follow these steps and regretted it so completely that I vowed never to make that mistake again. Our children are 10 and 13 now and this may not seem like it is as critical as it was when they were 2 and 5 or 4 and 7, but it still serves us well, and might be something you've just never considered.

Now, if you have never had an issue with DST, you can stop reading, or read this simply to pass the  idea along to someone who might just need it.  

If you've never missed Sunday School, been late for church, been so starving by 11 AM that you thought you'd pass out in the pew, then maybe this isn't for you.  If your children aren't grumpy by suppertime, never have dark circles under their eyes and certainly have never needed a professional Bugler to get them out of bed after the time change, well I'm happy for you - really, I am! 

For the rest of us, we don't have to take Daylight Savings Time lying down - there is something to be done.  If you've just put your baby on a happy schedule and your children into a manageable routine, and you are dreading turning back the clocks as much as I am dreading my next root canal, I can help you. 
Read on!

Survival Step One:
It's Monday, so no doubt you are looking over your week, consulting the calendar and making plans. That's great.  I'm going to ask you to make a few small changes in your end of the week plans that will reap huge dividends for yourself and your children. 
Don't panic - it's nothing hard.  
It just requires a bit of thinking ahead, and an extra clock.

First of all you have a choice - how many days of thinking about the time can you work into the end of the week? If you need to change your family time schedule very slowly, you can begin today, Monday, and the 10 Minute Time Change Plan.  If you don't want to mess with this until later in the week you can choose the 15 Minute Time Change Plan and begin on Wednesday.  Or, if you really need to streamline this, there is always the 20 Minute Time Change Plan which begins Thursday.

Whichever plan you choose, by Saturday night when you are turning ahead the clocks you will already have adjusted your family schedule by 60 minutes - and you will have successfully  beaten Daylight Savings Time. 

Label that extra clock or watch 'New Time' but keep all of you other clocks at the regular time. The areas you will need to look at 'New Time' for are wake up time, nap time, bedtime and meal time.  Everything else remains the same.  If you can't change meals times, changing the sleep schedule will be enough to help you make a smooth transition into DST, but you may have a few grumbling tummies Sunday morning - just pack some snacks!

For our family we will choose the 15 Minute Time Change Plan and begin on Wednesday. The only thing I need to remember on Wednesday is to put the children and myself to bed 15 minutes EARLY and to set the time on the 'New Time' clock ahead 15 minutes. That's it.  
Told you it was simple.  

10 Minute Time Change Plan - Begins Monday (today). Put everyone to bed 10 minutes early and set the 'New Time' clock ahead 10 minutes.
20 Minute Time Change Plan - begins Thursday. Put everyone to bed 20 minutes early and set the 'New Time' clock ahead 20 minutes.

 Come back tomorrow for
Survival Step Two!

Oh, and just in case you wondered, I am not a morning person any longer.  I'd like to be, but my chronic health issues make it hard. I do my best not to be too grumpy, but I have my days!

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Company Girl Coffee 03/04

 Welcome Company Girls and anyone else who is dropping by today!  
Come in out of the rain and get warm.  
It's cold and damp here and I am just about to make another pot of nice hot tea
to go with a snickerdoodle  cookie or two!
The children are finished their  schoolwork for the week and we've been out to rent a movie, visit the library and run an errand and now we are home sweet home.

We've had a good week, though I have struggled with a super sore throat all week.  The Historian is back to work and doing really well.  We enjoyed some last minute company which was an unexpected blessing. We didn't get to AWANA and Youth on Wednesday night as we had hoped, but we only see our Oshawa family every few years so it was important to stay home and visit with them.

We are in quite a mess here - three 'messes' in fact!  The Historian has spent most of the last month at home doing a lot of resting and recuperating with this gall bladder problems but in between times he has attacked his office and the adjacent storage closet with zeal.  He is sorting, organizing, filing and thinning and it is a huge  job.  I haven't told him yet, but I am hoping once it is done to move all of the bookcases away from the walls and re-paint his office.  His office is really coming along nicely, but there is a big pile of stuff that needs a new home.

In the playroom it looks like a fabric store threw up - neatly stacked fabric covers the table and chairs in there.  I emptied 'my' craft storage closet to install more shelves and then we didn't get to it!  It takes too much energy to put everything back only to remove it again when we do get to that project, so there the fabric sits.  I've been sorting and putting aside fabric I've been given that just isn't my taste - it's going in the giveaway pile. I can't wait to have new shelves in the closet to keep my 'stash' in better order.

The last area is actually our first project - the Storyteller's  room.  The Historian took the pine paneling off the outside wall of his room and put insulation in which has dramatically warmed his formerly drafty room.  He put that paneling back in the fall but took paneling off a small wall in an alcove of Storyteller's room.  We had an electrician wire the wall for lights and outlets and we've hung and mudded dry wall on that wall.  That's where the project has stalled - first by Christmas, then illness.  The plan is to make the alcove into a 'dugout' with a storage bench seat, nicely padded for our avid reader/sports fan. Last weekend the cabinets we ordered finally came in and we had hoped that  we would be all ready just to install them, but we are not.  Thankfully Storyteller has been very patient, but his room is a terrible mess!

 I think we might have learned a lesson about not taking on so many projects at once! We've got to get these wrapped up before baseball season and gardening season begins.  The big stacks of mulch are already in at the garden center, so I know it will soon be time to plant and get busy outside.

Our Dreamer is a nervous wreck - poor thing!  She has made such an improvement in her piano lessons this year that she has been invited to be involved in a music competition tomorrow.  She has never done anything like this and she is very shy about playing for others, but she has practiced so much and is very well prepared.  The hard part is that it will be a very early trip to the city for us in the morning.   I am sure she will do just fine, but it's the unknown that has her stressing.  This afternoon I am letting the children just play and have fun together, hoping to take her mind off her worries.

Well, it's time to rest a bit before I start supper,
but I'm so glad you dropped in for a visit!

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Two Minute Beauty

Tuesday afternoon we got a call from my very favorite one and only Uncle L and his lovely wife Aunt J who are on their way home from two months in Florida.  
They wanted to come for an overnight visit - Wednesday! 
Company is always welcome, of course, but only if you're willing to take us as you find us!
We did a super quick cleaning (some stashing in closets too),  a quick trip to grocery, unburied the guest bed (Mount Ironmore lives there these days) and put on fresh lavender scented sheets and decided we were pretty much ready - or as ready as we'd ever be!

Then I looked at the dying Amaryllis on the table and decided that it was  well beyond time to get rid of it!  It's been a marvel - 4 feet tall and such prolific foliage, 
but sadly well beyond the blooming stage.
We were watching the former flowers swell as they made seeds, 
but it wasn't the prettiest science experiment!

A quick trip back to the grocery  where I scooped up three hot pink primroses in little plastic pots for $1.99 each.  I grabbed a galvanized pail and put an old plate in the bottom to 'boost up'  the pot and catch any water (the pail has seen better days) . I stuffed some dyed moss around the edges, plunked it on a vintage doily in the middle of our table and sighed
*now* we were ready.

This morning they left early for the last leg of their journey home
after a really nice though short visit!
It's always a blessing to be hospitable and now we get to enjoy our
little bit of 'two minute beauty' and remember the nice visit we all enjoyed!
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