29 August 2011

A sunny day in the life of me

As is typical of aftermaths of hurricanes, the weather today was just delightful! I opened my windows to let the fresh air in. I was talking on my phone and walking in my front yard when I noticed a very fluffed-out little hummingbird on my feeder. I wondered why it was hanging out on the perch and not eating. I got off the phone and wandered closer and the bird didn't fly away. It looked like a juvenile--maybe it was afraid to fly? I wanted to see if I could get even closer. Long story short, my bird didn't move! I cupped my hand under him/her and took this picture. I'll remember this forever (I hope)!

I spent the day with my parents at The Annapolitan. They've been without power since around dinner time on Saturday, and relegated to the third floor. No fun! We hung out in the sitting area at the end of their wing, an area with casement windows on three sides. All the windows were open and the breeze was blowing and it was sunny. It was really nice there. I brought my laptop and entertained my mom with lots of pictures. My dad read a magazine. The caregivers served lunch to the residents in their rooms or wherever they were. The staff made the best of a gas-powered kitchen and lots of generators. Later in the afternoon I found out that the elevator was working, but they wanted to limit it's use. I got permission to take my mom downstairs and outside. It was her first time out in days. We sat on the glider with our books and enjoyed the outdoors. It was a wonderful 7 hours together. Much longer than I usually have patience for. I think I made up for the screaming I did yesterday. Yes, me. I was SO mad at my mom when I found out she had walked to the bathroom by herself the day before. Yes, screaming mad. She shouldn't be walking by herself and had promised me she wouldn't. I was relaxing, thinking she wouldn't fall anymore because she was always getting help. I spent last Thursday (with Rob) taking my mom to the doctor's and for X-rays for her terrible pain. It turns out she has 1 or 2 compression fractures from her fall 3 weeks ago. She was right; there was something very wrong and there was a reason she was in so much pain. To find out she was walking into the bathroom with no help? Not acceptable. Bad me...every time she moaned in pain today getting up or down, I reminded her to remember the pain whenever she thought of walking by herself. Every time. I hope I drove the point home. The thought of her falling now is too painful for me to think of. I think she gets it. Maybe. She told me I'm going to heaven.

28 August 2011

Hurricane Irene!

Live and late-breaking news of the storm from Odenton, MD

I thought we were going outside so I could video Emily being blown around. Her performance was spontaneous. And priceless. That's my girl!

26 August 2011

Earthquakes, hurricanes and ???

I'm sitting in my lounge chair watching 'complete coverage of Hurricane Irene' on the weather channel. I can't believe the NYC transit system is being shut down! So many cities are being evacuated. I'm glad to see that decisions are being made on the side of caution. I'm on hyper-alert just listening to the warnings, though part of me thinks it's just going to be a lot of rain with some wind. I think I'm as ready as ever for the worst. I've taken in all the deck and porch furniture, outdoor plants, chimes, etc. The only thing still out is my grill and I'll wheel that into the house tomorrow. My gas tank is full and so are my gas cans. I have batteries and water. I've scraped some dirt away from the house by my basement door so the water can drain away (some came in during Isabella). I sure do hope we don't lose power. And I hope no trees fall on my house.

I was in the back room at the salon on the phone with Rob when the earthquake struck. For some reason, I wasn't paying attention to what was going on. I was distracted by the phone. The salon has a flat metal roof covered with gravel and whenever workers are up there, their walking is really loud. I thought something was going on with the roof. It sounded like a truck. Then like an army of trucks. Then I realized the ground was moving. If I had been looking, I'm sure I would have seen everything moving. I wasn't paying attention. It felt surreal. I hung up with Rob and walked outside. Other people were coming outside saying it was felt in other states. Someone asked if it was an earthquake. That thought hadn't crossed my mind--that's how outside of normal reality it was. It's been 10 days since the earthquake, and 'where were you when it happened?' is still part of the conversation every day. If I could, I'd have a do-over. I'd like to experience it more 'in the moment.'

Tomorrow will be a regular Saturday workday for me. I'll still have time to go to Starbucks afterward. Then it's hunkering in time. Hope everyone has a safe weekend.

21 August 2011

too Tired for Titles

I'm having such a hard time with organizing and finding pictures on my computer! I really wanted to post pictures, but they're in Windows Live Photo Gallery and My Pictures, and not all of them are in both. I've spent too much time on it this morning, so I'm just going to post a few pictures and leave it alone.

My mom fell about 2 weeks ago and went to the ER. She had a CT scan plus X-rays of her hip, thigh, and ribs and they all came out negative. She's been in pretty extreme pain whenever she sits up or down or gets up out of bed, but her doctor said bruised ribs are very painful and take a long time to heal. Mom has insisted that something was 'just not right', and she called for an ambulance at 12:30 AM this morning! My sister called to tell me. The first thing I said was, 'Tell me she didn't fall???' Thank goodness she didn't. We both tried to dissuade her from going to the hospital, but it was too late when I called; she was on the stretcher. Long story short: 1. I knew she would be well taken care of at the hospital and I didn't want to go there and be up all night. 2. I slept for maybe 20 minutes twice during the night because I was worried and I wasn't there. I called the hospital at 5:15 to find out she'd been discharged. I called The Annapolitan to find out she'd been transported and was asleep. I finally gave up trying to sleep at 5:30. Mom's discharge papers simply say to keep taking meds for pain.

In other news, my vacations are over for now, and it's back to reality. I had a very, very busy week at work, and I love to be busy. I did Kathy's hair (Kathy's Peace). She's recovering from her big surgery. She had a setback that sent her to the hospital for almost a week, but she's on the mend, and her visit to me was her first outing other than to doctors. I thought I'd distract her from her medical issues by giving her a band of brown hair all along her hairline to contrast with the golden blonde of the rest. OK...not on purpose. I honestly don't know how it happened! I use a different formula around the hairline because of it's 'lack of pigment' but that color always blends seamlessly with the rest. Not this time. An inch of brown from ear to ear. Funny Kathy tried to assure me that it was fine, just fine. It would fade, she said. No worries. I tried to dissuade her, especially since she mostly wears her hair pulled back, but to no avail. She called yesterday morning to see if I could fix it. Duh. It's very hard to fix a 1" band of color right on the hairline. Well, it's 75% fixed. That was the best I could do, at least for now. She insists it's fine, just fine. My co-workers assure me it's fine too. I'd be fine if it was 100% fixed. It will fade.

Here's a few pics from Stone Harbor

Big sky storm clouds


My cousin's rental house. Nice!

Time to get moving on this day. I'm so tired and out-of-whack with my lack of sleep!
A jump in the pool might be just what the doctor ordered.

18 August 2011

A mini...

I wanted to write a nice post tonight, but the words just wouldn't flow, so I deleted what I wrote. Plus, I want to post pictures from my trip, but I'm having a hard time figuring out the picture folders on Vista. So... I'll just have to write about it another time. I had a wonderful mini-vacation this week. Two nights and three days were perfect. Wouldn't it be great to do that every week? In my dreams I could do it. I have a whole new appreciation for the Jersey Shore. Well, at least the Stone Harbor part of it. It was really heavenly.

I'll be back soon!

11 August 2011

Life's a Beach

It's a little cool outside this morning and I'm sitting on the porch in my nightgown. A breeze is blowing and it feels so good! The hummingbirds are really active; it's a great sight to look up and see.

Rob and I had a great time on our beach vacation. It was an easy 2.5 hour drive to get there, with about half of it through farmland. We went right to one of the Delaware Seashore State Park locations in Rehoboth. We stayed on the beach till about 6:00. I'm so glad Rob likes the beach as much as me. As usual, the later in the day it got, the less we wanted to leave. We finally checked into our hotel, then spent the night doing the typical boardwalk thing, ending with soft-serve ice cream. Yum! On Monday we went to Bethany Beach, where I vacationed for many years. Here's a picture of the house we rented for about 8 years. It used to be red.

Here's one that we rented for about 3 years. It's a duplex and we rented the downstairs. It was our little yellow house then.

I loved being back in Bethany; I have so many memories. I started vacationing there when Emily was one. My mom always vacationed with us, and of course that was years before she had the stroke. I vacationed with Tony when I was married, and then my neighbor and her daughter when I was divorced. It was a great place to vacation. Myrtle Beach is my favorite vacation spot now, but I'll definitely be back to Bethany again. It's so close! They've built dunes and planted lots of sea grasses since I was last at the DE beaches. It looks so much more natural now.

We packed up on Tuesday morning and headed to Cape Henlopen, where we spent part of the day at another of the Delaware State Parks. I've never done the beach parks before, but it's easy parking, and they have bathhouses. It really worked out great. We found a nice spot to set up our chairs and umbrellas right next to a very large Amish family. The young men in the water on their boogie boards were only distinguished by their bowl haircuts and beards. The women, on the other hand, wore very simple black or blue dresses, which they wore into the water. It was so interesting to watch them. I tried to be discreet.

We ended our vacation by dropping our things off at the house and heading to my pool. The water there was delightful! I'm so spoiled by Myrtle Beach and the calm, 80+ degree ocean. The waves in DE were enormous, fueled by tropical storm Emily. Rob loved it, but I was scared, and took a bad tumble the first day that really hurt my ankles. The water was freezing, to me. I tried to think of it as invigorating and luckily it was hot enough that you just got in. No one seemed to mind the temperature.

I'm home again till next Monday, when I'll join my cousins for a few days of their vacation in Stone Harbor, NJ. I can't wait!

07 August 2011

This and That

This and That

I'm so excited to be going to the beach with Rob. We'll leave in the morning as soon as he gets here. They're calling for thunderstorms and very hot weather. We'll have fun no matter what.

I can't believe I'm sitting here eating potato chips.

I visited my parents after work and stayed till my mom was in bed. I'm amazed at the level of care and love that my mother receives. She, in turn, really cares about the people who work in her 'home'. She knows everyone's name and treats the staff and especially the caregivers like they're her real friends. They are her friends. She's genuinely interested in knowing about their lives. We spent a lot of time tonight with Jackie, one of the med-techs. She's from Kenya and has lived in the states for a year. She works 3 jobs and is paying for her brother and sister to attend university in Kenya. As she was leaving my mother's room, my mother said, 'you forgot something'. Jackie asked what it was, and my mother replied, 'my kiss'. Jackie reminded her she always comes back before she gets off work to kiss her. How sweet is that? Jackie was in the hall when I was leaving. I thanked her for caring so much for my mother. I asked her if I could give her a hug. I hugged her and gave her a kiss.

Sometimes I do silly things like this when I have a client who has a lot of hair taken off:

One of my favorite clients, Ruth McHenry, died this week just a few months after being diagnosed with lung cancer. She was 83. I had been doing Ruth's hair for over 20 years, and for the last few years she came in every Friday to have it styled. It was always so inspiring to me to see an older person who was so 'with it' both physically and mentally. She regularly drove to Atlantic City. She went to the diner almost every day for breakfast or lunch. She lived alone and took care of her house. She drove everywhere she needed to go. In my salon she greeted so many of my co-workers by name. In turn, everyone knew she was Miss McHenry. She never let me give her a discount! She reminded me of things I forgot. She picked up our conversations where we left off from Friday to Friday, not forgetting a single detail. I shared freely with her about everything. Although she was my father's age, she was like a grandmother to me. Ruth was from Germany, and once told me she thought of me as the daughter she never had. She said, 'I always wanted a Heidi'. We were very close. Ruth's husband died about 6 years ago after a very lengthy illness, and I think I helped her through that time. In the end, she had two nephews (her husband's), and a niece in Germany. She had an old neighbor who helped her out with doctor's appointments after her diagnosis, and who visited her every day (and kept me from seeing her in the end). There were only about 8 of us at her funeral, and I was the only one who spoke. She made a difference in my life, and I won't forget her. I wanted to write about my relationship with Ruth, because she was important to me.

How's that for some This and That?

05 August 2011

I love ice cream but eating it causes me to gain weight more than any other food I eat. I bought a flavor last night that I don't love just so I wouldn't be tempted to eat too much. Turns out I love it. I also try to fool myself into thinking I'm taking a smaller portion by packing a lot into a little bowl. It works, sometimes.

I have some fun stuff coming up. Rob and I are going to Rehobeth Beach, DE Sunday through Tuesday. This will be only the second time we've gone away together. I can't wait! The following week I'm going to Stone Harbor, NJ for two nights to visit my cousins on their vacation. In the meantime, Emily was invited to be a guest, along with another friend, to vacation at Deep Creek Lake, MD for a week. I saw pictures of the rental house. It's humongous and right on the water and they have a boat. She's leaving tomorrow, and I'm so happy for her. When she gets back she'll spend a week with her dad at the beach. It will be quieter than usual around here for the next few weeks.

I just deleted a bunch of stuff I wrote, and I'm too tired to recreate it. This will have to be a 2-paragraph post, with a few extra lines.


02 August 2011

A good start to the day

I've been outside for about an hour and need another, but alas, work calls. Still, I'll fit in a few words and enjoy this breezy morning a little longer.

I've spoken to Kathyand she's doing really well after her successful surgery. She's walking as much as she can, and keeping the wonderful hospital staff laughing. It's not hard for her to find humor in most any situation.

I spent so many hours cleaning my house yesterday. There's nothing like looking at the results of your hard work; it's so satisfying. However, I disliked almost every minute of the job. Oh well, I keep a very neat house and I do the cleaning when I have to. There's just so many other things I want to do with my time. My salvation after cleaning was to go to the pool for an hour. The water was delightful, the sky blue with fluffy white clouds, and the surrounding trees vibrant green. I think I swam my laps with a smile on my face. It was so hot that I had my book on the edge of the pool and when I wasn't swimming, I was reading while in the water. How wonderful is that? And how wonderful to come home to a very clean house.

My siblings and I had had such a good experience at my parent's house last night. I was worried about some issues that I knew would come up and some possessions that I knew would be in contention. It went wonderfully. At one point I said, I feel so warm and fuzzy. Silly me. We had a great Chinese dinner delivered, and sat around the table eating, catching up on our families. Ah... And I did get the TV and the whole Bose surround system. And lots of things with sentimental meaning. More stuff for my very crowded basement. Oh well.

And that's that, for now. The 'party is over' (my time on my porch) and it's time to get ready for work.

Happy Tuesday!

01 August 2011

Sitting on my porch feels like vacation

I'm sitting outside on my porch. I'm really thankful to have this little covered porch. I spent hours and hours with my friend Patty on her large covered porch last night and it was amazing. The house I've stayed at on Edisto Island had many porches overlooking the Edisto Creek and that was an image I'll never forget. We never sat on the porch at the house I grew up in. I'll have to do that one day. My porch has a view of my garden, which I love, and of three homes on my cul-de-sac. It's a fine view. I wish I could sit out here every morning with regular coffee. I'm thankful I can sit out here at all (glass half-full).

A little catch up...My parents are doing well at The Annapolitan, their home of 3 months. My father has settled into his routine of spending most hours of the day downstairs in the 'library' reading or watching TV. He goes upstairs only for naps or to go to bed at night. He seems very content. My mother loves, loves, loves the caregivers and considers them her friends. Her favorite things to do are to sit outside on the glider and feed/watch the birds, and to sit in her bright comfortable room and listen to her favorite music on the TV. Oh, and they both love to eat and love the food there. Having my parents move into their new home has been the best decision ever. My mom has still had some falls, but only been bruised, thank goodness, and only one trip to the ER. They still don't get along, but that's nothing new. My siblings and I are in the process of clearing out their house. It's been slow, because no one wants to take the time to do it. My sister Ilene from GA is here this week, and she's gotten a lot of things done, as have Lisa and I. Tonight the four of us siblings will get together to decide who wants what. I'm nervous about that, but will hope for the best outcome. There's not much I want, and nothing is a deal-breaker for me. I just want peace. And the TV, if it works out that way.

Ilene and I made this Tomato and Corn Pie for dinner on Saturday night after Summer raved about it. This is the picture from the website, but ours looked exactly like it!

It was very labor-intensive to make, and thank goodness there was two of us working together. We also made the quinoa salad I love and eat every week. My sister Lisa was a big help with making that. Corn on the cob rounded out our meal, and the three of us sisters had a great night together.

There's a delightful breeze blowing, as I sit here. The hummingbirds are really active this morning. The only thing looming for me is housework, but I can put that off for as long as I want. My neat house is deceiving! I think I'm going to savor this time on my porch. It's a wonderful refuge.