Gathering Graces 7/26/2017

*My legs felt better this morning.  I can tell they are getting stronger as we walk through our beautiful town.
*I did not work at Sierra Silver today, so I was able to spend more time with Mom.
*Shortly after I arrived at Kindred, I took Mom outside in the back courtyard area.  I pushed her around and we looked at the many apple trees and also found a pear tree.  We also looked at the flowers and vegetables and berries growing.  We stopped long enough for Mom to pick a few raspberries to eat.  Then I parked Mom under the covered patio area and we visited about flowers and gardening and many other things.
*After we went inside, Liz, her CNA from Hospice came for a visit, and visited a while.  She had just been a part of a wedding over the weekend, so she was asking Mom about her wedding, and it was fun to hear Mom recall events from her wedding day.  One thing that stood out to her were the steps you had to go down to the reception area in the basement of the church, and how that was hard for some people to do.
*After Bill arrived, I left and went home and did some work on my other job, Gear Up.  I have one more year left on this job, and I have to complete my plan for next year and submit it to my directors in Boise, and this is causing me a bit of anxiety, because I have not completed this yet.  My goal is by the end of Friday, it will be completed.
*Paul, Sadie and I arrived around dinner time to spend the evening with Mom.  She ate pretty well, then was ready to do some picking up and cleaning in her room.  She put things in drawers, and tidied up a bit.  I asked if she wanted to go out front and sit in the gazebo, but she would have none of that!!  She wanted to stay in her room.  At 7 p.m., Jeopardy came on, and this used to be one of Mom’s favorite shows to watch, but she hadn’t watched it in a while.  But tonight was different.  She sat and watched Jeopardy, (I couldn’t believe Jeopardy could devote a whole category to English Muffins, but they did tonight), then watched Wheel of Fortune, then was ready to have someone come and put her to bed.  It was nice that Mom had a good full day today.
*I had just finished Fannie Flagg’s book I Still Dream About You, and was now looking for a new book to begin.  I went into my office and looked on the shelves, but couldn’t find anything.  Then I opened the doors in the hallway, and there was the perfect book to start, one I try and read every few years, All the President’s Men

Gathering Graces 7/25/2017

*Day two of walking in the morning.  I seemed to be a little slower.  The heel on my left foot that gave me some trouble in Italy was a little tender this morning, but not bad.  As long as I have supportive shoes on, it seems to be okay. 
*When I arrived in Mom’s room, she was up and ready for the day.  I stayed and visited with her for a while before Paul came and picked me up to take me to work.
*Work at the Sierra Silver Mine Tour was busy today.  In the afternoon we had a tour bus come in for tours. I almost messed it up because I didn’t mark down the correct times the groups would be touring.  But it all worked out.  It was a crazy couple of hours, but we all survived!!
*I had a conversation with one of the ladies from the tour bus.  She was from Connecticut.  She told me she was sorry, but she was not that impressed with our mountains here in Wallace.  She preferred the majestic Rocky Mountains around Lake Louise and Banff in Alberta, Canada.  I am the total opposite.  Yes, I believe the Rocky Mountains are beautiful, but I love our Bitterroot Mountain Range here in the Silver Valley.  I remember when we lived in Glendive, Montana, and would drive over the state of Montana, and we would arrive in a certain part of western Montana, where the valley would narrow and the mountains would be on either side, and I knew I was getting close to home.  The Rocky Mountains of Montana and Canada are majestic and beautiful, but give me my enclosed mountain valley any day.  To me, that is home.


Gathering Graces 7/24/2017

*Nikki and I finally started walking again this morning.  It felt so good to be walking through beautiful Kellogg in the morning.  But boy did my legs feel it by the end!!
*Mom was still in bed when I arrived at Kindred.  She had not wanted to get up or have breakfast.  But she wake up enough to drink some water and take her pills.  And I found out that holding her hands calms her down.  So I held her hands before I left for work which seemed to help.
*A busy day at the Sierra Silver Mine Tour today.  I had not taken the tour yet this summer, so I hopped on the trolley and took the 11:30 a.m. tour through the mine.  I always learn something new!! 
*It is always interesting the things customers share.  Today, a gentleman was looking at the wood around the entrance to the hallway in our gift shop, and he came and showed me photographs on his cell phone of a tree house they toured over in western Washington that a man made himself out of cedar, and the main doorway was a polished cedar trunk turned upside down.  It was beautiful.  The whole house was very interesting.  Apparently there is some reality show about tree houses that was going to come and interview this man about featuring his house on the show.
*Paul spent the afternoon with Mom, and around 4 p.m. I received a text from him saying Mom was awake and happy!  That was great news to hear.  And later she ate some of her chicken salad sandwich.  When I arrived around 6 p.m., she was still pretty alert, but was getting tired and wanting to get back on her bed.  So I waited until she was back on her bed and kissed her good night, and headed home.
*My brother Bill has been in Eugene this past week, and today he and his wife Debbie traveled from Eugene and arrived in Kellogg sometime in the evening.  It will be nice to have them both here.
*When I got home, Paul and I ate dinner out on the patio, and I read some of the book I am reading, and by around 8 p.m., I was in bed. 


Gathering Graces 7/23/2017

*I went to see Mom at Kindred this morning.  She was up in her wheelchair, and one of the aides had put on a different wig and had fixed it really nice.  I sat with Mom for a while in her room, then we went outside in the courtyard to enjoy the beautiful morning.  Paul came and joined me after church.
*Paul and I left and headed to Coeur d’Alene.  We stopped at Costco to stock up on a few things.
*Around 1:30 p.m. we joined our daughter Molly at the Kroc Center.  She was joining us to watch their production of South Pacific. It was really well done.  Listening to many of the song brought back lots of memories of using those songs on the Sixth Street stage.  I hadn’t remembered some of the story, which was nice, because some of the show surprised me.
*One such song, in particular, will never be the same for Paul, Molly and I ever again.  And it didn’t really hit us until the song was being sung.  As soon as the actor on stage began singing Some Enchanted Evening, Molly turned to me and said, “I don’t think I can ever take this song seriously again”.  She started giggling.  I started giggling.  Paul started giggling.  The reason was two or three different times at the Sixth Street Theater, Paul and I dressed up like the Farmer and the Cow, and it was one of the songs Paul, as the Farmer, sang to me, as the Cow, as I mooed my way right through the song.  In case you never saw it, here is a photo of us.

Farmer and the Cow at the Sixth Street Theater
*After the show, Molly, Paul and I headed to MOD Pizza in Coeur d’Alene.  I had heard wonderful things about this restaurant from many different people, so we decided to try it.  It did not disappoint.  There are three sizes of pizza, and you can put as many toppings on the pizza as you want, and the price is the same.  My pizza was delicious, and I paired the pizza with a glass of Pineapple Hard Cider which was also delicious.  An all around really great meal!!

Pizza and Cider at MOD Pizza
*When we arrived back in Kellogg, we stopped and dropped off Mom’s laundry and hung it up.  She was in bed.
*We went over to Christy and Everett’s house and visited with them a bit and talked about how Mom’s afternoon went.
*Then Paul and I headed home and I enjoyed the rest of my pizza outside, enjoying another beautiful evening in our backyard.


Gathering Graces 7/22/2017

*The day began with a big hug from Zoe as she departed for her home back in Caldwell for a couple of weeks.  We will miss her, because it has been so great having her here for the summer.
*When I arrived at Kindred this morning, Mom was in her wheelchair, and they were making her bed.  They got her dressed and back into bed, and she was ready to rest.  While I was there I turned on Mom’s Smart TV, and pulled up a radio interview my sister-in-law Debbie and her group Babes With Axes has done on Friday for Mom and I to listen to. Babes With Axes was having a reunion concert in Eugene, Oregon tonight.  It was fun listening to the interview, and hearing a few of the songs that the group would be performing at the concert.
*Mom’s friend Mary Pierce arrived for a visit, so I left so they could visit together.  Mary asked me a bit about my trip to Italy, and asked if I had made it to Croatia, because that is where her mother was from.  I said, no I was only in Italy.
*Paul went over and sat with Mom in the afternoon.  She was too sleepy to get up for lunch, and Mom slept the whole time Paul was there with her.
*I enjoyed some time in the backyard this afternoon, eating lunch and spending a bit of time on my hammock.  It was nice to have a relaxing afternoon to just be.

Mom enjoying a beautiful evening in the gazebo in front of Kindred.
*I returned to Kindred and Mom was up in bed, and had eaten some dinner, and was quite alert.  She got some help to get into her wheelchair, and Paul and I took her out to the gazebo located in front of Kindred, and enjoyed the beautiful summer evening.  What a gorgeous view of the mountains surrounding Kellogg from the gazebo, and the blue sky against the dark green mountains was breathtaking.  Yes, I think I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world!! Christy and Everett soon joined us, and we all had a nice visit together.
*Paul and I returned home and had some dinner out on the patio, and then Paul said he thought he might like to see a movie.  I looked at the options on Netflix, and said, “How about a Disney movie?”  Zoe had given us some good reviews about Moana, so we started it, but didn’t quite make it all the way through. We will finish it on Sunday evening.


Gathering Graces 7/21/2017

*Spent some time with Mom this morning.   I had brought my computer, so I showed her some photos from my trip to Italy.  Before I left for the morning, she was resting in bed.
*I went to the store to do a little grocery shopping.  I experienced a bit of a traffic jam in Kellogg.  If you have never been to our little town, sometimes the Yokes grocery store has a semi truck back into their back door area to deliver freight, and it stops traffic for a few minutes.  Well, this particular truck driver had to take a few tries to back into the door.  Mr. Impatient Guy, a few cars ahead of me, gets out of his car, puffing on his cigarette and you could tell he had been “quite inconvenienced”.  Please...give me a break.  We had to sit there maybe five minutes at the most.  Nothing to get all exasperated about.  Mr. Impatient Guy jumped back in his car, roared down Hill Street, and headed for the Interstate.  I hope Mr. Impatient Guy takes time to stop and smell the roses today.
*I shopped at both Kellogg grocery stores today.  I started out at Stein’s.  The road work they are doing around Kellogg has reached the corner of Cameron and Hill Street, and the road in front of Steins is all torn up with crews working on the sewer project.  So then drivers think the Stein’s parking lot is the Indy 500, as the roar through the parking lot to take the back road of Brown Avenue to get where they need to go.
*Taking the wrong way through Kellogg’s streets can prove to be a bit dicey.  Usually when I go see Mom at Kindred I take a right out of our subdivision and go around past Kellogg Middle School, over the river, then down Cameron Avenue.  The road work is beyond Kindred now.  Well, one day I made a mistake and took a left.  Trying to navigate back on the Sunnyside area streets is a little scary.  You go down one street, big front loaders are coming your way.  You detour down another street, and you wonder, “Am I even suppose to be on this street?”  Well, I made it through the maze of road work to Kindred that day, but will never make the mistake of turning left out of my subdivision to see Mom again.
*Zoe had been having trouble with air conditioning in her car, and Paul has become the master of watching YouTube videos to figure out how to do things, and it has been very successful.  Today, the part he ordered to fix Zoe’s air conditioning problem arrived, and he crawled under the dash of her car to fix the problem.  I had been taking a short nap, when all of a sudden Zoe comes bursting into my room with a big smile on her face, saying, “He did it!!  Dad fixed the air conditioning.  I turned it on and it works!!”  She was very excited, because she is driving back to her home in Caldwell tomorrow, and the air conditioning will make the trip much more pleasant. 
*Paul and I started dinner preparations for our small dinner party we were having this evening.  Earlier in the week I had received a text from my wonderful friend Stephanie Bauman Broaddus, saying she would be in town and if we could get together.  We decided Friday night would work for dinner and a BBQ.  Her daughter Jenna would be joining us, and another daughter Jamie would be driving over from Glendive, Montana that day, and would be coming as well.  The next day I received a message from my sister-in-law Laurie, saying her and Tammy McMorrow would be in town, and if they could come over and visit Friday night.  So, all of a sudden, Paul, Zoe and I are hosting a wonderful summer bbq with five very wonderful guests.  We fixed barbecued chicken, grilled veggies, green salad and fruit salad.  Stephanie brought some Italian bread and a couple of pies.  We had some wonderful visiting time, with Tammy, Jamie and I talking about our travels to Italy, Stephanie sharing about her time on her recent cruise to Northern Europe, and Jenna had just returned from a trip to Washington D.C., which she loved.  
*After Paul, Laurie and Tammy returned from a three mile run, we moved our chairs over to the fire pit, and enjoyed a wonderful fire and more spirited conversation.  I went and got the marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers, and some of us roasted marshmallows and made smores.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect summer evening.

Check out Tammy's book on Amazon.com.
*Tammy has recently published a book called Gatekeepers: Let’s Talk About Teaching.  Here is a description of the book from Amazon.... In Gatekeepers, Tammy McMorrow recognizes that teachers live in a world of deafening voices that bombard their profession with opinions, traditions, and mandates. Yet she beckons teachers to be sentinels at the doors of their classrooms — to stand watch and protect their students from any method or practice that could prove harmful. Tammy combines the research of several distinguished educational pioneers with over twenty years of her own classroom experience to question the status quo. The varied topics in this book challenge teachers of all grade levels to critically think about how they teach students’ hearts and minds. She invites her readers to join this important conversation and guard the gate. She invites them to be gatekeepers. Stephanie and I both purchased a few copies, and I look forward to reading it.  If it sounds like something you think you may want to read, look for it on Amazon.com.


Gathering Graces 7/20/2017

*My morning visit with Mom found her up and in her wheelchair and doing well.  They took her to have a shower at one point, and she came back with her real hair curled with a curling iron by Tiffany.  It looked really cute!!  Christy arrived and I stayed and visited with both Mom and Christy for a while, then headed home. 
*I returned when Mom was ready for lunch.  Then Liz, her hospice aide, showed up and visited with Mom and myself for a while.  Then Zoe arrived, because Mom wanted her fingernails spruced up.  While Zoe worked on Mom’s nails, I showed Mom some photographs that Zoe brought over from Mom’s house.  Mom was ready to be put on her bed to rest, so Zoe finished her nails and I finished showing her photos while she was on the bed.  Zoe soon left and then Paul came and I left a bit later.
*Paul picked up some Ragu spaghetti sauce and bread for the spaghetti dinner he put together for us tonight.  We enjoyed our meal out on  the patio, then Zoe made preparations for our next activity....Paint Nite with Bob Ross. 

My path in the woods.  Can you find the two bunnies?

Paul's trees and path.
*There were still paint canvases left from our paint night from last Christmas, so Zoe chose an episode for us to do.  We had painted our black tree earlier in the day, then we added other bushes and a path, and other things.  It is always fun how our paintings always look so different.  It is fun to create the paintings.  Zoe did a Narnia theme to her painting, with a lamppost, and the umbrella belonging to Mr. Tumnus.


Gathering Graces 7/19/2017

*Happy Anniversary to me!!  Thirty-one years ago, Paul and I were married right here in Kellogg, Idaho.
*We were talking about our wedding, and Paul made a comment about not remembering the cake.  So I went and got our wedding albums and we did a little reminiscing about our wedding and honeymoon.  Our cake was made by Pinehurst Elementary secretary Sarah Thompson Mason.  I remember she had made the cake for my friend Libby when she was married, and I always loved the cake, so I had her make mine as well. 
*I had purchased Paul and I sweatshirts in Pisa, so I gave him his sweatshirt  and he also got a huge Toblerone candy bar that said “Missed You” on it.  I found that duty free gem in the Munich Airport.

Pisa sweatshirts for our anniversary!
*I went over and spent some time with Mom before Paul drove me to work.  She was up in her wheelchair, in her pajamas, looking out the window.  (Can I say again how much I LOVE that she has this room!!!)  She didn’t have compression socks on, so I took some of her ointment she likes and put it on her legs and feet and put her compression socks on.  Then I put some ointment on her arms and back as well.  She had told Zoe her back gets itchy, so that seemed to feel really good to her.  Two aides came in and dressed her for the day, and after she was dressed, I departed for work.
*It was nice and steady at work today.  In the afternoon, we had a tour bus group of senior citizens join us for some tours, and I had enjoyable conversation with a gentleman who invited me to come and visit his beautiful state of Nebraska, saying Nebraska often gets a bad reputation for being not very beautiful, but the part he lives in is very beautiful.  I hope to take him up on the offer some day.
*I sent Paul 31 text messages throughout the day to help celebrate our 31 years together. 
*Paul picked me up from work and we went to City Limits in Wallace for dinner.  Thank you Julie Hanson for the gift card, so we could enjoy a nice anniversary dinner!!  It was fun getting hugs from Erin Nansel and also visiting with John Turner.  Thanks John for letting me know you read my blog posts every day and you enjoy them!!
*We went home and joined Zoe on the patio, and enjoyed a bottle of Koos*Koos*Kia wine from Colter’s Creek winery in Julietta.  I had been saving this for a special occasion, and celebrating our anniversary seemed pretty special to me!!
*The reminiscing about our wedding continued as we thought about songs sung at our wedding.  One song was Doubly Good To You that Paul had me play on my Kindle.  That led to another song Not To Us, and then we had an evening of listening to Contemporary Christian music from the 1980’s.  Boy did some of these songs take us back.  It even reminded Paul that he was in a Christian group with two other guys when we lived in Glendive, called “Crossroads”.  Neither of us had thought of that for a long time.
*Another song we thought of was O Sifuni Mungu.  Hey Kerry O'Connor Burman, Amy Keil Welty, Paula Schlepp Frank, Jen Hawkinson....do you remember our puppet show to this song with those big cool puppets they had at church?  Such a great memory!
*I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate today.