Gathering Graces 5/23/2017

*I had some socks and her new shampooed wig to deliver to Mom this morning, so I stopped off and got them to her before I headed to work.  I also took some time to weigh her, take her blood pressure and heart rate, and check her oxygen level.  They do this all as part of her care at Kindred, but we also like to keep our own records as well.
*My Gear Up students do various tests on Jackass Creek that runs alongside and through Kellogg High School as part of their service learning project each year.  It was an absolutely perfect day to be outside doing this project.  Some classes did Biological Assessments such as identifying macro-vertebrates, looking at the micro-habitats, and observing the stream habitat type, the plant cover and algae cover of the stream.  Other students did Physical/Chemical analysis, which included measuring stream depth, stream flow, stream velocity, pH, chloride and oxygen levels of the stream, and observing the color and odor of the stream.
Testing the water next to KHS

*Most of the day at work was spent on preparing for our upcoming Scholarship Awards Assembly.  It is so exciting being a part of helping students obtain funding to attend college and receive a post-secondary education.
*I met with a few parents tonight whose students are attending the Gear Up Youth Summit this summer to go over information with them.  I am unable to attend this year.  Ss the six students attending, plus my daughter Cosette, who will be their chaperone, load a bus to go to Pocatello to spend a week at Idaho State University, I will be driving to the Spokane airport to start my journey to Italy.
*After being at KHS all day, I finally arrived home around 6:30 p.m., and Paul had made dinner, some spaghetti with white sauce and smoked oysters, some red sauce, Kale salad and bread.  It was delicious. 
*I needed some dirt therapy tonight, so I decided it was time to plant my tomato plants.  I had looked up online if there were any secrets to planting tomato plants, and there was so I thought, let’s put some extra items in the planting hole and see if they work.  When I filled the containers with soil, I layered the potting soil with compost.  Then I dug the hole, and put baking soda, Epsom Salt and Bone Meal in the hole.  Then once the tomato was planted, I added some slow releasing fertilizer and mixed in it as well.  Since it isn’t quite warm enough during the evening, I decided to bring out my water wells to cover the plants, creating a mini greenhouse of protection around them until the nights warm up a little bit more. I hope this yields some delicious tomatoes this summer.


Gathering Graces 5/22/2017

Alhambra Slide on Google Earth
*I mentioned something about not planting things until the snow is off the Alhambra Slide, and it started quite a conversation of comments about the slide, and how many people had heard that saying, and how my friend April didn’t even know what we were talking about.  Kellee said her dad had just mentioned the same thing last weekend, and she thought the slide looked like a woman.  I have never seen it that way.  Cedris and Jamee both said going by the sayings of our elders is a good idea.  It was a fun exchange.
*I needed to order some shoes for my upcoming trip.  I found my favorite Sketchers at Costco.com and ordered two pair.  Then I found the sandals I wanted, and they were also Sketchers.  I hope they all provide my feet much comfort this summer.
*I went over a little before Mom’s dinnertime and visited with her for a couple of hours.  It was a hard visit, but a good visit.  The good thing is Mom is getting better, so is thinking more about things, and thinking more clearly about them.  So she had a lot of questions about a lot of things.  Some of the questions were hard to answer, some questions I didn’t know the answer to.  But we both concluded that we need to keep talking and asking questions as our family continues to figure out all of this out together.


Gathering Graces 5/21/2017

*I went over and got Mom going on her day.
*Church was wonderful, and it was great leading the congregation in worship this morning.  Pastor Dave shared a wonderful sermon, asking the questions, “Does God want us Successful or Fruitful?”  Why wouldn’t we want to be fruitful, and have  the Holy Spirit change our lives by having us be a people of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  Imagine a world where everyone lived a fruitful life?  Things would be so different.
*After church I went to Mom’s house and made hummingbird feed to fill her a couple of her feeders to put in her backyard.  While there Christy stopped by to visit before her and Everett headed out of town for a couple of days.  I am so glad they get to get away together and spend some much needed rest and relaxation.
*Paul and I went to the hospital to visit Jim Vergobbi.  He was recovering from surgery on his hip.  He looked good, and was ready to be home.  I think he goes home tomorrow.
*Because the weather was so nice, and I wouldn’t have time next weekend to do work in the yard, Paul and I drove to our local Ace Hardware and I purchased tomato plants, herbs, flowers and seed potatoes.  I got back home, I threw caution to the wind, and finished planting my seeds, which included cucumbers, parsnips, zucchini, yellow squash, red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes.  Tomorrow I will put the tomatoes into pots and put water wells around them to keep them warm.  I hope to get all the flowers into pots as well this week.  In Kellogg, the saying is, “don’t plant until the snow is off the Alhambra slide”.  Well, the snow is getting close to being gone, and I looked at the 15 day forecast, and no frost in store.  So I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
*It was off to the theater once again in Christy and Everett’s pick up so we could bring some larger items home, and do a few other things at the theater.
*When we returned to Mom’s house, I filled the hummingbird feeders and put them up in her  yard. 
*Then Paul and I went to have a visit with Mom before she went to bed.  I had picked some flowers in her yard to bring over to her, and she loved the bouquet. 


Gathering Graces 5/20/2017

*This morning Paul and I joined a group of theater volunteers to help clean the Sixth Street Theater and get it ready for our opening in June.  Thanks Keith Mckay, Cynthia Bentley, Dacey Hayman and Tammy Copeland for all your help!!

Planted seeds in the raised beds today

*It was rainy in the morning, but by afternoon the sun came out, and I was able to plant some of my vegetable seeds in my raised beds, including lettuce, carrots, beets, string beans, peas, cabbage and radishes. 
*I had a wonderful visit with Mom around her dinnertime.  I was with her about two hours, and she visited the entire time, and didn’t seem worn out or tired at all, which is really good.  It was very enjoyable.
*When I left to see Mom, I noticed the trees in our side yard are in bloom.  These don’t last

Blooming trees in our side yard.

long, so when they do bloom, I always try and capture a photo.
*I stopped at the store on the way home to pick up hamburger buns, and came home to delicious hamburgers Paul had grilled.  It was still nice outside, so we enjoyed a lovely dinner on the patio.  I love spending time in our backyard.  One of my favorite parts of summer!!


Gathering Graces 5/19/2017

*What a delightful day full of sunshine, good friends and good food.
*I went over to see Mom this morning, and I wheeled her outside in Kindred’s back area where flowers are blooming and the sun was shining.  We sat outside for a while and visited, and I texted Bill letting him know Mom was available to talk, and he called right back and talked to Mom for a while.  Mom was doing good today both times I visited her, and was feeling good, too.
*Today my book group gathering at French Gulch Farms for lunch and the discussion of the book The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.  What an incredible book.  I loved learning about the culture of the Akha people, one of China’s ethnic minorities, and also the tea industry.  The type of tea they have in this Akha region, which is in the Yunnan province, is called Pu’er.  Not only did we discuss the book and have a delicious lunch, but Sue brought a book that showed more about the Akha people and culture, because she lived in Burma as a child, and was familiar with the Akha people.  She also brought a beautiful tunic and necklace made by the Akha.  Vicki brought us each some Pu’er tea to drink with our dessert, and a packet to take home and make ourselves.  I brought home some Chen Xiang tea to try.
*Some of my high school friends gathered uptown at Radio Brewing for dinner.  We had a wonderful evening talking about our aging parents, and how everyone needs to bring out their reading glasses to read anything, our children, my upcoming trip to Italy, and many of the changes our lives are bringing.  Tina also had her niece Payton there who is flying to Scotland for the summer for an internship.  She just graduated from the U of I in Environmental Science, and it was wonderful to hear about her adventures for the summer.  It was a great evening.
*When I returned home, Paul and I watched the movie Hidden Figures.  What a good movie.  But I was so angry at the way those women were treated who worked at NASA.  But things did change for the better by them being there.  I highly recommend watching this movie.


Gathering Graces 5/18/2017

*I put the wrong room number on my coffee order at KHS this morning, and it never arrived.  I went in to the classroom that makes the coffee and told them I never got it.  So one of my favorite seniors, Brandon “Bran Muffin” Church made me another cup of delicious coffee.  Then I went back to my office, and saw my original cup of coffee on a co-workers desk.  They must have delivered it there when they couldn’t fine me.  Oh well...it all worked it because Paul ended up with the other cup of coffee!
*Today was spent with the junior class throughout the day, talking about what they should plan ahead for next year as seniors.  I think some of them weren’t quite ready to hear and start talking about some of this information. 
*The evening ended up being pleasant, so Paul and I were able to get outside and prepare the raised beds for planting by turning over the soil in each bed.  Paul also got the compost out of the composter so we can add it to the soil in our “rubber tire” beds, and the buckets I grow the tomatoes in.  We also sat outside for a while, and enjoyed the beautiful evening.  You forget how enjoyable those times are when you haven’t been able to be outside much because of the weather.
*Paul and I went to visit Mom around her dinner time.  She still has a cough, which concerns me a bit.  Mom shared about her day in Coeur d’Alene. She went to an appointment, then Christy, Everett and Mom went to Applebees for lunch, which Mom enjoyed.  Christy said it is apparent that Mom is getting stronger, because it is much easier for her to get in and out of Christy’s car, so that was encouraging. 


Gathering Graces 5/17/2017

*I am so thankful for the messages I receive from people regarding Mom and myself and my siblings.  It means so much to know people are praying for you, and thinking about you, and it does provide much strength and encouragement.
*Sadie went to visit Mom this afternoon, and now Mom has treats in her room to give her.  Sadie still gets pretty excited being at Kindred, so it took her awhile to settle down and eat her treat.  We visited about her doctor’s appointment with her cardiologist, which really didn’t bring up anything new.  I was nice to know that having Mom transported to her appointment in the Kindred van made it much easier for Mom and Christy to get to her appointment.
*The rain let up a bit this afternoon, and it was nice to be outside, and have it be a little dryer.
*I picked up Christy and Betty and we headed up the river to Sally Nordstrom’s house for our P.E.O. meeting.  It is always a beautiful drive going to Sally’s house.  It was wonderful seeing Bea Radford at the meeting, and visiting with her, and eating her delicious treats she made for the meeting.  We also go to here Sherri Rewoldt talk about dog agility, and watched a short video of one of her dogs in competition.  It also warmed my heart when different members shared about what brought them happiness, and Christy shared how our times visiting after we have been with Mom in the sitting area at Kindred really bring her happiness.  This brings me happiness, too.  It is so nice to have one another on this journey with Mom.
*I love this quote from my journal. Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder.  Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe.  Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number.  ~Abraham Joshua Heschel


Gathering Graces 5/16/2017

*I woke up with a winter weather advisory on my phone.  I wondered if my weather app had some malfunction.  Quite a rainy day today, but, on the positive side, our yard looks green, lush and beautiful.
*Today was my last day in the classroom with seniors.  Another chance to make sure they are signed up for their college classes, or have their financial aid taken care of, or the myriad of others things they need to do to get ready for college and life beyond high school.
*This morning I attended a “Care Meeting” for Mom at Kindred.  Mom, Christy and I were there with the heads of the different departments so they could explain Mom’s care and the goals of departments.  It was a really good meeting.  Mom will be staying at Kindred for the time being, as that is what had been determined is best by medical professionals, Mom and our family.
*I am realizing that with Mom’s health, she doesn’t need 24 hour supervision.  She needs 24 hour medical care.  And that is what she is now receiving.
*I was talking to a co-worker about why it is, when we need to be at our best for a loved one, our health and well being are put on the back burner?  I feel like in the last few weeks I have not walked consistently, I have eaten crappy food, and have not taken time to take care of myself.  I think this is pretty typical.  I hope to change that soon.  I think as I adapt to the new routine of Mom being at Kindred, things will improve.


Gathering Graces 5/15/2017

*Christy took Mom to see her primary care giver, Dr. McDonald today.  The doctor explained to Mom that living at Kindred will give her better care than she would receive living at home.  As she was sharing with me about her appointment, she asked me what I thought about her living where she is, and not at home.  My concern is her fluctuating vitals, and how they change from day to day.  When she is at Kindred, there is trained medical staff to respond to her needs.  It wouldn’t be like that at home.  I pray my heart, and the hearts of my siblings are filled with wisdom and love and we move forward in deciding what is best for Mom.
*Paul said he would make dinner tonight, and I said I wanted a big, healthy salad.  Boy, did her deliver.  He made a delicious green salad with chicken and many other goodies in it.  Yum! Yum!
*After dinner it was off to the dentist to have my temporary crown replaced with the permanent one.  My mouth was very achy when I left, but by bedtime it was much better.
*I went to see Mom after my dentist appointment.  We had a nice visit, and she told me about her day.  Christy came toward the end of my visit.  We both left and took some time to talk about Mom’s visit in the lobby of  Kindred, and Christy told me more about today’s doctor’s visit.  Tomorrow we have a meeting at Kindred about Mom’s care she is receiving.
*I spent some time tonight planning out my vegetable garden.  I hope to get some of the seeds planted this weekend. 


Gathering Graces 5/14/2017

*What a wonderful Mother’s Day today!  I felt honored and blessed all day long.
*I went over to see Mom before church, and all was well at Kindred.
*Church was good, then I headed home.  I spent the afternoon creating wine bottle hummingbird feeders that I am going to sell.  Mom received one for Mother’s Day.  While I was making them, Travis sat down and we had a wonderful visit about traveling the world.
*Paul and I went over to Kindred to pick up Mom to take her to Christy’s house for Mother’s Day dinner.  We stopped and picked up her umbrella and a blanket at her house in case it was raining when coming into Christy’s house.  By the time we brought Mom out to our car, the sun was shining!!  We made it over to Christy’s house and into her house, no problems.

Four generations photo...Mom, Me, Molly, Sadie!!

*It was a wonderful Mother’s Day meal of BBQ baby back ribs, corn on the cob, fruit salad and strawberry cake.  After dinner, brother Bill called, then Zoe was on video chat.  Coco called me at home later in the evening.
*We got Mom back to Kindred, and she was ready to get in her pajamas and get ready for bed.  I felt the same way when I got home.  I was exhausted!!  My evening was spent on the couch, watching NCIS, and eating popcorn!!  Paul had to come in at one point and tell me I had slept through the entire episode of the last NCIS I had put on, and that he was heading to bed.  Sounded like a good idea to me, so I headed to bed, too. 
*What a wonderful day.


Gathering Graces 5/13/2017

*What a luxury.  I got to sleep in today!
*I went to visit Mom this morning, and she was doing good.
*I came home and finally had a day to tackle cleaning the house.
*Bill and Debbie wanted to give Mom flowers for Mother’s Day, so I ordered them earlier this week, and went up to pick them up from the florist and deliver them to Mom this afternoon.  She loved them.  While visiting Mom, I took her out to the sitting room and we had a wonderful visit.  Here is Mom with her flowers from Bill and Debbie.  It was also very sweet today when one of Mom’s roommates told me she was glad that we were there to take care of Mom and make her feel better.
Mom and her Mother's Day bouquet from Bill and Debbie.
*Molly and Travis arrived this afternoon.  They made me a delicious Mother’s Day meal.  They made Mango Habenaro Tacos and Gnochi in an apricot jam reduction sauce. 
*I briefly talked to Zoe on the phone.  It is always a treat to talk to one of my daughters on the phone.
*After dinner I drove to Wallace to do some filming.  We didn’t get it all done, so I will film my final scene in July, after I return from Italy.


Gathering Graces 5/12/2017

*I went to see Mom this morning and she was VERY tired.  I think the night before and this morning she was recovering from her big outing to Post Falls on Wednesday to visit the heart center.
*I was very energized at work today.  I’m not sure if the coffee I received from the students who make our weekly cup of coffee was part of the reason, but I felt good all day, and got lots done.  I talked to students about Youth Summit, and it was so fun that each of them is very excited to attend!  I helped seniors with accepting scholarships, and various other things throughout the day. 
*The KHS Band instructor sent out an email to see if anyone wanted to perform in their final band concert in a special number using faculty.  Paul and I volunteered, so we went and rehearsed with them today.  The concert is at the high school on Thursday, May 25 at 7 p.m.  It should be lots of fun!!
*When I saw Mom today, she was about to get her dinner.  She was much more alert, and we had a great visit.  After dinner I wheeled her out to the nice sitting area at Kindred, and Christy joined us and we visited out there for around 30 minutes or so.  Mom’s energy level was much improved.  She was tired, but it was physically tired from her therapy she is doing, not sleepy tired, which is a good thing!!
*I went to Christy’s house to get some vegetable seeds for my garden from the packets she had purchased, and we also watched Chopped and Chopped Junior, which were both fun episodes.  The first was some of the Chopped judges cooking with their moms.  Chopped Junior had the judges cooking, and the kids judging them. 
*When I was leaving Mom’s house, her neighbor Jane had a couple suitcases for me to take home.  She is letting me borrow the suitcases for my upcoming trip to Italy, and also she filled them both with clothes I can borrow if I want to wear them while I am there, plus some travel purses to use, too.  What a blessing to have such wonderful and giving friends who are making this whole trip possible.


Gathering Graces 5/11/2017

*Saw Mom in the morning, and she had already been weighed, but she took her blood pressure and oxygen while I was there.  Lots of things to monitor daily with Mom.
*My P.E.O. chapter has a big fund-raiser each year.  We sell geraniums, either red or pink, in hanging baskets or 4 inch pots.  Today the geraniums arrived.  I switched work days so I took today off and will work tomorrow so I have the time to deliver the geraniums.  I am so thankful I could borrow Christy and Everett’s truck for my deliveries.  I took one group to people around Kellogg.  My second group was delivered to KHS, KMS and the District Office.  My final group of geraniums was delivered to Mullan and Wallace.  Christy rode along with me for this delivery.
*I finalized the first draft my menu for April’s upcoming retreat in Italy and sent her a copy to see if I am on the right track of what she was thinking regarding food for her retreat.  It will be so fun to cook the meals all week at the retreat.
*Paul got some work done around Mom’s house this afternoon, then I went over and picked up her clean laundry and a few other items, and went to visit.  Mom had a cough today, and had a slight fever.  She seemed a bit flushed.  It was put in her chart to monitor her a little more closely this evening because of her fever. 


Gathering Graces 5/10/2017

*What a whirlwind of a day!
*The book discussion group that I have been meeting with made a presentation to the School District Leadership Team this morning.  It went really well, and we hope it puts some things into motion about creating even more awareness of how trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) effect the students in our schools.
*Traditionally that last National Honor Society meeting of the year is a pizza lunch with all the current and new NHS members.  During lunch we also honored our graduating seniors as they each go on to post secondary institutions.
*After lunch all current NHS members and some of the leadership students joined Paul, Hollie Yrjana and myself to clean up the stretch of highway between Smelterville and Pinehurst.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  The most interesting thing I saw was the carcass of a dead deer.

*After school I headed home and rested for a bit.  I had a craving for Lo Mein, so Paul and I went to Wah Hing for dinner.  During dinner, Christy texted me that Mom and her and Everett had returned from Post Falls after visiting Mom’s cardiologist.  So Paul and I stopped to visit a bit with Mom after she got back.  Christy sent an update on Mom’s appointment this evening, and Mom’s situation is unstable.  Her vitals change from day to day, she still has balance issues, and she needs 24 hour care, which she is receiving quite nicely where she it at.  The question that continues to loom in our minds is, when does Mom come home?  And we keep realizing that it is too soon to tell. 


Gathering Graces 5/9/2017

*It was “8th Grade Move Up Day” today at Kellogg High School.  That means the eighth graders from Kellogg Middle School come up to KHS to tour around and hear about different electives they can take.  Since Paul was out of town, I went to his room to help show the video he and his students made. 
*Then I went and got Mom and took her to the hospital for an MRI of her head.  She is still dealing with some confusion, so we are just getting everything checked out.
*After work I went to see Mom and we had a nice visit.  Sometimes brother Bill doesn’t know when a good time is to talk to Mom, so I texted him on Mom’s phone and told him now was a good time to call.  And it worked!!  Bill called and he had a nice visit with Mom, and she told him about her day.
*Tonight we had a Theater Board Meeting up in Wallace.  It was a beautiful evening to take a drive to Wallace.
*I returned home waiting for Paul to get home from his short trip to Boise.  It was so good to see him.  Now all is right with the world.


Gathering Graces 5/8/2017

*Most mornings I drink coffee because I enjoy the taste of coffee.  Then there are mornings I need a cup of coffee.  Today, I needed a cup of coffee.
*Started the day off visiting Mom this morning.  She was finishing up breakfast when I arrived.
*I heard good news from April regarding her dad Jim Vergobbi.  He had surgery on his fractured hip and it wasn’t as bad as they thought, and she talked to him and he sounded really good.  He will be in the hospital for three days, then probably go somewhere for rehab.
*Got a call from daughter Molly today.  It was nice to have a short visit with her.
*After school our book discussion group met to work on our presentation to the District Leadership Team.  We will present on Wednesday about what we have learned about working with students who deal with trauma, and creating a trauma sensitive classroom.
*After work I stopped at Mom’s house to get her mail, and some clothes for her, and went to see her.  She enjoyed opening up the cards she has received and reading through them.  When it was time for dinner, I wheeled Mom to the dining room so she could enjoy dinner with some of the other residents.
*I finished listening to the book The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.  I look forward to discussing it with my book group in a couple of weeks.  It was very interesting, and I learned a lot about part of the Chinese culture I hadn’t heard of before.


Gathering Graces 5/7/2017

  • I am getting back into the routine of going over to be with Mom in the morning, to weigh her on her own scales, do her blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels.  I was encouraged by yesterday’s readings.  Mom also was ready to get dressed, so we did that, too.  Bill called while I was there, which Mom always enjoys. 
  • What a lovely church service this morning.  I had missed last two Sundays, so I enjoyed being there and helping lead worship, and enjoying the Spirit I felt in that place.
  • Paul and I went home and he got ready for his trip to Boise.  He is going for a two day training for Driver’s Education.  He will get to stay with his parents while he is there, which I know he is really looking forward to.
  • Dealing with aging parents is tough.  Right now I am one of four of my close friends who are dealing with some really serious issues with one of their parents.  It is hard enough when you are in close proximity to the parent.  It is another to give comfort to a friend who is across the world in another country.  Yesterday Kellee Crall Mills and I received a message in the afternoon from our friend April M Lee.  She had received a message from her dad Jimmie Vergobbi’s Lifeline that he had requested the EMT’s to come.  April finally got through to her dad at Shoshone Medical Center.  He had fallen in his yard, and his leg didn’t feel right so he pushed his “button”. Later I received a text from April’s sister Cathy saying Jim had fractured his hip, and would be transferred to Coeur d’Alene for surgery.  Please keep Jim and his family in your prayers. 
  • Daughter Zoe called in the afternoon.  She had arrived at the airport early to pick her dad up, so she called and we had a nice visit about many things, and her coming home this summer, and what she will be doing while she is here.
  • I went over late afternoon to see Mom, and she was just finishing dinner, so we got her jacket on, put her in her wheelchair, and we went exploring around the grounds outside, since the sun was shining and the weather pleasant.  It was so nice to get Mom outside, and we sat outside for almost an hour visiting and enjoying the sunshine!!
  • My passport arrived, and now things are getting even more real as I prepare to travel to Italy this summer.  I have started doing some research on international travel to get myself prepared!!