Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Well, the boys are upstairs napping, and I am thinking about what I am doing or preparing to do.

J's ordination is coming up within the next few weeks, so I'm planning on going to that and showing my support. Yay! Good work, what with getting all the way through and jumping through all the hurdles and everything. I'm proud!

I'm also planning on going to the seminary this coming Friday to have a mini-date with him before I hit the road for about 12 or 13 hours to go to a wedding in a state I've never been to before. I'm looking forward to seeing the state where the wedding is because it's also the state to which J has been called. I'm also looking forward to the wedding because it will unite a very good seminary friend and her fiance in holy matrimony! Congratulations!

On the trip, I'm also excited to see at least one other seminary friend. It seems like forever since I've seen her, but it's only been a couple of months. She's been doing Clinical Pastoral Education, and I've been at the castle or in Illinois watching the boys. I'm glad that my friend is done with CPE and has a bit of down time before the semester begins. I'm proud of her for getting through! YAY!

And as I plan for the future, I think about where I was last year at this time.

At this time last year, I was up to my eyeballs in the Summer Greek program at seminary. I was struggling with declensions and verbs and nouns and all that good stuff. I was meeting the people who are not a part of my class, and for whom I am incredibly grateful to have in my life.

At this time last year, I was also having to contend with Ma's quick cognitive decline. Today actually marks the one year anniversary of her living in a nursing home. We thought it would be July 27, but it ended up being the 30th because they needed to prepare her paperwork and make the place available for her. So, today marks the day that she entered the home to live. However, she was moved not long afterwords to a locked dementia unit because she escaped from the first home 32 times in one night. I blogged about that experience when it happened. If you're interested, search, "32 times." I'm too lazy to link to it right now.

The point of this post, I guess, is to say that life always changes. Bad and good things happen, and we keep trucking on. It's not necessary to deny these feelings that we experience through living, and it's not even necessary to deem them "good" or "bad." It's just easier sometimes to label things. With faith, love, and grace, I have also gone on to have hope, even when things seem to bite the big one. Here's hoping you also find hope in and through your own life experiences. Peace Out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A nice respite

This past Saturday, I got to go hang out with some awesome friends I have had for varying lengths of time. One I've known since grade school, some from middle school, and one from high school. They're all wonderful people. I've blogged about them before; about how we go for months without seeing each other, and some without even really emailing or anything, but then, when we get back together, it is like no time has passed. I have been involved with 3 of their weddings, and the other person is not married.

I love my friends. We get together at least two times a year. Once in the summer and once around Christmas/New Year's. This past Saturday, we got together not only for our summer get together, but also to have a mini baby shower for the one of us who is pregnant (not me!). It's amazing. The friend who is having a baby is the friend I've known since grade school. It's so awesome that she and her husband are having a wee one. I'm excited for them. I'm also glad that she was game for a lot of festivities on Sunday.

We went to lunch, to a family fun park and mini golfed (I won because I made TWO hole in ones! Or holes in one; I'm not sure), and we went to the DQ for cold treats. After DQ, we went back to the apartment of the friend who lives in the town we were hanging out in. We talked and talked and talked. And ordered pizza!

It's just amazing how varied friends can be. I have these friends and friends from college and friends from seminary and random friends from here and there. And they're all different, but they are all SO valuable to me. Thanks, friends. You all are awesome!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hewo? Hewo?

A couple of days ago, Sis and BiL got home and so I was "off" duty from watching the boys. I'm never FULLY off duty, but when Sis and BiL come home, I can relax a bit.

I was off in the kitchen doing something, but then I remembered that I needed to go to the basement to change the laundry over (Not only do I watch the children, but I'm also practically their housekeeper and gardener). However, on my way, I noticed that the bathroom door was shut, although I had left it open since Sunscreen was not around to go in there and swish around in the toilet. As I walked by, I heard someone on the other side knocking on the door, and ever so calmly say, "Hewo? Hewo?" I opened it up to see Howard in there, in the complete dark, standing and waiting for someone to let him out. As he left the room, he said, "Dark!" It was so cute. I had to share. Peace out.

Monday, July 21, 2008


The other day, I went and visited Ma at the Supermax. When I got there, I went to her room to find her, but she wasn't there. I looked in the lounge, and in the bathroom, and in all the public areas, but she was no where to be found. So, I enlisted a nurse's help to find her.

The nurse said that Mom sometimes wanders around to the other patients' rooms and goes in. So, she knocked on and entered every door, just about. Another nurse came and helped, too. As I was walking back to her room to make sure she wasn't in the bathroom, I heard, "Hi Trisha!" When I looked up, I saw a young woman with whom I went to grade school and high school. She's working on becoming a nurse, and so is getting experience at the Supermax. It was kind of odd seeing her there, and she asked if Ma was my mom or my grandma. I told her my Mom, and she was like, "Ok, I thought so." I'm glad that this young lady is doing well, but it's just weird to know that she could be taking care of my mom like that. It's my own issue, but I just have this feeling that she is going to talk to the people from school whom she is still in contact and that I am going to be gossiped about. You know, the whole, "Did you know Trish's mom is in the nursing home? They don't visit very often. And Ms. Trish's Ma does this and that and she doesn't know blah blah blah." But anyways... Finally, they found her in some other inmate's room. She came out and saw me and got a big smile on her face as she hobbled up to me and threw her arms around me to give me a big hug. Ever since the time she didn't know who I was, I am glad to see her when she gets the light of recognition right away.

Anyway, we went and sat down to chat for a bit in the dining area. Her urostomy bag (the bag that she has had since her radical cystectomy last year. The bag that now acts as her bladder; it is attached to a circular flap of skin called a stoma, and collects urine) was not working to collect what it is meant to collect, and so I took her to her room to change. Anyway, I had to get a key from the nurse to get into her clothes because the people in Ma's unit are all pretty lost, and they steal each others' things all the time. So, it was an odd thing, having to help my mother get changed because she didn't quite understand the concept of what was going on.

Anyway, I digress.

When all that was over, we went out and sat on chairs in the hallway. I looked up to the clock, and then, for the first time, I noticed that there were a couple more clocks not far off from the main wall clock. One was in a case with old knick-knacks, and one was on the wall across from the old case.

The clock in the case of knick-knacks really made me reflect a bit. These people, who cannot live in the present, spend their time thinking in years past with old memorabilia and old memories. That time is not lost to them. Not yet, at least.

Depending upon how you look at it, time is their enemy. Dementia is a gradual thing that makes a person deteriorate over time. And yet, up until the last stages, these people remember years and years ago. They remember being children and being newlyweds. They remember any college or work experiences. They remember prayers, and favorite sayings, and all kinds of things like that. But, they can't remember things after a certain time.

YS took Ma to a doctor appointment the day after I visited with her in order to check on her hip. YS was talking with Ma, who thinks she is still working, and who thinks that my two sisters and I are still little girls much of the time, whom she must care for. She often talks about our father as if he were still alive and they had conversed just before he left for work. Anyway, YS said that Ma was talking to her and she said, "I need to get going. Do we have a car big enough to fit YS, Trish, and Masculine form of Sis's name?"

I don't know if she forgets that she has 2 boys and 3 girls, or if she just messed up saying Sis's name. The time has slipped away. I don't know if that makes things easier or harder for Ma herself, but it makes things harder for us kids.

The unfortunate thing about Ma is that she's in the latter stages. She still knows us most of the time, but she could not string together one coherent sentence when I visited. Not a single one. Everything was "stuff" or "things" and when she wasn't being vague like that, she was putting weird nouns in that didn't fit, and her verbs were wrong, too. I'm thankful for my CPE experience that has helped me learn how to talk to people of all sorts. I am able to "talk" to Ma even if she can't convey what she's thinking or feeling to me. She seems to respond positively to me, but it's just tough. Time keeps her dementia going.

I just got to thinking of that song, "Love will keep us together." I don't know anything else of the song, except for that one line. I just think that even though Love will keep us together, Time will take us apart. It's a bizarre thing to have someone you love be RIGHT there, and not fully be able to be with them. It's sad and it's frustrating, and yet it is where we are right now; it is where many people are right now. I've had a bit of good time with Ma. All us kids have. So many times, when a loved one is sick, we think, "We just want more time!" And that's a completely valid way of looking at it. Disease really sucks, and it takes away the time and the experiences, and the health that we would like to have to give to those we love. But more time for Ma means further deterioration, increased confusion, violent outbursts, and loss of motor skill. I love her; it's just hard to see her this way.

This has been a really long and rambling post. I've just been thinking a lot lately. I hope you all are doing well and enjoying what summer has brought you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good News!

Howard came out of his procedure well. They sedated him, used some vacuum or something, and sucked fuzz out of his nose. The medical staff was super impressed with the little guy because when he woke up, he wasn't freaking out. He didn't scream or cry or kick or anything, which they say, is what little kids usually do. He was tired and wanted his blanket, but he was pretty chill. I'm so thankful all went well.

After the surgery, Sis asked what color it was, and it was white. So, it was probably couch cushion/pillow fuzz. I figured that'd be what it was, and so yesterday, while the kids napped, I sewed up all the places where the pillows had come apart at the seams. I also sewed the underside of one of the cushions because it too was coming apart. It doesn't look the greatest, but you can't really notice unless you're looking for it. Anything for the kids, yo.

Anyway, Sunscreen is upstairs napping and Sis is on her way home. Thank you for your prayers so much! Have a delightful day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's that time of year again.

It's odd, but it seems like every summer, my brain starts deciding that I need some sort of change. This is a fairly recent development for me, I'd say, occuring for the first time maybe 3 or 4 years ago. The first time I felt the twinge, I didn't really know what it was, and so I lived with the feeling for a couple of months. But, I later figured out I just needed a change. Usually, it's nothing big, though. I started feeling it the other day again, though. So, instead of ignoring myself, I decided to get my hair cut. I have short hair, so there aren't a whole lot of options. But, I made an appointment at the place here in town, and went in today and told the young lady to surprise me. And I am pleasantly surprised. The change is successful. Hopefully that's all I needed.

It's also the time of year where we can get into Sis and BiL's pool! We had dinner after I got back from my hair appointment, and then suited the boys up in their swimmer diapers, and got into our own suits. They are so cute. Sunscreen actually kicks his little chubby legs like he knows what he's doing. Howard kinda just lets ya pull him around. Since they're so young, they need CONSTANT supervision. They didn't stay in long because they were getting cold, but I think they had fun while they were in there. When Sis and BiL got out, they took Sunscreen with them. But, Howard wanted to stay out on the deck and look in the pool. I had to stay out there because two of the neighbor kids came over to swim, and Sis has a rule that kids need chaperones. I could have been mean and said, "No," but why would I do that? So, the neighbors were swimming around, and I stayed by the deck because Howard was up there, and two year olds are unpredictable. Unfortunately, the neighbor girl got to talking to me (she was encouraging her little brother to swim to her by the ladder/deck. So, we were only a few feet away from Howard. But, because I was listening to the neighbor, I didn't see Howard lean over the pool until I heard and saw him splash into the water. I immediately though, "OH CRAP!" and I ran/swam quickly over to him and helped him reach the surface. When he popped out of the water, he was kind of stunned, and then he freaked out and cried for about 10 seconds, but I held onto him tight and spoke soothingly and reassuringly to him. Then he said, "Out! Out!" So, I put him out of the pool. Thankfully, he got back on the ladder like he was going to come back in, and he did a little, but then I noticed he needed a diaper change. Thankfully those little swimmers are designed for such things. So, anyway, the neighbors got out of the pool, and we all went our separate ways. I'm just glad Howard was okay. I felt SO bad for taking my eyes off him for the few seconds it took for him to fall in the pool. Water safety is VERY important, especially as the temperatures rise and the kids know pools help cool them down. Their is a fence around the backyard where the pool is, and BiL built a gate on the deck so that little ones can't just have quick and easy access to the pool. Good work, BiL.

And lastly, I would appreciate your prayers for Howard. He is going to have some outpatient surgery next Wednesday. He likes fuzz a lot. He pulls it off of rugs, out of blankets, and from the inside of cushions. He just needs a little bit to hold up to his face while he sucks his thumb. Unfortunately, it seems that he has gotten a bit of it up his nose. We noticed because he started having really bad breath about a week or so ago. We thought it was a sinus infection, but then Sis and BiL thought they saw something up there. They took Howard to the doctor who got a little bit of it out, but said that he needed to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. So, they took him today. The ENT was able to get a bit more of it out, but there is a pus pocket or something that is blocking the way for the rest to be removed. So, he is being sedated next week so they can get it out so he can be healthy and happy again. It's "just" outpatient surgery, but it's tough when it's on wee ones because they're a whole other case than an older child or adult having surgery. Thank ya much, in advance. Peace to you all.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Well, Friends, I am still alive. I have been sick since Wednesday. I don't think it's anything too serious. Just a respiratory type thing, with laryngitis on top of it. I was in bed from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday afternoon, and was happy to be able to get downstairs on Thursday. Usually, this sort of thing knocks me out for three or so days.

I did have extra incentive to be functional, though. Not only am I watching Sunscreen and Howard, J also took this past weekend off to come to Illinois and meet some of the fam. So, I dragged myself outta bed Thursday, and decided I was okay enough for him to come on Thursday.

It was good to have him out here. Sis and BiL cleaned out the room that was going to be the den, and instead made it into another bedroom. It's a cozy little area, I think. We went to fireworks on the 4th, shopped a little store here in town that's like a permanent flea market, walked the "riverwalk," went to dinner with YS and YSB, and chilled together. Even though I'm still hacking up a lung, I'm glad he came.

This past weekend, I also led worship at my home church and Pastor's other church. OC changed their summer worship schedule, though, and so worship starts at 7:30 a.m. J and I got there at about 7:00 or so, but we couldn't get in because the church was locked. We didn't get in until about 7:29. And, on top of it, I had almost no voice. But, it was fun anyway. I also led worship with my laryngitis at my home church. I'm glad that both churhes have new and very functional sound systems. I think it went fairly well. Not my best sermon, but not my worst, either. I get another crack at leading worship next week at another neighboring church. I'm excited, but need to get on writing a sermon and a kid's sermon.

J went home this morning because he had to work. J left before Howard woke up, and when I brought Howard down, he went over to the den/bedroom door, knocked, and said, "Hi (cute little butcher of J's name)!'" It was so cute. The kids really liked him. I think I'ma get usurped as one of the favorite people! Ha.

And lastly, I will leave you with a little story relating to tissues. Since I'm sick, I am using tissues a lot. Well, I remembered when Howard was a little guy, I did this little trick where I would tilt my head as far back as it would go, put a tissue in the middle of my face, and give a quick puff of air to send the tissue airborn. It used to make him laugh hysterically. I did it once for Sunscreen many moons ago, but he was too young to appreciate it. Anyway, I sat on the floor tonight and told them to watch and Howard stood there, and Sunscreen held onto the couch and they watched me do it. They both laughed SO loud, and so long. Each time I did it, Howard would just bust out like it was the first ever time I ever did that. And Sunscreen was laughing too. As a matter of fact, I probably did all that over an hour ago, and Howard is still coming up to me, even as I type this, and saying, "Try!" Because he wants me to try it again. And, because it was a new and clean tissue, I surprise attacked each of them as I tilted my head back, but then at the last second, came back and blew the tissue into each of their faces. They laughed and laughed and laughed! I wish I'da recorded it on my phone. Babies laughing is one of THE BEST sounds ever.

So, anyway, that's what's been going on in a nutshell. I hope all is going well for y'all.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My heart, it's swollen with wub!

Well, I'm "home" in Illinois. I am watching Howard and Sunscreen this month. The other babysitter is on vacation this whole month, and Sis said that the babysitter has quit. Babysitter and Husband sold their home and moved to another town, and have decided to cut back. They're only going to watch their grandchildren now. But, Sis and BiL know that I'm not available longer than what I told them I would be. They understand.

Anyway, on my way back to Illinois, Sis called me to ask where I was. Then she said, "Howard misses you! Out of the blue, last week, he started asking for you by name. He would say, 'Trish, Trish!' and then go to the door and get mad when we couldn't produce you!"

I don't want my little guy to be mad, but it makes me heart swell up a little bit to know that he remembers and misses me when I'm gone. He's a cutie. Sunscreen is also adorable. Today, I sat them down for lunch and they were both crying for one reason or another. So, I started singing the song that goes, "Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need; the sun and the rain and the appleseeds. The Lord is good to me. Amen, Amen, Amen amen amen! AAAAAAAMMMEEEEENNNN!" And while I sang this little prayer, I clapped a little bit. A few notes into the song, they both stopped crying and looked at me. Then, Sunscreen started clapping with me, even though he's only 1 year old. It was so cute.

They're getting so big, and smart that I'm amazed. I'm ridiculously blessed when it comes to having adorable children in my life.

Also, this week, Older brother the younger and his wife and son are coming up to celebrate OBtY's son's birthday. We shall call him Chicken Leg. Chicken Leg is turning 5 years old. He's also such a sweetie. I remember when he was born and how I about started crying the first time I ever heard him cry. It was SO cute. He's a smart, curious, and clever little guy. I love all my nephews.

Anyway, I need to hit the hay. I'm pretty tired. I just wanted to tell you all what's up. Have a delightful day.