Sunday, December 9, 2018

Thankful Sunday, December 09, 2018

I am thankful sunrises.

Sunrises show up on my blog then and again, so you may have already figured out I enjoy them. This time of year, the sun rises around 6:30 am and I'm usually up to see it. The first thing I do each morning is look out the window to see what show the sky has for me. It's a routine, I'm really enjoying. So for the colorful sky each morning, I am thankful.

First light, yesterday

10 minutes later

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Smiles

My mother, last Christmas
Tears flow easily these days. I miss my mother. I have always heard that the holidays are especially hard when you have lost someone, but I've never really experienced it like this. It's taken me by surprise because in my logical mind, I thought that I would be thinking about all of the special Christmas times I had with her and be sad. But logic is not necessarily at work here. It's not the Christmases I miss. I miss the emotional connection.

My mother had dementia and slowly left us over the years in many ways. It was discouraging and sad to watch, but no matter what her outward appearance was, I always felt a connection between us during my visits. Towards the end, she was usually quiet, often with a distant stare. But then I'd say something and there would be a little glint in her eye or a slight smile and I knew that she was communicating in the way that was available to her at that point in her life.  We were connecting and it made me happy. Before I experienced the last couple of years with my mother, I never would have thought that those difficult times would be the ones I missed the most. But for now, they are.

However life goes on no matter what the circumstances and this grief is not consuming my life. It's just a part of it. I am happily preparing for Christmas. I am ahead this year in many things and feeling more relaxed than normal. I am enjoying the Christmas lights and the Christmas music. I am having good times with my sisters and friends. Ward and I are having long talks and making fun plans.

With all of those things, I'm trying to live what my mother taught me up until the end of her life. She kept living even when it seemed to the outside world life wasn't worth it. So as I think of her little smiles, I smile, too. Through the tears.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Fun Trip

The outside is covered in a mirror mosaic.
This weekend is a weekend at home. Yea! It seems since August, I have been gone at least every other weekend. Too much for me. It's hard to get traction on the things that need to get done at home when we're gone.

With that being said, here's one of the places we went recently with my father-in-law and his girlfriend, The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. We have visited here before, but I never get tired of going. It is a totally fascinating (some would say quirky) place. All of the works are by untrained artists who are doing the work more for the process than the product. We particularly wanted my FIL to go because he has made several things very similar to works we saw there. The dream would be to get some of his things exhibited. But that's a big project for another time.

To make things simpler, we did all the driving. A lot driving, but some of the best conversations happen in the car. :) As hoped everyone enjoyed the museum, especially my FIL, who by the end, was relating to some of the artists because he could tell they probably enjoyed making their creations as much as he does making his.

Here are a few pictures from the day. No flash allowed, so some of the pictures are kind of dark.

This is Fifi, the mascot of the museum. She goes to a lot of parades.

This entire wall was filled with quilt "squares" made from neckties.

This was in the OCD room where everything had a lot of detail. 
This room was my favorite.

If you look closely, you can see that this mosaic was done with Maxwell House coffee cans. Also notice the cafe coffee station in the background.

This is in the main lobby.

Don't remember the details of this one, but it was interesting to me.

They had a display of mostly wooden mechanical toys. Ward and his father were especially happy that the insides were exposed so they could study how they worked.

There was everything in this dino sculpture except the kitchen sink.
 It reminded me of an eye spy book.

A closer look at the above picture.

This sculpture outside the museum was moving all of the time.

You can walk through this creation.

So many more things to show, but I think this was enough to give you an idea of the fun we had at that day.

Note: If you go to the link above to a previous post about this museum, you'll get a little better idea of the philosophy of it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

And Then There Were Two *

Last Friday, our cat, Lucky, died. It was time. He lived a good 18 years.

We got Lucky. with his sister Lucy, as a young kitten from one of Theo's classmates. When Lucky, a black** kitten, was a few weeks old, he followed his mother out a door that closed on him before he was all of the way through. His family thought the slamming door had killed him, but no, Lucky had other ideas. When he came to us a few weeks later, he was a healthy, playful kitten that we named Lucky because of the good luck he had already had in his young life.

It was soon evident that he was the dominant cat over his litter mate Lucy, a sweet gentle girl. Three years later he remained the top cat when the other two cats, Leo and Annie, came into the house. Despite constant challenges from Annie, Lucky remained in charge. No need for swats or growls to keep the others in line. A stern look from him was all that it took.

As part of his leadership role, he was a leader in the food department. He was the one who got to eat first and the one who opened the food bag for the others. He could tear a hole in a new bag of food in no time flat. Then the others got to enjoy the spoils of his efforts. We tried to put the food away as soon as we got it, but he was amazingly fast at this trick.

He also got first crack at the prey that ventured into our house. He didn't bring the dead mouse or mole to us as many cats do, he hid them under one particular rug in the basement. The same rug that he did his trick of laying on his side and running around the edge of it. We don't know what all of that meant in cat behavior, but I guess he did.

Lucky was also a relaxed cat who enjoyed a good lap to purr on and a pat from anyone--stranger or not. Even the vet. That was until he had some medical problems that needed invasive procedures. After that, the the vet was not his friend. In fact, sometimes it took two or three of the most experienced people at the vet's to help Lucky with what he needed. Can't say that I blamed him. I wouldn't have been very happy with the people who poked and prodded me for no good reason that I could understand. But he and I survived as well as the other cats whom he hissed at for several days after they had been to the vet.

He was also our adventure kitty. All of our cats were indoor cats. They were curious about the outside, but happy to watch the show from a window. A door left open by mistake might get a cat creeping outside, but never a dash. So we couldn't figure out how and why we would occasionally find Lucky outside meowing at a window to come back in. He seemed happy, just ready to come inside for a little warmth. Sometimes he had been out all night and we didn't even know he was out there. He helped us figure out one time that we had a torn screen (maybe he tore it), but other times we never figured out how he made it out. But he always came back.

I have 18 years of stories to tell about Lucky, too numerous to tell all of them here. Let me just say that there is an emptiness in our house now that wasn't there last week. Lucky had a good long life that we are very grateful for and he will be missed.

*We now have two cats, Annie and Leo.

**On first glance, Lucky was a black cat. But a further look revealed more. Each one of his hairs was black tipped, but the rest of it was light grey often giving him a curious look. The vet called him a tabby because of the stripes on his tail and officially a Domestic Short Hair. We called him Lucky.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Post I Never Got Around To

I sometimes have an idea for post or take a picture for one that never quite makes it to the blog. It seems I get distracted by something and forget about my idea and move on.  Then while looking for something else, I run onto them. I find it hard to find the time to develop them all, so I thought I'd do some abbreviated versions before I forget about them again. Here is my first post in the Posts I Never Got Around To series. (I plan more, but we'll see.)

A Few Pictures From Around the Yard Over the Last Month, A Second Look so to speak.

You saw another picture of these cosmos in my last post, but I wanted to elaborate on one of the comments I made there. The local Girl Scout troop did a project on bees and one of the points they made was to plant plants that attract bees. To encourage that, they made bee bombs which were soil balls embedded with seeds. I wasn't sure what was in them, but this is what came up from my bombs. I think this would be a fun project for other kids. 

Stinkhorn fungi. I found these for the first time last year in another location in the yard. They come from little white puffballs in the ground. It will be interesting to see where they pop up next year.

I got two, small, inexpensive ($1.77 each) mums from Aldi's last year that came back quite nicely this year. I especially like their round form. 

We have yellow mums in the back that were there when we moved in.

They have continued to spread and fill quite a large spot. I want to do some more with this bed, but hate to disturb the mums because they are really happy in this location.

I was going to take more pictures to go with each one of these, but, well, you know.

Until next time... :)