Painful. The last couple weeks have been painful. Last week I was pushed to my limit. I was already emotional and the words of a complete stranger left me in a torrent of tears. I felt defeated at the time but the good Lord knew I needed a good long cry in preparation for this week's drama, which I won't get into here. I will say that although I don't like all the commotion, I believe I am learning to deal with it in healthier ways.
My vehicle went in for an inspection on Monday and did not pass. A few repairs and a new tire toward the end of next week should make me safe and legal again, albeit a few hundred dollars poorer. Ha ha!
It was my turn to bring a snack for Treat Day at work. I signed up for the week I couldn't forget... and brought in Birthday Cake Oreos and milk. I don't know anyone who doesn't like Oreo Cookies, and hey! March is a great time for a birthday party. Dontch'a think? Too bad they aren't gluten free.
* I was substitute teacher for the three year old class at church this morning. There were eighteen little ones and I had two helpers who know more about running the class than I do. It was a good hour. There were no major catastrophes and everyone left smiling.
* I met the Cabinetmaker for lunch after church. We exchanged vehicles as mine is due for an inspection which is difficult to schedule working 7:30 am until 4:30 or 5 pm. I came home after lunch. Perhaps if I had my own car I would have gone back to the pottery studio this afternoon, but I stayed home, mostly alone. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.
* Tomorrow I go back to work and into the arms of a dozen or more little ones who will clamor about my knees looking for a bit of attention. I will make Sloppy Joe's for lunch, and hopefully have some time to snuggle my little friend Jonah who is rather attached to me. He cries when I leave the room. Poor little guy! Ha ha!
* In the evening I will go to my CoDA meeting and hope someone shows up beside myself. Last week there were two of us and I was the meeting leader. How about that? Good thing it isn't too hard to read out of the leader's manual. It was a good meeting in spite of small numbers.
* Later this week Minnesota is coming to visit. I am excited, and a bit apprehensive at the same time. Family dynamics are a little strained... I am attempting to step back and let my kids work out the details while being available at the same time. I don't know if I'm doing things right or not, but I'm trying. Perhaps I should charge my camera battery. :0)
Another barn from my drive home from church last week. State Rd. Webster, NY. It's kind of sad to think of all the barns that have been lost through the years. Those metal pole barns just aren't the same as these old beauties.
Stop over to the Barn Collective. If we can get enough of a crowd maybe Tom will cook up a bunch of flapjacks! It's maple syrup and pancake season!!!
It's been a busy week at work. My cape is a bit tattered. (My superhero cape, ya know?) Some days I feel a bit like Wonder Woman. Hey! I even got that stack of food put away, and let me tell you, getting everything in the freezer is nothing short of miraculous.
I'm still reveling in the attention of small children. They fight over me. Ha ha! Who have thought? I love them all. I have so many little friends and every day I snuggle new little ones who (maybe) will fight over me in another year or so.
I left this little sculpture on my boss's desk a couple weeks ago. Told her it was a self portrait.
I've spent my life loving little ones, and if God will grant my petition, I will spent the rest of my days doing the same.
Several days ago I found this photo hiding in my computer. It's a short drive back to 1979 when I seldom wore shoes. I preferred to wear my socks out on the street and driveway. My mom was a certified daycare provider and someone decided she would be a perfect candidate for an advertisement for new daycare moms. Thus the photograph. One of these children was a visiting neighbor.
The little guy in my arms if Jeffy. He was two, wild, and rascally. We loved him! Mom watched him from the time he was a year old until he started kindergarten. He would have turned 41 years old in February but a late March snowstorm closed school and Jeff went out on his snowmobile for an afternoon of what should have been teenage fun. Instead he had an accident and suffered a serious head injury. He died 26 years ago today when he was just fifteen.
I didn't know Jeff as a teenager. In my mind he's still a preschool child wandering about Mom's house with his "ratty afghan," but I think of him every year when those last winter storms of March dump a foot or two of snow on us and snowmobiles buzz down the road and across the fields. Somewhere his mother is aching as she remembers her sweet boy.
I looked at the photo a day or two ago and thought how I haven't really changed all that much from my own fifteen year old self. I still hold and snuggle little ones in the very same way, they still know I love them, and I think somehow or other I actually turned into my mom.
Perhaps our snowstorms are over for the season. Then again, perhaps not. One can never be totally sure, can they?
Last week I took my camera to church so I could catch these two barns in snow. I have a tendency to be redundant when it comes to barns, especially good looking barns that I pass often. (Here they are before... one and two.)
It's Daylight Savings Time at The Barn Collective. We're up "early" and in need of some coffee.
I spent some time at the pottery studio today. Although I didn't feel terribly successful, I did not slump all of my bowls today, just one of them. I'm feeling more comfortable and less out of place there. Not everyone is a stranger anymore and I know better what I am doing and how to get it done.
Jeff was at the studio with a plethora of pots in various stages of development. I shared a shelf with him back in the fall when we both took the Introductory II class. Our shelf was a bit crowded as he is quite prolific when it comes to pottery. Now we both rent shelves instead.
I came home from the studio (and went to the store) with mud on my knees. That's part of the uniform when playing with clay. Kind of like baby spit up comes with working at a daycare center. I wear both proudly, and with a smile.
I looked up the saying and found this- 1 to be suddenly reduced to a much lower level 2 to suddenly fall or sit because you are very tired or unconscious The bowls I've thrown lately have all collapsed. Perhaps I am pushing the limits of the clay (maybe that should be obvious), and maybe I'm pushing my own limits. Either way, as soon as I hit a particular point, down they go. There is no fixing a flopped pot. The best one can do is wire it off and settle for a much smaller pot, or scrape it off the wheel and start over. (I ended up with two small bowls.)
I looked for a photo for a fallen pot. This was about all I could find. (It looks a little like a cowboy hat...) Maybe I'll take my camera inside for my next wheel throwing adventure and get one of my own. How's that for positive thinking? Ha ha!
* My last pottery class was Thursday evening, but I'm not finished with the pieces I started. I'll have to go back a few times in order to finish up.
* I decided to throw a new bowl Saturday afternoon. I've been too exhausted to think about signing up for another class, so I bought a studio membership and rented a shelf instead. Ha ha! Now I have a key to the building. I probably should carve out a time to go in on a regular basis.
* It's my month off serving in the children's ministry at church. I checked in with Kristen anyway and went to find my seat in the sanctuary. I hadn't been there but a minute or two when I got a text on my phone. It was Kristen. The two year old's teacher called in sick and she needed a replacement. I'm learning to be spontaneous.
* It was a gorgeous day, bright and sunny, and sleepy. I knew I should be out soaking in some yummy vitamin D, but I curled up in bed for a long nap instead. When I woke up I played with my grandson (Number 9) for a bit, and then took a ride down to the bay.
* The kids are having Mexican Chicken and Rice for lunch tomorrow.
Another barn from last week's drive home from church. It's looking a little haggard in some spots...
I wish my memory could take me back to childhood so I could look again at this barn my father drove past so many times. Surely there were cows grazing, and maybe a horse or two munching a bit of grass. Maybe there were even children playing tag in the yard, but I can't remember now. Funny how time stands still in some areas of the mind, and in other areas going backward is nigh unto impossible.
Up the road a piece from this barn, was a fancy white house with a creek meandering along the edge of the property, the creek eventually running under the road and off into the woods on the other side. That house and property I can pull up in my 50 year old memory bank, probably because of the stop sign at the corner, and the ducks that were always sitting in the water. That place isn't the same anymore either... Time just keeps marching on, weathering us and leaving us (sometimes) beautifully haggard.
March is fickle. There was no snow on the ground yesterday. In fact it was sixty degrees earlier this week. I left my pottery class early last night (I'd run out of things to work on) and drove home in a drizzle of rain. It wasn't long after my return that the wind picked up. I heard the house squeak as the wind whipped around it, and I drifted off to sleep.
Sergio asked me early if I wanted him to clear out the driveway. "It looks really bad out there," he said. But I told him I'd see how it went... Ha ha! There was a foot or two of heavy wet snow in the driveway. Once I'd conceded defeat, we worked on clearing a path to the road together. It took both of us to break through the barrier the snowplow had created at the bottom of the driveway.
I must not have left too much later than normal. The roads were slushy and slick, and the drive was slow. Thankfully, the back roads I travel weren't too busy. We all took it slow this morning, everyone out driving, that is. I arrived at work late, but only by about ten minutes "Tot Spot time."
On my lunch hour I went for a ride and took a few pictures. I didn't travel far, just down the road and across the canal.
Maybe I should have used the time to build a snowman or two on the daycare sidewalk... Ha ha! (They would probably have me committed.)
She's not quite two. She started saying my name a few weeks ago, and this morning she was already talking about me in the parking lot as her mom was bringing her in. I got a wonderful hug in the hallway before she headed into her class.
They get excited when I come into the room. Sometimes I have food, but often I do not. They will cluster around my legs looking for a little love and affection. If a child is particularly shy, I make sure to say their name and show them a little bit of special attention and pretty soon they come looking for hugs too. So many hungry little hearts...
Sometimes they fight over me. Even though I have two laps (two legs to sit on) and two arms to hug with, they don't like to share me. They don't know my heart is big enough to love them all. Certain little people are especially attached. I have one newly turned one year old friend who cries whenever I leave the room. I snuggle them all, sniffle their necks and ears, and kiss their little foreheads.
Everything inside me screams as my fingers are pried loose from that to which they cling. I want desperately to hang on, to hold tight everything I thought was mine/ours but the more I grasp and claw, the more painful the letting go becomes. My fingers are bleeding, my nails split and torn...
Life feels surreal. I get up every day and drive off to work, come home to an attic bedroom, look at my computer for an hour or two, and go to sleep just to get up and do it all over again. I'm making a difference in the days of small children, and perhaps the lives of my co-workers, but I don't know where I'm going myself or how to get there. I had dreams of my house being full of grown children and grandchildren on Sunday afternoons and holidays, but the dream has faded and all I have left is loneliness and confusion. I feel totally lost and very much alone today. Even if I am heading in the right direction, I still feel alone.
I've needed desperately to cry and tonight the tears are flowing. Grief is... grievous. We are both grieving. Somewhere, in the hopefully not too distant future, there will be a resolution and healing.
(To my Cabinetmaker, if you are reading this, it was started well before your phone call. Thank you for lending me your ear, and trusting me to listen as well.)
I'm running a tad late today. I passed this barn a few weeks back when the snow accentuated its beauty, but I didn't have my camera along. (I don't usually take it to church...) Today, although our snow is missing, I still find it captivating.
I am off to visit my brother this afternoon. Hope you all have a wonderful day!
Lots of drama at work the past couple of weeks. Multiple reasons. Change of employees. Rearranging of responsibilities. New children. A week off school. Incident reports... Oh, yeah! Fun times, and even yours truly got caught in the cross-fire. And here I thought I was safe in the kitchen!
The weekend is almost upon us. Saturday is Take Two for the First Aid/CPR course. I was supposed to have taken it back in August. I arrived on time, on the right day and couldn't figure out why the door was locked and I was the only one in the parking lot. Someone forgot to inform me of the change in location and felt really terrible about it the following Monday. I trust it will go better this time around.
And now, although I have plenty to write, I must turn off the light and go to sleep because tomorrow is Friday and I have a hamburger pie to make for somewhere between 50 and 60 kids.
Did I say I hate Hot Dog Days? Ha ha! I'm changing my mind.
Today was hot dog day at work. I grabbed a big pack of frozen dogs out of the freezer. There were two packages, and I did hesitate while decided which to open, but I grabbed one and put it in a pan of water to thaw out a bit and went about my morning.
President's Week and George Washington's Birthday. Anything could happen with our attendance. At about 9:30 am I went out to collect our lunch count. It was 47. I opened the package and counted hot dogs as I put them a pot of water for later. There were 38. We had prepared for this, so I opened a couple smaller packs and made the tally 47. A hot dog for every child...
It wasn't long before the rooms started swapping children to put everyone in adult to child ratio. A child or two went home sick. Some didn't show up at all... Before getting lunches passed out, and after making banana bread, I held a recount. How many children were there for lunch? 38.
This afternoon I decided I am done with being sick. I got up, took a shower, and got dressed. I went out to fill my gas tank and get a few groceries. I am feeling much better. No more of this being sick nonsense for me. I've got better things to do than lay in bed.
I am not ready to go out to play today. It's rather disappointing. No church service, no children's class afterward, and no going to the pottery studio.
There is much to be grateful for, even if I am staying home in bed. It's not the middle of the work week and I haven't yet had to call in sick. It could happen tomorrow, but so far it hasn't. My pottery will wait. It will be there on Thursday evening, ready to be trimmed and set aside to dry. I will glaze my bisque fired pieces and everything will be okay.
Today I will rest and pray that I feel better tomorrow so I can go to work and make hot dogs for those kids. (I hate hot dog days... Not because they're difficult, but because I have to have just the right amount. Not much margin for error. Goulash is easier. I just make a bunch.)
Time for another nap. I guess. I'm not sure at the moment whether this illness is making me achy or it's fro being in bed for so long. Blah.
All week I look forward to Saturday, but rather than going out to play I am staying in. I came home a bit on the queasy side yesterday and climbed into bed with the chills. I feel better today, but am still stiff and achy. Laying low is the name of the game. Perhaps a nap or two, a bit of tea, and a sip of Mighty Mango smoothie. (I did sneak off to the bank and paid my Target card, but now I'm staying home.)
No open studio for me today. No open studio anyway. It's the annual chili cookoff. I am hoping to feel better tomorrow so I can go in for the make up class our instructor is doing.
I glazed a couple of my bowls. They're actually big enough to hold a serving of cereal or a small salad. This is the goal. Make them big enough to be functional and maybe I'll have a few to give away come Christmas. It's a noble goal, don't you think?
I had a Valentine's Day dinner date this evening. He was short, dark, and very handsome. I found him quite charming, even if he did eat with his hands and dip his bread in his milk. We had a very nice night, watched a few Simon's Cat videos, did some puzzles, and read a bunch of books. I think I am in love.
I've been staying busy. Too busy perhaps. Now I am tired. I need a long afternoon nap, but it's time to go to sleep for the night instead. I've managed to stay awake pat 7 o'clock (it's nine thirty now) so there is a good possibility I will sleep through the night, at least most of it. A bit of melatonin could help raise the possibility.
I came home early last night, at least earlier than I'd intended. I'd gone to my CoDA meeting, but I was there alone. When no one else showed up by 7:20 pm. I put the boxes back in the closet, collected the signs from the hall, locked the church door, and went home. Tonight I stayed home rather than going out. I will turn off my computer at a reasonable hour, close my eyes, and pray for sleep. And sleep will come.
Tomorrow is Wednesday. The work week will be half over and before you can say Jack Robinson, it will be the weekend again. Perhaps I will stay home and relax... or not.
I took a few photos as I looked for a parking spot on my way to the pottery studio yesterday afternoon. I normally park at the church across the street because they will share with the art studio, but being Sunday, the parking lot was a bit crowded.
I drove around the block. I drove around a couple blocks.
I went back to the church and as I drove into the lot I prayed, "Lord, could you please give me a little parking spot?" And what do you know? A little red car was just backing out of hers. My prayer was answered. I smiled and said, "Thank you."
The parking lot at work was a sheet of ice this morning. I wished for a nice pair of freshly sharpened skates as I inched my way up the slope toward the safety of the side walk and hoped I would stay on my feet. Mostly because it's painful to fall, and also because I would be horribly embarrassed if I had to crawl across the lot on my hands and knees because the pavement was too slippery for me to get up again.
By late morning or early afternoon the ice was gone and the parking lot was safe again.
I have a renewed appreciation for my dad, who worked hard at a physical job all week long, and still took the time to play and read to us, take us out often on evenings and weekends, rarely missed a Sunday church service, and visited our handicapped brother every other weekend. He kept up with the routine for years and years.
It was a busy weekend. I went to the pottery studio both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Saturday was open studio, this afternoon (and the next two Sundays) our instructor is making up for time she has or will miss. I opted to take advantage of the opportunity to practice and learn. Fun, frustrating, and freeing all at once.
Late yesterday afternoon we had our tax return done. Always no fun.
This Sunday I spent second service helping with three-year-olds in the children's ministry. I find it so much easier to sit on the floor now than I did nine months ago when I started working at the daycare center. It's easier to get up too. Once upon a time I considered buying a gym membership, and now I get paid to working out. Ha ha!
(Did I tell you how I'm slowly getting to know second cousins at church? Of course I didn't... I met my second cousin Sue today. Her daughter is overseeing the part of the children's ministry I'm helping with. And then there's that other second cousin Keith, who followed me into church last week. Some from my dad's side and some from my mom's. It really is a small world. Really, it is!)
After a grocery run on my way home from the pottery studio today, I backtracked to visit with my favorite Bethany and and her kiddos. We shared a cup of tea and a bit of conversation. I got home just in time to find Hannah heading out to work. We cross paths this way too often. After she left I had a little talk with Idris, watched him spin himself dizzy, and kissed his sweet little cheeks. He is a great storyteller! I just wish I knew what he was saying.
Now it's time to settle myself down, close my eyes, and start the week all over again tomorrow.
Pottery night. Working with clay is good therapy for me. It's the reason I keep paying for new classes. We're a little more than halfway through this one already. I've thrown a few bowls, pulled a bunch of cylinders, and tonight I made a plate. This class has been more profitable in that I feel much more confidant in what I am doing. I don't mind tossing the failed pot back in the bag and starting over, and sometimes I simply enjoy it for the practice.
I stole a picture of a classmate this evening as she fixed a mar in her plate. It was a good night.
It is quite amazing how my Saturday morning appointment, the Sunday sermon, and tonight's CoDA meeting all dovetailed in their messages. Much of it had to do with not being able to manage our own lives. "Our lives had become unmanageable..." Sometimes I think God isn't talking to me, and other times it's quite undeniable.
"Life is not about what you achieve, what you grasp, it's about what you receive from God." God has bigger plans for us than we could ever imagine. Honestly, I find it hard to believe God cares that much about me. I find it hard to believe He wants more for me than I want for myself. Guess I'll let that roll around in my little brain for a bit.
Make a choice and go with it. I've made two choices recently...
First of all, I've decided to drastically cut back on my coffee consumption. It was a week of chasing headaches away with Excedrin, but I made it through. I did have two small cups last weekend, but for the most part I've been drinking tea. Caffeinated in the morning, herbal thereafter. The coffee craving has waned dramatically and nature is calling in a more reasonable voice these days.
Second, I'm playing the gluten-free game again. I've done this before and found many of the daily aches and pains slowly disappeared. My joints and muscles were less achy, and I felt better overall. Then I would start eating it again and those symptoms would gradually reappear. Being gluten-free is a hassle but I'm climbing back on the wagon. It'll be two weeks tomorrow. Thankfully there is a vast array of good gluten-free foods out there.
This afternoon I decided to make soup. I perused the store in search of ingredients. I wanted something a bit different from the tomato based soup I made a few weeks ago, something gluten-free for me, and vegan for my sweet girl. I came up with this. My first post on this blog in four years. Who knows, maybe I'll resurrect it.
I mean to blog, really I do. Sometimes I even pull up a blank page and sit there staring at it, waiting for words to come... and then they don't. Sometimes I come home to tired to think and find myself falling asleep at suppertime and waking up when it's time to go to bed. I have a cold, another one, maybe that's why I'm tired. Or maybe it's because I gave up drinking coffee after work.
So, what can I tell you?
I could tell you that every time I go home, I look around the house and see pieces of me I left behind... I could tell you that sometimes my heart aches so bad... I could tell you if it were possible to wish this all away, I would... But I can't tell you why.
I found a puzzle in Hobby Lobby a week or so ago. It touched my heart, so I bought it and took it home. It's been slow going, but I'm putting it together a little at a time. I'm almost halfway done now. It's just a puzzle, but the picture has me captivated because I know He's holding my hand too.
I am a work in the hands of the Master Potter. I pray that His fingerprints are all over me as I walk through this life. This is my journey. Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up on me.
I am mom to seven beautiful grown ups and grandma to ten beautiful grandchildren.