Monthly Archives: April 2013

Harvest for the Pantry

When Gpa and I found the community garden, we also found an opportunity to harvest for the food pantry.  Every Tuesday a group of people meet for breakfast and then harvest what is ready to be taken to the food pantry.

Today, we harvested 150 pounds of mustard greens.  That is a lot!  I had been playing during the harvest if there were enough people.  Then I started to play the violin.  I still need the sheet music so I thought it would be better to play inside.  I’ve been playing while the ladies get breakfast ready.  Or as in today’s case, I played after I ate as well.  I hadn’t finished my repertoire.

Then on to the harvest.

I’ve been participating for a little over a year and it just hit me.  I’m helping to feed the hungry.  It’s funny how the choice of words changes the meaning.



The Guitar, the Violin, or the Ukulele

I committed to playing music at the plant sale this past Saturday.  I’ve been practicing the violin, neglecting the uke and the guitar.  So when I went to load up the car, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to take.  Mark said he’d come play his accordion at lunch.  So that meant taking the uke or guitar.  I wanted to take the violin but I’ve been having trouble tuning the E string.  I can’t turn the knob.

As I stood there, I thought, if I don’t make a decision, I’ll be here all day. Load up all of them and decide there.  I am so glad I did.  I ended up playing all three instruments.  A fellow gardener brought his grandchildren,  5 and 7, and I let them try the uke and violin.  The guitar had not made it out of the car yet.

It was fun watching them be so serious as they explored making sounds with the instruments.

I got the guitar out when Mark showed up. Even though we hadn’t played the camp songs in a long while, our rusty fingers soon found the notes right enough for all to have a good time.

Sometimes the choice is all of the above!

Bad Manners Excuse

I can’t remember if I’ve blogged on this before but it’s come up again, with another person.  I have to say that it really goes all over me when someone excuses bad behavior with, “That’s just the way they are.”

My husband said that about his mother.  At the time, I wondered if I’d get a turn at being ‘that way.’

I say it’s down right plain rude.  I think these people have learned this is the way to get what they want.  The rest of us get out of they way and let them.

But I can tell you, if I started acting this way, people would not be making excuses.  Oh, wait, maybe I can, maybe I could tell them oh, I’m sorry but I am dealing with a death in the family and see how long I can get away with it.

However,  I don’t want to behave that way.  I like who I am and if it’s too nice, well so be it.  Though I am going to stand up for myself more now. ( I don’t have to account to parents and grandparent or get to rely on them)

I do have another thing that I have to deal with.  Last year when it was time to tell the church what we plan to give next year(this year) I told the guy in charge that I don’t like to pledge in general.  I do plan to give I just don’t like the idea of a group expecting a certain amount.  Especially since Gpa was beginning to decline and I didn’t know how long we’d have.

I didn’t want a pledge hanging over my head as I looked for a job.

I got a letter the other day, showing what I have given for 2013 and how much pledge I have left. There were a lot of zero’s partly because for most of Feb I was out-of-town and some weeks I’m giving cash and I haven’t bothered to put it in an envelope and put my name on it.  BECAUSE I didn’t think I had a pledge.  I thought my giving was between me and God.

I am so frustrated that I’m afraid I’ll end up being a shrieking shrew.

I will be starting a job in May (Yay!!! this is so exciting and such a relieve) so I’m trying to remember that I’ll be able to cover this amount of money over the year.  But I keep going back to the conversation and this man knows I don’t have a job.

All he has asked me these past months is if I have a job yet. (or if I’ll read or play music or snuff out the candles)  He hasn’t asked how I’m doing, if I need anything, are my bills covered, am I getting enough to eat, or sleep.  And I’m now thinking he’s asking about the job because of the pledge.

I can tell you that when asked this year, I’m only going to pledge a dollar so I can meet it the first time I give.  And then I’ll be back to the freedom of my giving being between God and myself.

Sorry, didn’t mean to ramble but this really bothers me.

Too Depressed or Not Depressed Enough

Hospice was scheduled to come the morning that Gpa died.  I called them to see if they wanted to come out anyway.

No, call 9-1-1, but if you need the bereavement services, be sure to call back.

I’m remembering that conversation now.  And wondering if I should call.

But I would have to find the number.  I don’t even remember which company I told the doctor.  I guess I can ask the doctor.

But I’m either too depressed or not depressed enough to bother.

I really think I’m fine.  I don’t feel a need to talk to a bunch of strangers about what I’m going through.  Especially as I have family and friends who have shared the last year with Gpa and I.

These are the people who I want to share what I remember with.   And I do.

We have been remembering all kinds of great things about Gpa.  And helping me figure out what I’m going to do next.  And in the mean time, I’m still working in the garden and helping harvest for the food pantry.  The first Tuesday in April, I started teaching juggling again.  And tomorrow will be the first Crime Watch meeting since I took a break.

I don’t think I’ll bother with finding the number.  But it was nice of them to offer.

Halved Horse Blanket

There is an old folk tale where a man asks his father to let him have the farm now and not wait until the old man dies.  Especially since the older man was getting too feeble to work the land.

The old man loves his son so much he agrees.

The son then tells his father to sleep in the barn.  The old man complies and goes to the barn.  After the old man leaves, the weather turns cold.  The son tells his son, go take a horse blanket to the barn.

The son cuts the blanket in half.  The father asks, “What are you doing?”  The boy replies, “I’m cutting it in half so you can have something to keep you warm when you are old.”

I am concerned that if we are not careful we as a society will make choices like the man responding to the age of his father.   Especially as the need increases.  Who will be caring for the elderly?

Gpa has had some great care givers and he’s had some that I suspected of abuse.  What happens to the people who don’t have an advocate? Who will be their voice? Especially those who have Alzheimer’s or dementia and cannot advocate for themselves?

Will we seek a full solution or will we slap a half-hearted, half-baked, half-horse blanket on it and be done?

Productivity Does Not Equal Value

There is a photo in our album where Gpa is changing my diaper.  I wasn’t very productive at that age.  It didn’t matter.

Family members considered part of raising a child.  It is part of love.  Love has a different value, it does not look to productivity in an individual.

As he got older Gpa was worried that he would become a burden.  He never was.  Even that last week.  It was the love we shared.  It was the twinkle in his eye, the spark of life.

I have known parents who have supported their children until they are 18, 30, 50 even.  And yet there is a debate on what to do with the costs involved in caring for the elderly.

Yes, it is something to be concerned about, but we must be careful not to set an age or lack of productivity where the care is not longer given.  We must remember they were there for us when we could not care for ourselves.  Shouldn’t we care for them now?

I have found free online classes at  I am taking a rhetoric writing class and may come back to this topic when I have learned more.

The Love of a Grandchild

My grandson called yesterday and left a message asking if I was OK.

I thought that was strange as he’s 5.  Why would he want to know if I were OK?  Usually he’s telling me about school or playing on dad’s computer.

I called and left a message.

When he called me back, he said something about the fire being far far away from me.  “Yes, I assured him the fire was far, far away from me.”  He knows I live in Texas and must have heard about the explosion in West/Waco, Texas.

I don’t think we give kids enough credit.  They are smart and absorb everything around them.  Their understanding may be a bit off, but by keeping communication open, misunderstandings can be cleared up quickly.

And even at the tender age of 5, they are aware and worry about loved ones.

It does my heart good to know that the love I received from Gpa, I can pass on and share with my children and their children.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Not all situations are the same.  So one solution isn’t enough.

People are individuals and want different things.

Just because retirement age has been set to 65 does not mean all people retire at 65.    Some look forward to early retirement.  Some enjoy what they do and choose to continue working.

My dad was still working at 67 when he passed away.  Boy, was that a mess with the insurance companies.  I had correctly filed primary and secondary.  Then someone calculated his age and didn’t tell me why they thought I had filed wrong.  I would have told him he was still employed if they had told me.

So I re-file.  Then someone else asks, “wasn’t he employed at the time of his death?”


So I got to refile the refiling!

As far as I know, Gpa retired at 65.  He continued to be productive.

Gpa drove his car until he was 97.

Even with dementia, he was able to interact and endear himself to others.

Yet st 99, even though he was walking and talking and feeding himself, someone wanted to put him on hospice!

Let’s not get caught up on numbers.  Let’s not force people to do


Self Pay

Gpa had an annuity that paid him more than Medicaid allowed.  He  did receive some Medicare benefits.  The cost of many facilities for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients were priced over what he received.

It did cause for a challenge and there were a couple of moves.  Another challenge happened when the care giver changed and I didn’t feel that the new one was right for us.

Since I haven’t been working, I haven’t had insurance.  So I am self pay as well.  I do have a health retirement account and it charges me maintenance fees.  Um, by the time I get to use it, it will be gone because of the fees.  So I called.

Oh, guess what?  They allow a person to use the money for health care if they are no longer with the company they invested in the plan.

I’ve already received money back for the chiropractic care I got for my back.  So tomorrow I’m going to go to the dentist and eye doctor an become current on those items.

I think we have to be very careful when we start regulating the options individuals have.  Especially when creating laws.  Laws are on the books for a very long time and are hard to change.

Violin, Piano and Guitar

I’ve been playing the violin 1-2 times a day.  Last week, I took it to the garden and practiced while the ladies were making breakfast.

I figured I was about fit for human consumption.  One lady even sang a long!  What a great feeling.

In one way it’s been a hard instrument to learn.  There are no frets, I have to figure out where to put my fingers each time.  Have to hold the bow just right and if I don’t pay attention, the bow will slide to a part of the instrument that causes squeaking!

This has been like learning to ride a bike.  Awkward at first but if you keep at it, it will be like flying!

Another way, it is easier to play.  Right now I’m using one left hand finger at a time.   A piano would have you use 1-6 or more at a time.  That takes coordination!  Guitar chords can have your fingers in knots.

The sounds that have been coming from the violin have given me a great deal of comfort.  I am so glad I bought it instead of the deep freezer.