Thursday, June 30, 2011


Mom has been tired this week. She describes herself as feeling "puny". She has had some two-nap days. She says she gets up and does something, then sits in her chair "like Dad". I laughed and told her I didn't think she was "like Dad" just yet! But, she is tired enough that she does not want to go pick blueberries, and this is the end of the season.

Mom is focused now on getting the guest room cleared out. We have been piling heirlooms in the guest room as she sorts through things. I asked her yesterday, when she brought it up again, if she wants me to box and ship for her. She didn't bite on that idea, but maybe it will grow on her. She does want to see if Bill will visit and take some things.

Maybe this is just exhaustion after coming home from vacation followed quickly by houseguests. Mom is typically "up" for company and then has to recuperate afterwards. Or maybe it's the beginning of the downhill slide. There's just no way to call it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Whole New Level

Of weirdness, that is.

You know Mom has progressed from having three closets painted to redoing the guest room, master bedroom and bathroom, hallway, living room, dining room, and kitchen, plus fencing the backyard. Perry is doing an amazing job and Mom is really pleased with the results. The house does look really nice.

But here's the weirdness, at least to me. As Perry has progressed through the house, Mom has refused to put back up any of her pictures or decorations. Okay, that kind of makes some sense to me. But this weekend, Mom asked me to decorate the mantle, the built-in china cabinet, and her buffet...with my stuff. From my house. Not her stuff. My stuff. She said she wanted to see what it would look like with my things. So I did. It was weird and oddly angst-filled for me. Gayle texted me later to say, "Mom is so happy with your decorating! She says, 'I think this shows that Gwen really wants to move in here and will be happy here.'" Okay.

Mom's desire was to see my china in her cabinet. Wish granted.

Really, I would have decorated the buffet with a lot of family pictures. Gayle cautioned me that Mom has criticized her for having "too many pictures" of her family around her house, so I used stuff instead.

The prop, picture of Dad, and books are actually Mom's. I snuck those in there for some nostalgia and she didn't seem to mind.

While the Cat's Away...

the grandkids will play.

At least that's what Mom thought when she saw these pics of Karis, Nate and Meg while she was in Idaho. She told my sister-in-law, "They look like they are having fun!" Mmm-hmm. Right up there with trimming the grass with a pair of scissors.

A Few More Idaho Shots

A rare snap of Mom without parka and hat!

Enjoying a summer day in the north.

I think this shot pretty much sums it all up. :)

Oh. My. Word.

I have been away from my mental therapy for waaaay too long. Ten days, to be exact. Why, you ask? Well, I could let Kevin Kline and Sandra Boynton explain. Or I could tell you that in the last ten days:

We picked Dave up at the airport.
We celebrated Father's Day with Dave's family.
I went to the doctor because I sound like a lunger.
Karis, Meg, Nate, and Ev helped with VBS.
Nate and Ev attended Sports Camp.
Dave and I went out for dinner with dear friends.
My sister and brother-in-law came to stay with Mom and all three of us worked like dogs.
Meg and Karis took their college placement exams.
Dave and I went out for dinner with my sister and bil.
I moved some stuff over to my mom's. (More about that later.)
Karis and Meg left for Summit.
Nate, Ev, and I helped with VBS Put It Away Day.


Friday, June 17, 2011


Mom seems happy to be back at home. But I'm again struck with how frail and tired she seems. I know she is recovering from a hard travel day. And I know the sweltering heat and jumbled house take their toll as well. It is just such a contrast between energy level in Idaho and energy level at home.

As I was mulling this over yesterday, I realized that in Idaho, Mom let Loren and Carrie serve her. She even commented, "They bring me my food!" Of course, here at home, Mom will not allow us to serve her. She insists on doing her own cooking/cleaning/watering and gets agitated with offers of help.

I'm wondering if that explains some of the difference in energy level. While away, Mom was pretty much waited on. She had energy to spare. While here at home, she expends all her energy on the activities of daily living.

I'm not calling it right or wrong, just observing and pondering.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Business as Usual

Late this morning, Karis asked her grandma what she would like for lunch. She told me about the ensuing conversation.

Grandma: I'll just eat another bagel.

Karis: Grandma, you can't just eat bagels. You need some meat.

Grandma: I'll go up to HEB later and get some tangerines.

Karis: Grandma, that's not meat!

Grandma: Hey, who's the mother here?

Karis: May and I are going to pick up something from McKenzie's. Do you want anything?

Grandma: Why aren't you going to eat there?

Karis: Because I don't like to spend time there. I work there!

Grandma: Why aren't you going to Chicken Licken?

Karis explained to me that Chicken Licken is what Mom calls Chick-fil-a. So she and her friend went to Chick-fil-a and got Mom a chicken sandwich and fries for lunch.

I just skipped the tortuous conversation and got Mom some barbecue for dinner.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Eagle Has Landed

Mom is home safe and sound. She actually accepted wheelchairs and electric carts along the way and arrived at the airport in good shape. I insisted on dinner on the way home (Mom tried to decline, saying Carrie had packed her a sandwich and kabob meat), so we had a lovely nosh at Panda Express. Then we zipped by Panera to get some bagels for Mom's breakfast.


The kitchen is inaccessible.

Nevertheless, Mom is happy to be home. She said, "Even when you're old, you get homesick. Kind of." And then she went to bed.

Welcome home, Ma.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Day at the Lake

...the Idaho way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Idaho Action

Summertime in Idaho


Ma in the Garden

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Mom called me twice today! In her first call, she wanted a work and weather report.

Work: The kids and I went over again this morning. Perry has finished painting in the living room, so we helped pull off tape and paper, dusted, and replaced furniture. Dug some more post holes. Removed cabinet fronts and pulls in kitchen. Started stripping wallpaper in kitchen. Watered. Watered. Watered.

Weather: Same. Hot and dry. Record drought continues. (See watering info above.)

She told me how she was enjoying her time in Idaho. She talked with Karis and told her, "I'm in heaven!" But then Mom asked Karis if she was going to be back at the house Wednesday night. She wanted to be sure her roommate was on board. :)

Mom called a second time as we were on the way home from her house. Loren had been teasing her and she wanted to make sure we were not putting pictures back up on the newly painted walls! So funny. She has been very adamant about not returning any pictures to the walls, so of course we hadn't hung any up. But she wanted to check.

Mom insists it is time for her to come home. It did occur to me today that Mom doesn't really need cabinet fronts in order for her kitchen to be functional. So, if Perry doesn't get the doors sanded, bondoed (how do you spell that?), painted, and replaced by next Wednesday night, it will be okay.

Really, I know that I should stop worrying about this and just let the chips fall as they may. None of this, from the remodel to the trip to the return, none of it has been my idea. Why do I feel like I need to run around and make things work out right? I dunno. I'm the baby of the family, for crying out loud! I'm supposed to shirk responsibility, right? I don't know what my problem is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I will pick Mom up at the airport next Wednesday at 6:09. She will be flying alone, at her own insistence. Carrie arranged for wheelchair/cart assistance at each gate, but I don't know if Mom will use them. When I have flown with her in the past year, she has waved off assistance. Maybe it will be different when traveling alone? We'll see.

And now I see that it is my turn to struggle with delighting in Mom's presence. I feel so jerked around by her plans and expectations that yesterday when she called, it was hard to be happy to talk with her. She wanted to know if it was still hot and dry here. (Yes.) She wanted to know if Nate was watering as she had instructed or if I was doing it. (I am. I don't know what she thought he would do for hours at her house while watering her grass, trees, and plants. I don't know how she thought a 14yo boy would get to her house.) She wants Perry to work faster so her kitchen and fence will be finished for her return. (Perry is a one-man-show. He is good, not fast. Mom knows this. And my kids are building the fence, learning as they go.)

It is even hard to be happy about seeing her again. I will need a big attitude adjustment by next Wednesday night. Good thing God specializes in those.

Here's a Mom funny. Dave is out of town, working on his doctorate at Talbot. I was trying to work out with the kids how I would handle taking the Camry in to get the wheels aligned. At one point I suggested I could walk over to Mom's house from the car shop and work over there while waiting for the car. Meg looked at me and said in a reproachful tone, "Mom, you are acting like Grandma." I laughed, came up with a more sane plan, and told my kids that would be a good catch phrase for when I am being unreasonable!

Monday, June 6, 2011

And Now

Mom wants to come home.

Not right away. But not when the kitchen work is done either. She wants to come home next Wednesday. She says a little kitchen remodel will not bother her.

And she wants to fly home. Alone.

End of discussion. (What discussion?)

So I guess that's what she'll do. Mom is having dear sil Carrie make the arrangements. I'm waiting to hear the final details.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Idaho Update

Mom is safely ensconced in Idaho. My sister-in-law Carrie laid in the steaks, fish, fresh fruits and veggies, oatmeal, grapefruit, and bread from the bakery. Yesterday when I checked in, Carrie said Mom and Loren were huddled around the radio. Today, she told me they were off walking in the woods. And tonight my nephew Zane graduates from high school. Pretty sweet stuff.

Speaking of sweet stuff, Carrie and I have decided that when Mom moves on to heaven, the only suitable thing for us to do will be to get tattoos. We would like to have the family motto, "Everything's Fine", immortalized in ink. Being a traditional girl, I was thinking of something like this:

A heart for Mom, a heart for Dad, and the family motto on the banner. Whaddya think? Who's in?

ETA: I really like this one too, but would modify with two hearts.

Postscript: I ordered the acrylic stamp from Etsy today. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

What Has God Been Teaching You?

At worship team practice Wednesday night, our worship pastor asked, "What has God been teaching you this week?" Well, funny thing. After Mom left Sunday with Loren, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. Honestly, it hurts my feelings that my mom does not want to spend time with me. I know, I know, I've said this before; it is nothing new. It's just how I feel.

She needs me.
She thanks me for taking care of business for her.
She does really nice things for me, like willing my family her house.
But she doesn't especially like being with me.

And it is such a huge contrast when she is with Loren. She is delighted, happy, giddy. She smiles and smiles. She trusts him implicitly and his word is gold. It's not that I begrudge her happiness; I just wish that she could be happy with me too.

So, as I mentioned, I was a little bummed over the whole relationship situation. As I named my emotions and faced my feelings, God let me know He understood. And then He gently pointed out that often He feels that way too, because I treat Him the same way.

I need Him.
I thank Him for what He does for me.
I do nice things for Him and faithfully give.
But I don't especially like being with Him.
Bottom line, I don't delight myself in spending time with Him.

So, yeah, ouch. Nothing like examining a hurtful relationship and finding it a mirror. *sigh* The good news is that God doesn't give up. He keeps pursuing me even when I hurt his feelings. His love for me is so much better, so much finer, so much stronger than even my love for my mom. I could take a page from His book. And maybe I should do that!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Onward and Upward

Last night Mom and Loren stayed in Missoula, Montana. Mom slept for twelve hours and then the Dynamic Duo started on the last leg of their journey. You can't do this in Texas in June!

(That's Mom throwing snowballs, Loren says.)

While still in Wyoming, the Terrible Twosome stopped at Little Big Horn.

What a gorgeous day!

Dave said all these shots of Mom at various tourist attractions remind him of that Travelocity commercial where the garden gnome shows up in vacation pictures. I was thinking more along the lines of Flat Stanley.

Anyhoo, Loren said that yesterday Mom told him she would like to stay in Idaho until Perry finishes painting the kitchen. I was thinking along those same lines last night when I asked Perry for a guesstimate timeline. And that's when I found out that Perry and Noelle are leaving for Spain on June 20. So, finished or not, June 20 is a pretty good stopping point to plan on. Or Mom could wait in Idaho until we take our driving tour in July. I guess we'll take things one day at a time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Where's Ma?

Well, last night around sunset she was at Mt. Rushmore.

Mom and Loren spent the night in Rapid City, South Dakota, and the last I heard at 10:00 this morning, they were in Wyoming. Crazy!