Sunday, July 31, 2011


We hauled ourselves home in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Meg and I popped in to visit Mom Friday.

Meg, Ev, and I went over again Saturday. We took Mom the Bible my cousins had given me from my Aunt Helen's estate. It was one of my Grandma's, Mom's dear Mama. It says "Minna M." on the front and I thought Mom would enjoy seeing it. She loves it! It is large print, so Mom carried it to church with her this morning. Mom said she had been debating purchasing a large print Bible or just carrying her magnifying glass in her bag. Now she can carry "Mama's".

Today, Mom had us over for Sunday dinner. (Nate asked, "Why do we call Sunday lunch 'dinner', but every other day it is lunch?" Good question, I don't know why, but it's dinner.) We had a lovely meal of brisket, pecos canteloupe, salad, homemade baguette, and rosemary roasted potatoes. Mom relied heavily on her right-hand-man/roomie Karis for serving and clearing. Mom was eager to hear about our travels and enjoyed seeing our pictures on Dave's computer. And she shared her pictures of our family trip to Yellowstone when I was 5 or 6. Very fun!

I showed Mom the framed pictures that my cousins had given us. One of them was an artist's rendering of the three sisters: Minna, Lucy, and Bertha. Mom was explaining that Bertha had died in childbirth. Then she looked at me and said, "You know Anemone? She was one of Bertha's children." I must have looked puzzled, because she said again, "You know, Anemone." After a pause, Mom said, "Not Anemone! Penny."

Okay. Penny is some sort of cousin who lives here in Texas. She is definitely not old enough to be a child of Bertha's, maybe a grandchild. There was some big sort of glitch going on there today. Mixing generations is foggy enough, but Anemone? That one really gave me pause.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Remember those papers in school? I know this blog is focused on my life as a daughter to my aging parents, but I really want to talk for just a moment about all the fun things we got to do. Just skip this post if you don't want to indulge me. Or think of it as the caregiver's respite. :)

In CO we:

*Resale/antique/tourist shopped
*Shot a variety of guns
*Attended the Harry Potter midnight premiere at our favorite little mountain movie house
*Wandered through local art/craft show
*Ate wonderful homemade dinners around the table with our friends
*(Note: Not all of us did all of these things, especially me. God's plan for the first two days of each of our CO stays was for me to lie in bed with altitude sickness.)
*Worshipped in our friends' little mountain church
*Zip lined in the backyard
*Rocky Mountain National Park
*Shared life with our friends
*Loaded up a trailer with family heirlooms that my cousins graciously shared from my Aunt Helen's estate

In MT we:

*Fly fished
*Resale/local store shopped
*Shot a variety of guns
*Wandered through the farmer's market
*Ate wonderful homemade dinners around the table with our friends
*Worshipped with our friends in their little chapel
*Swam at Lake Como
*Enjoyed local restaurants
*Shared life with our friends

In WY we:

*Spent the night in a cabin in Yellowstone National Park
*Saw bison and a bear, right by our truck. Right. By. Our. Truck.
*Saw Old Faithful erupt
*Saw mudpots and the beautiful blue of the pools
*Smelled the sulfuric acid
*Saw the changing mineral formations
*Saw the beautiful falls and the "grand canyon of yellowstone"
*Hiked to the lower falls
*Ate in the cafeteria

In Amarillo we:

*Hung out with our friends
*Shopped at our favorite Natural Grocer
*Resale shopped
*Played with their adorable, fun children
*Tried to think of baby names for their baby #3

And somewhere along the way, I read Atlas Shrugged and Lonesome Dove.

Good friends, good books, and a road trip with my family. What could be better?

While the Cat's Away, Part Deux

We've been gone three weeks. Meg and Karis have been gone five weeks. We are hanging out with our friends in Amarillo today, and then tomorrow we head home.

While we've been gone, friends have been stopping in to visit Mom each day. Perry has been working at the house a lot. He finished the kitchen, complete with cabinet doors and drawers. He finished the hall bath (great timing with Karis gone). He put in fence posts. I'm hoping we can work with him next week to learn more mechanics of fence building and improve Mom's backyard view.

So, Friday will be full of unloading and unpacking, picking up pets, setting up house, and gathering our wits in general. We just have two weeks until school starts for Ev and work starts for Karis. Three weeks until work starts for me and Nate starts back with school/educational therapy. Six weeks until Karis and Meg start college/dual credit at our local community college. And many doctor/dentist/orthodontist appointments in between. Not to mention back to school shopping.

And then there is the wild card: Mom. There is no schedule, no orderly timeline of events. I love that God has given her extra time to enjoy. I love the way she greets each new day with anticipation and joy. I want to do the same. Will she continue to truck along? Will she begin to fail? The only thing I know for sure is that there is no way to call it. The only plan I have is to continue on with our daily lives. And wait.

Further Up and Further In

(Well, not really further up, which is a good thing, given my losing battle with altitude sickness on this trip!)

After a great time with our friends in CO, we all piled into the suburban for a short little jaunt to Montana. One of Karis' closest friends had moved there after graduation this year, and we figured since we were already halfway up the US, why not just pop over to visit? Well, let me tell you, MT is far, far away. Even if you start in CO. It is a gorgeous, scenic drive though and well worth it to see our friends and their charming new hometown.

We had the full MT experience, complete with gun shooting, fly fishing, backyard bear sightings, a farmer's market, sleeping with the windows open in July, jeeping, mountain lake swimming, and small town shopping. We had a wonderful, life-giving time with friends. It was relaxing, invigorating, and restoring. And it was really, really hard to leave. I think I heart Montana.

Also, while in Montana, I started to appreciate the benefits of being far, far away. Far away from responsibilities and cares. Far away to the point that other siblings would be closer in an emergency. Far away enough to feel that my mom's well-being rests on someone else's shoulder, leaving me only a concerned bystander. And I would be white-washing if I didn't admit, I liked that feeling. It was new and nice and it was probably a big part of the reason for the tears in my eyes when we drove away from that lovely little valley.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

Oh my. Colorado is so cool. And so green. A place where temperatures stay out of the nineties and cold water falls from the sky. We stopped by Manitou Springs for Karis and Meg's graduation from Summit and then headed northwest to stay with friends. These are friends who have been opening their home to us for over 17 years, and their hearts for much longer than that. They somehow manage to treat us like royalty and make us feel right at home at the same time.

Mom seems to be ticking right along at home. It is hot there and the drought continues. Our friends who stopped by on Saturday said Mom was out happily watering the yard. And Mom said to them, "Dave must have alerted the whole church!" Little does she know! At least she's blaming Dave. Our friend who stopped by on Thursday said Mom invited her in and they visited for an hour! She even said they both got teary eyed. So dear.

I talked to Mom Friday and she was happy to hear my voice but didn't want to talk long. Karis and Dave both called today. Aren't cell phones wonderful inventions? If only Mom would learn to text. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trouble with a Capital T

I'm going to be in trouble when my mom finds out what I've been doing. I've been planning. Scheming. And involving Mom's friends. Last night at dinner, Dave, Nate, Ev and I brainstormed a list of people who would be willing to pop in to visit Mom while we are out of town. I printed a calendar and circled the dates we will be gone. This morning I carried the list and the calendar around and began the subterfuge.

I asked people if they would like to sign up for a date to visit Mom.

I specified going by before noon or after 3:00. I said the visit did not need to be long. I warned against calling ahead, because Mom would say not to come. I suggested saying something like, "I'm running by HEB. Can I get you anything? Or would you like to come along?"

A friend who is a nurse offered to tend to Mom until we can get back, if she suddenly needs care. We asked another friend to be the Hurricane Evacuation Chief, no hunkering down option.

And I swore everyone to secrecy.

Of course Mom will figure things out sooner or later. And then there will be trouble. With a capital T. I'll just have to deal with it, I guess, and so will Mom.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hubba Hubba

When Gayle and I were going through some more of Mom's things we found this picture. It is another one from a series of tiny prints (maybe 1"x2") that evidently Dad sent Mom from Leyte during WWII. He sent shots of their huts, the beach, the airstrip, etc. This one is inscribed on the back, "Another one of the house." Yeah. Right. I think it should read, "Another good reason to marry me when I get home from the war."