Thursday, October 28, 2010

fun with grandpa

The other day as I walked into Grandpa's I heard Dad say to him, "Kerri will get your pills."  Dad left and a few minutes later Grandpa told me, "I need my pills."  I was a bit confused, because he usually has his pills with breakfast. 
"You need your pills?" I asked. 
"Yes," he said.
"Have you had your breakfast?"
"Huh?"  (confused look on Grandpa's face now, too)
"You usually have your pills with breakfast.  Have you had your breakfast?"
"Yeah, I had my breakfast," he said, still confused.
"Well, did you have your pills with it like usual?  I don't understand what pills Dad was talking about."
"I need my PIL-LOWS," Grandpa said.  Poor man.

Today he needed a paper clip.  "Do you have some in your desk?" I asked, walking over to his desk/secretary - like a roll-top desk but not rounded.
"Yes, on the right side."
I looked around and eventually found them in a small jar on the left side.  I took out a paper clip (but Grandpa didn't see that), held the jar up, and said, "Do you want me to put them back where I found them or where you thought they were?"  (We can be very Type-A.)
"Huh?  No, I need a clip."
"Yes, but do you want me to put the rest of them back here, or here?" I said, pointing.
"No!  I want to clip these two papers together."  (an article onto a piece of white paper)
"Yes, but what about the rest of the paper clips?"
Chuckling, but also trying very hard to remain patient with me, Grandpa said slowly and clearly, "PICK. UP. THE. JAR. AND. WALK. OVER. HERE. AND. PUT. THE. JAR. DOWN. HERE. PLEASE," as he pointed to a tray by his chair.
I laughed and said in the same way, "I. KNOW. I. GOT. THE. CLIP."  I showed it to him and put it on his tray.  "I'M. TALKING. ABOUT. THE. JAR," I said, holding it up.
By then we were both laughing, and I don't know where they ended up.

He clipped the papers together, then he asked me to cut off the extra white paper around the margins.  (See?  Type A.)  He said, half-serious/half-teasing, "DON'T. CUT. THE. ARTICLE. IN. HALF. CUT HERE," he said, pointing, "AROUND. THE. ARTICLE."
"I'm going to go get the scissors and bring them here so you can watch me cut it."
Grandpa smiled, sighed with relief, and said, "Yes."
I returned with the scissors, picked up the article, and pretended I was about to cut it in half.

We keep each other mentally fit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

you know

You know you've got a problem when in the midst of looking up info. on focusing attention in the midst of multiple distractions, you get distracted yourself and forget wh

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

they've outsourced 911!

I got stuck in traffic today at a red light that wouldn't change.  Since it was taking a while, and the light happened to be at the bottom of an interstate exit ramp and cars were backed up onto the highway, I thought I'd call 911.  Maybe it was because I wasn't on a traceable land line, but auto-woman answered and said, "Please say the name of the city in which you have an emergency."  After a stunned moment, I said, "Wichita."  Then a real woman picked up and said, "You have an emergency in Wichita?"  I told her yes and then told her about the light at "I 135 and 13th."  She said, "I'm sorry; did you say an interstate?"  DON'T YOU KNOW?!?!?!?!?! I thought, but all that came out of my mouth was "Yes."  Apparently, I am polite to strangers even in an emergency.  I explained, and she asked another question or two, leading me to believe that she really wasn't local.  I'm sorry, but I'm old enough for that to be scary.

They've outsourced my brain!
Later I picked up a prescription and the cashier rang it up and said, "That'll be $7.32" (or whatever - it was generic).  I smiled, said "Okay," and just stared at her.  A few beats later, I said, "Oh! So pay you!"  In spite of the previous story I am going to blame this on my familiarity with technology and say I'm so used to paying with my debit card that I automatically (ha ha) waited for the cashier to push a button and the total to show up on the little screen.  But I paid in cash, so I just looked like an idiot.

Best news article closing:  "Mee is no longer suffering from the hiccups, police spokesman Mike Puetz said."

And in the TMI category:
I guess I'm also old enough now that needing to pee is not a thing to be taken lightly or put off until later.  I had to go so bad when I was driving home earlier that it was very distracting; who knows, maybe that light was fine...what mixed with yellow makes red?  Don't worry, I made it.  But it reminds me of one of my favorite stories:  when my brother was little (10 or 12 years old - okay, maybe younger) and newly potty-trained, he didn't like to interrupt playing to go to the bathroom.  He'd wait until the last minute, then we'd hear the pitter-patter of little feet running for their life, the sound of the toilet lid going up and slamming into the tank (he's polite in emergencies, too), and then the sound of pee along with a loud, little-boy sigh of relief.  He said I could post this.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

morning walk

When you live in Kansas, it can be easy sometimes to look at pictures of mountains or the ocean and feel a pang of envy - I did just the other day when I saw a picture of a cottage in Wales on a cliff overlooking the sea.  "Those people get to see that every day," I thought with wonder and disappointment in my homeland.  But this morning I took a walk and reminded myself of the unique beauty of Kansas; you just have to pay more attention sometimes.  One of my favorite Kansas sights, which I don't have a picture of yet, is the sun shining on golden wheat fields in a clear, deep blue sky.  It looks like you're in the Sahara, and when the wind blows the wheat really does look like "waves of grain."

I am excited to now live only 1/2 mile from the river that runs through Wichita (okay, there is a point when the Little Arkansas River branches off from the Big Arkansas River, but we just call it "the river").  I walked to and by the river with attention and an open, prayerful heart and enjoyed:

the river itself.  I had been walking fast for exercise, and there's a bike path that runs along it for that purpose, but I changed my mind and my purpose for the walk, since I hadn't seen or explored this place yet, and went off the path and closer to the river.  My heart rate and thoughts slowed as I neared the water and took in some of its quiet and peace.  I saw a couple of interesting pieces of driftwood, but my pictures do them no justice whatsoever, so I'll try again another time.

After walking along the river a short time I sat down to just soak it in and be with it.  I'm trying to remember more often to stop anywhere, when I can, and be still in that place until I begin to see, with my eyes and my spirit, what is there.  After a few moments in this place, I realized a butterfly or moth was feeding nearby, or resting, or doing some contemplation of his own:

I was reminded of the birds in the air and the lilies in the field and of Psalm 23 and God's care for all of his creation.  I remembered that while I have a part in taking care of the various things that come my way, their ultimate fate, or essence, is not my responsibility, nor my worry.

On my walk back I was delighted to find St. Francis, carved by a local artist, blessing the day, the animals, my walk....The face looks a lot like one of my cousins, though, so that broke the mood a bit.  :)

And further down the road I found a great piece of art painted by students from a nearby grade school:

(They painted the word "Wichita" with a variety of faces looking through - here you can see the edge of the "c" and the "hita".)

Then I continued my walk in contemplative mode until my uncle tried to run me over with his truck.  Okay, we passed each other on the road and he pulled over to chat a minute, but first he swerved....

By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly.  For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry.  We shall get there some day."...

Christopher Robin...and Pooh...and Piglet and Roo...would lie down (on a bridge) and watch (the river)...and it slipped away very slowly, being in no hurry to get there....

Christopher Robin came down from the Forest to the bridge, feeling all sunny and careless, and just as if twice nineteen didn't matter a bit...and he thought that if he stood on the bottom rail of the bridge, and leant over, and watched the river slipping slowly away beneath him, then he would suddenly know everything that there was to be known....

From "In Which Pooh Invents a New Game and Eeyore Joins In" (The House at Pooh Corner) by A.A. Milne.  If you have never read this Poohsticks story, you simply must make the time to do so someday.  I have to include more:

"How did you fall in (the river) Eeyore?" asked Rabbit.

"I was BOUNCED," said Eeyore...."I was just thinking by the side of the river - thinking, if any of you know what that means, when I received a loud BOUNCE."

..."Are you sure you didn't slip?" asked Rabbit wisely.

"Of course I slipped.  If you're standing on the slippery bank of a river, and somebody BOUNCES you loudly from behind, you slip.  What did you think I did?"

..."But, Eeyore," said Pooh, "was it a Joke, or an Accident?  I mean - "

"I didn't stop to ask, Pooh.  Even at the very bottom of the river I didn't stop to say to myself, 'Is this a Hearty Joke, or is it the Merest Accident?'  I just floated to the surface, and said to myself, 'It's wet.'  If you know what I mean."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

but it was on SALE!

Ever had this conversation with yourself (or a significant other)?  I found myself arguing with myself this morning (except I didn't use "we"):

"Look at these labels I got!  Regularly $6, on sale for $1!"

"Do we need labels?"

"I don't know.  That's not the point.  They were on sale!"

"But why did you buy them if we don't need them?"

"You're not listening to me - they were on SALE!  I saved 83.333333%!"

"You would have saved 100% if you hadn't bought them."

"Aaagghh!  I'm sure I'll need them someday!  I'll find something to do with them!"  (I'm getting an idea right now....)  "Do you want me to take them back?"

"No, it's not worth the gas."

(Yay - I win!)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

joyful (and other) recent moments

Best sign:

These people got my attention; too bad I'm all stocked up on garbage.

(my) Best domestic efforts since...the 90's?
last night:  made dinner for 3!  actually cooked!  no one's ill!
today:  figured out how to tuck the longer panels of the curtains up so the room is lighter, and my changes don't look stupid!  (my uncle made me the "JOY" letters years ago - they've been a cherished reminder to welcome joy ever since)

Best rhyme:
Grandpa had whipped cream on lemon pudding instead of chocolate yesterday.  As I handed him the bowl, I said, "Here's your white on yellow."  "Quite a fellow!" he quipped back.  He is, indeed.

Biggest lesson:
As I tucked a big pillow behind Grandpa the other day in the recliner, I inadvertently pulled the back of his sweatshirt down too, which pulled the front of it against his neck.  "Aack!" he laughed.  "You're choking me!"  "Oops!  Sorry about that!"  Note to self:  don't strangle Grandpa.

Best sights:
Watching "Papa" (my uncle) stand behind and support his grandson as he walked on a pair of stilts for the first time.

This hand-cut design from China that a friend gave me:

Biggest celebration:
The rescue of the miners in Chile - what an amazing story.

"We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through all the time."
Thomas Merton

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

fun with grandpa this week

Grandpa told me a joke about a man who got false teeth and couldn't stop talking.  He went to the doctor and found out they were women's false teeth.  I picked up a pillow, and he took off his hat so he could get properly (but still gently) bopped!

Later a friend showed up with gifts for me and Gpa from her recent trip.  I got a candle holder with a heart cut out on one side.  The friend said, "It's because Kerri's got a big heart."  I turned to Gpa and said, "What'd you get, a mouth?"  He smiled and kept unwrapping his own present (a ceramic bowl; I was close).

He's getting more used to the beard, but it's still a bit strange for him.  Yesterday he mumbled something about it and I asked if it was bothering him, and he said not really, he just doesn't like how the hair flaps in and out when he breathes.  :)

I had a jacket on with the sleeves pushed up and I asked Grandpa to push up his own sleeves for his lotion med.  "Wanna' box?" he said.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

fun with grandpa and misc. - 10/07/10

This morning as Grandpa got settled into his chair and went through his usual routine, I handed him the newspaper.  "Well, how did you know what to do?" he teased.  "Don't sound so surprised!" I said, then started to walk away.  Grandpa laughed and pointed to his wrist - I had forgotten his watch.  "Okay, I guess you can be surprised."  I think he enjoys my mistakes way too much.

Grandpa was telling someone today about how he used to walk a lot, but couldn't do as much now.  "At least I move around more than Winnie the Pooh," he said, pointing to a stuffed Pooh in a small chair, both of which hold fond memories for him.  The visitor said, "Winnie's tied to the chair!" (otherwise he falls out).  "Oh yeah, no wonder...." Grandpa said.

Grandpa looked through one of his photo albums this morning, then later as I was clearing his lunch dishes he said, "You know what?  I'm spoiled."  "Why's that?" I said.  "See that album?" he said, pointing to a different one, "I can't remember what pictures are in it."  "Is that supposed to be a hint?" I asked.  Grandpa smiled a cat-that-caught-the-bird smile (how does that phrase go?) and said, "Yep."

Odd sight of the day:  a truck towing a wood chipper with "Bandit Industries" painted on the back and, right underneath that, a "CRIME STOPPERS" bumper sticker.

Monday, October 4, 2010

there's a doctor in the house!

Well, I guess I can't call him my "stupid" little brother anymore.  Little bro has just completed his doctorate with hard work and high praise on his dissertation defense!  Congratulations, Brad!  We are all bursting with pride and happiness for you!


I think this move to my aunt & uncle's house was my twenty-second - somewhere around there.  It sure doesn't get more fun with experience, but I still enjoy some of the unpacking and arranging things, especially my books.  Someone told me once I was a "nester" - taking time and care to arrange my space before I work or live in it.

I was born way into personality type A - anal retentive, uptight, things have to be just so, etc.  I'm a bit more balanced now, 'though I'm still exploring this new, type B territory (such as chilling out a bit too much and forgetting to pay my bills...).  As I packed for the 22nd time, however, it was interesting to see that I'm still type A in that regard.  As a result of that, I didn't have everything packed when it was time to move, and a relative, who's more of a type B packer, (or maybe he just wanted to get it over with) helped me out.  I noticed these differences in our styles:

Type A:  Like items must go in the same box
Type B:  Put box at edge of table or shelf and use arm to sweep anything and everything into box, or put box on floor and use hands like an excavator (I had to look up the name of that thingie) to pick up whatever is nearby and dump into box

Type A:  Every little space in the box must be filled; this means you need to spend time looking around and thinking about what would best fit in that space.  Try a few different things to see which has the best fit.
Type B:  Once stuff is in box, close it

Type A:  Everything has to be arranged in the box so that all of its space is used efficiently (therefore you can get more stuff in it); re-arrange things a few times if necessary
Type B:  see above

Type A:  Tape box shut
Type B:  see above

Type A:  Label boxes according to rooms they go in or items in box
Type B:  What's a label?

Fortunately, at that point in the moving process, I was just thankful for the help.  I thought many times about just packing what I wanted to take with me and then leaving a sign on the front door that said, "Free stuff - please take!"

One day I was loading stuff into my car (we stretched the move over several days and smaller loads - I discovered that I like that way a whole lot better than one move with a big truck).  During one trip from the car to the house I stopped, looked at the front of the house, and thought, something's different.  Then I realized my shepherd's crook/plant hanger thingie with the bird feeder hanging on it was missing.  I was going to leave it at the house anyway, so I didn't care about it being gone, but I was curious.  I walked closer to the spot to look for clues, but my love for Sherlock Holmes hasn't translated into practical use, and I learned nothing about the plant hanger.  What I did learn, however, was that the front of the house, the entire front of the house, was covered in faint black mold spots.  You can't see them until you get up close.  Top to bottom, side to side, the spots were everywhere - the house looked like it had polka dots.  I looked at the other sides of the house and found more mold spots.  I'd known there were small patches of mold inside the house, but they didn't seem to be growing so I didn't worry about them.  Suddenly seeing that my house had the moldy chicken pox was a shock, and now I'm really glad I'm not living there anymore.  I told my mom that if I stop acting weird, it must have been the mold.  (I hope I don't.)

The next day, I was unloading other stuff from my car into my new digs, using the door that goes from my room into the back yard.  I walked out of my room and was heading to the car when I stopped short: that shepherd's crook and bird feeder in my aunt & uncle's back yard looked awfully familiar....  Later, I asked my aunt about it and it turns out my uncle had grabbed it along with the other stuff he was loading into his truck one day.  I never would have thought to bring it along, but seeing it there touched and encouraged me.  Now I have a reminder here of the yard I loved and good times spent in that yard, and it's wonderful.  It's right outside my back door, and later that day I sat down on the back deck to rest and looked at the crook and feeder and the tree it was next to and spent some time just "being" in my gratitude for God and my family and friends' care for me.  (I believe the tree was like that when a & u moved in; I enjoy it as a reminder that it's good to be silly sometimes.)

My room here reminds me in many ways of my room on my 2008 retreat: one room with bed, desk, and chair (plus a bunch of other junk now), attached bathroom, living with others, (although there's the itty-bitty difference now of a man also living on the premises - oops, I mean a great big difference), etc.  I even have my tree outside my window, except instead of reminding me of protection and blessing, this tree reminds me to be happy and that all is well.

The last couple of days at my old house my cat friend Ozzy came by several times.  He was a welcome and comforting animal friend since the dogs were gone.  On the last day, he'd visited earlier but was gone as I made the final trips to the car.  When I was ready to go, I shut the door and as I was walking to my car Ozzy darted in front of me, seemingly out of nowhere.  As I drove away, I saw him sitting up straight in the driveway, as if he was seeing me off and wishing me well.  Happy mouse-hunting to you, my friend.


This morning I read Psalm 23, then my eyes glanced over to Ps. 25:9.  In the New Jerusalem version of this Psalm, the first words of each verse are capitalized, and instead of "judiciously" I read, "LUDICROUSLY he guides the humble, instructing the poor in his way."  I can't tell you whether or not I'm humble (that's sort of a catch-22), but even as I realized my mistake I thought, "Boy, that's for sure."  I get in God's way a lot, too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

awkward moment of the day

So I'm at the library looking at audiobooks.  I squat down to look at the ones on the bottom shelf, and one of those sudden, really powerful nose tickles attacks me out of the blue.  I swing my hand up to rub my nose so fast that I begin to wobble, then I started to sneeze.  Now, another thing they should have told us in high school is that when you get older you might pee a bit when you sneeze.  So I'm squatting, one hand on my nose, sneezing, and trying to cross my legs so I don't pee at the same time.  It didn't work.

Ollie has a family!

I called the humane society to check on Oliver, and he was adopted 2 weeks ago!  He is such a fun-loving sweetheart; I'm so glad he has new people.