Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nothing like a good night's sleep

In an in between season such as now, when there is no distracting off and on hum from either heating or air conditioning, sleeping - for me - is so much better. Then when the cool of the morning comes and I am covered by the right weight of blankets, I just want to peacefully stay in bed. Sleeping well is one of those essentials for a healthy life. This week I talked with a patient whose main problem was, "I ain't sleeping." In fact a study (polysomnography) showed that he had true insomnia, and it was causing him all sorts of problems. Aging changes the way we sleep. Teenagers sleep hard and long, but apparently the body-brain-sleep connection changes through the years. When I worked night shift on a geriatric unit, the old folks would get up and down during the night several times, and by the time they woke up at the crack of dawn, to my surprise they would say how well they slept. As for me, even though it has been many years since my teenaged brain determined my sleep, I really look forward to bedtime in the early fall.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yet another . . .

They are such cool creatures. This one is eating a tiny purple flower from a coleus. I watched it put its front legs around the flower and munch. By the way, he was perpendicular on the stem so I changed the orientation of the pic for a better look.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Using the Apples

Following a crock pot recipe, I have made a batch of apple butter, my first, and it is really quite good. I also cooked some applesauce and used it (to replace most of the oil) in two loaves of apple bread along with fresh grated apples. Some thick slices are going in the freezer to be enjoyed later with the morning coffee. And I baked a small apple pie. Now I have only these apples left in the half bushel bag. Store bought apples can stay good for a long time, but freshly picked apples need to be used right away. I suppose I should have shared, but it was rainy, and my kitchen partially works, so just baked away. I wonder what Stuart and Paige are doing with their half.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Innersprings Church

Not every Sunday finds me in a real church pew. Sometimes it is - as I have heard it called - the Church of the Innersprings that I attend. This was one of those stay at home mornings. Church starts with Charles Stanley who is a wonderful teacher of the Bible. When he finishes, I switch to the channel that carries the church I attended in Spartanburg for seven years. I enjoy the good music and look for familiar faces in the choir, and then I settle in for the message from the Australian pastor. Sometimes I feel a little lazy doing church this way, especially when I remember from somewhere in my distant past, one reason to go to church is to show which side you are on. But there are many who are not physically able to get out and go to church, and these televised services mean Sunday church to them. Just as it does to me when I am lazy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apple Farm Field Trip

On this hot and sunny afternoon, I met Stuart and children up the road at Nivens Apple Farm. It was bustling with activity, people walking through the sorghum maze, picknickers under shady areas, and boys and girls bouncing on big inner tubes. The open air market was offering samples of apple cider, and big boxes held interesting vegetables or pumpkins that went from enormous down to tiny. We walked through the orchard and picked Fuji and pink lady apples, a full bushel to be exact, and Jacob bit into a few to give his opinion on which were the best. Stuart lifted John on his shoulders so he could pick some up high. It was all fun, but now I am going to have to figure out what to do with all those apples!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friendly Arms for Climbing

In my front yard is an ordinary dogwood tree, but it seems to be popular with my grandchildren. Once Ashley showed me some of the stories she had written for school, and among them was one titled "My Favorite Tree." I was surprised that it happened to be Grandmommy's dogwood. Ruby and Wyatt like it, too, and when they came yesterday, they were soon climbing in the slender but strong, wide spreading limbs. This morning they were back in it so of course I took some pictures.

Monday, September 20, 2010

As the World Turns

Last week CBS killed off one of its stalwarts, the old soap opera As the World Turns. I was one who watched it, but it was long ago. I was there in the sixties when Lisa was a bad girl and when she married Bob and then John and then the next guy. I watched the babies go from birth to troubled teens in mysteriously few years. Soaps were addictive. They were planned to be. The end of one show would have us viewers anxiously awaiting the next day's episode. Then that show would just add to its complex and distorted human stories so we would have to hang on til the following day, and on and on and on it went. At some point in the early seventies, I got a grip and realized the soaps were playing too large a role in my life and stopped cold turkey, but while I watched, I was into them. I suppose I started with the CBS soaps because of my grandmother. The midday ones of Guiding Light and Search for Tomorrow were never missed, but when The Edge of Night started, that became her favorite, and mine, too of course. When I visited we couldn't wait until 4 o'clock when the drama came on. It did not have the longevity that ATWT did and its demise came early. Several years after I gave up soaps, I became a nurse, and then I heard stories that would make any fictional story pale in comparison. And I remember a co-worker from the eighties who would mutter under her breath " the world turns" when we were in the middle of a lot of craziness. I suppose it is a decent phrase that implies the consternation and acceptance of life on earth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Next year...

...I will have a butterfly bush of my own. Lots of these tiger swallowtail butterflies have flitted through my yard, but apparently I don't have anything that makes them want to stay. However my neighbor does - a huge butterfly bush filled with purple flowers. I stole a picture. No macro lens needed for these giant beauties.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kitchen Progress

It's been over three weeks since the kitchen renovation began, and even though not having a kitchen has its benefits, it will get finished. Two of the three biggies have been done. The new white cabinets are hung and filled back up, and the beautiful floor is down and sealed. I just love the feel of it under my bare feet. Today I went to choose the countertop. I followed the advice of many and decided on granite. Here are some of the slabs at the place. Mother Nature does some gorgeous work, but you have to see it up close. I chose a black.I will have to wait til it gets in to see what to do next, which will probably be selecting the backsplash. I'm sure that some people can plan ahead better than I, but doing it a step at a time seems to be the way my brain works. One of these days I will be slaving away in a pretty new kitchen, my nice no-cooking days behind me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

lunch and such

Like the kids tops that read "My grandma went to Florida and all she brought me was this T shirt," all I have to show for my busy few days is this picture of some veggie pad Thai noodles. However I do love them, and this dish at an Asheville restaurant was delicious. It's been fun to have company. I enjoyed the liveliness around the house. And I admit that not having a fully functioning kitchen has made it easier on me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One activity on a busy day

Raymond's sister and brother-in-law from Massachusetts are here now. I always enjoy being with them. Today we went to the BMW plant, one of the cool things to do in the Greenville area. We took the three o'clock tour around the facility today and saw the X3, X5, and X6s being assembled start to finish. Very interesting.....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Verse

How many are your works O Lord. In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Psalm 104:24

Saturday, September 11, 2010


On this day nine years ago, we were leaving Orlando and heard from Sally on the phone about the first attack. We tuned into the radio and kept up with the news for the long drive back. The words I kept repeating were, "This is the worst thing that has happened to America in my lifetime." I wondered if we would make it home and if there would be other attacks. Raymond, the soldier, knew instinctively what was going on. At each place we stopped, numbed people were gathered around small televisions watching the news over and over in disbelief. We knew someone terribly hated us. That is part of my memory of the day. We all remember and have a story to tell about it. But what have we - the 200 million of us who can vote - learned? On that day in 2001 and for weeks afterward, we were comforted by the strength and leadership of our American president and the American mayor. We were united for a while against a common enemy. We know the enemy is still out there, but now I wonder...are we on the verge of handing them the keys to the city?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Don't postpone the inevitable

Going back to work after of a long four months of retirement has been good...and different. There are no more long hours of standing or maintaining safety on a unit. Now it is more about seeing that the people who need the help we offer get it. There are a lot of tragic stories out there, and I feel bad for the people who have lived the stories, but it is not depressing to me. I just try to see what I can do to help them in the moment, and then I try to get them to what will help them in the longer run. Sometimes, today for example, I will see a person who has kept her grief or anger within her for many years. I guess people mistakenly think it is good to "be strong" or not to bother others with their problems, but for the most part, it ends up like a handicap. The healthier way is to take the time and pass through the deep emotional waters as soon as possible. Life works better that way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life around a Hospital

It is no wonder so many television dramas (and a few comedies) have been centered around hospitals. They are full of interesting stories. On this sunny day as I walked out through the dining room and lobby of the main hospital and up the sidewalk that goes to my smaller building, I passed worried faces, intense looking physicians in white coats, a patient in a hospital gown pushing his IV pole, an old tan sedan dropping off a tired visitor, and employees with purposeful quick steps greeting one another. And I thought of all that takes place on a medical center campus. Life begins and ends here. There is healing and helping. It is filled with strong emotions such as grief, frustration, anger, relief, gratitude, helplessness and happiness.

It is no wonder that family members of the patients settle in well. The grounds are nicely maintained with mature shade trees. Common areas inside are clean, organized and well decorated, a respite from the dwellings of the poorer patients. Peaceful art hangs on the walls, and in our hospital lobby quiet yet familiar tunes come from a player piano, a grand piano no less. Around the clock prepared food is easily available for anyone who is willing to pay the small fee.

It is no wonder that someone, especially a people person, would like to work in a hospital. It is stimulating and challenging giving us an opportunity to flex our mental muscles and sometimes the physical ones, too. It is an opportunity to be part of teams that lend themselves to supportive friendships. Employees from various socio-cultural and educational levels work at their own distinct jobs to make it all happen. (No wonder medical care is expensive.) And to top it off, we get paid to be a part of the drama.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Like Raising Children

I have just come in from planting two perennials - a penstamon and a hyssop - that bees were enjoying at Lowe's. There is never a time when I dig in the dirt that I fail to think of how plants are so much like people. This time I was reminded of rearing children, how we must provide the kind of home in which their roots can develop and in which they can grow strong. The gardener must have some knowledge as to what the plants need. Then we prepare the soil - the environment - by digging deep and loosening the soil that will go around them. We must water the new plant frequently at first, but then we start to watch over the plant and see when watering is needed. We don't over water (over nurture) because if we do they become soft and their roots will not learn to go deep and they will rot, and if we water too little (under nurture) the plant will soon perish. When they get bigger, we may have to prune them or correct the way they are going. And if we take care of them well, they reward us by their nice blooms or fruit. My two new plants probably weren't planted in the best season, but if I watch over them, water as needed, keep the weeds away, and cover them with some mulch (a warm blanket or prayers), they may be healthy plants next summer and attract some pretty bees and butterflies to my yard.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Verse

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.

Martin Luther

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The End

Finally I have come to the end of Pillars of the Earth. It was not so spellbinding that I had to hurry through, so I took my time, reading every word of the almost thousand page saga. There were a lot of important characters, both good and evil, and toward the end every person's story was resolved and complete so the reader wasn’t left hanging. I appreciated that. It took place during a lawless time in twelfth century England and was no doubt impeccably researched by Mr. Follett and company. I made it a learning experience and frequently used Wikipedia to look up unfamiliar words such as plinth, Whitsun, and oriel. I saw how English names such as Mason, Merchant, Mercer, Baker, Butler and Tanner originated from trades and Jackson from Jack’s son. I read about life in monasteries, the influence of the church, and the vision and passion of a few men who were dedicated to designing and building a beautiful cathedral, no matter how long it would take. At the end I learned about Thomas Becket’s awful death. Now this historical novel, paperback edition, is ready to be passed on to another reader. Peter, that's you.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tiny butterfly

Its tail was all aflutter, but that's about all I could tell until the macro lens revealed its cuteness. I think it is a red banded hairstreak.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Healing Thing

About once a year I go for a massage. Today was that day, and I spent an hour and a half on Fritz's massage table while he rubbed and pushed and pressed and just about killed me at times, but I knew it was for my own good. I am not an expert but I don't believe there could be a better massage therapist anywhere in the world. He is so knowlegeable about the human body and loves what he does, and I feel fortunate that I can be one of his clients. The positive results stay with me for months. Today I left feeling looser and lighter, and I promised myself to go more often. Now I am relaxed, maybe a little too much. He said that this evening he and some other massage therapists are going to Clemson to work on the football players. I hope for a win this weekend.