Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Last Straw

The sparrows had a bit of disaster recently. Just since I took the picture of the nest on Sunday the bottom part of it fell away. They have been rebuilding ever since and today have achieved a nice replacement (in my opinion, but they will probably keep adding on). There are fresh oak leaves woven into the nest once again along with long grasses and whatever else has taken their fancy.

Mom and Dad are having their house re-painted. Nanny's husband Richard is doing it right now. He has been coming in the morning's after he finishes work and doing prep work and just this week started painting. From white to yellow. In the morning it is a nice pale yellow. When the sun hits it my husband says we will have to wear sunglasses. Looking good, though.

I rescheduled my foot doctor appointment to mid-July. I know he would just tell me to wear the boot a while longer as it is still sore. I have experimented by walking in the house without the boot after I got home from work the past two nights and know that I am not ready for unencumbered perambulation yet. VBS took its toll even with the wheelchair (but I loved every minute of it) and Independence Day is this coming week so there are popsicles to be made and trips up and down (down and up?) the basement steps to the freezer to freeze and store this year's concoctions. And there are still some VBS supplies over at Mom and Dad's that need to come home and be sorted and stored. So still lots of walking to do.

I miss walking without the scritch of velcro and the thump of the boot. Sometimes when I walk all I can hear is the soundtrack from Rocky Horror Picture Show when Tim Curry's character is coming down in the elevator tapping his foot or heel on the floor. That sound is what I hear when I walk - scritch, thump, scritch, thump ...

The foot is much better, though. I would say it has improved 90% from what it was when I first went to Dr. Le. I just have to be patient.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This Is the Lord's Day

At least we are starting out cool today. A pleasant morning for just sitting around and listening to the birds. I have a huge bird's nest on the drainpipe of my front porch. A robin started it last year and some sparrows have added to it immensely this year. I hear them squabbling out there often. Probably arguing with the chipmunks who also claim the front yard as their territory.

In the back yard there are nesters in the gourd birdhouse once again. I think it is Carolina Wrens. I haven't been able to get a really good look but they have the long beaks and tails that I remember from last year. Birds are also in the evergreens around the porch and garage. The birds and the chipmunks know how to tease the dogs. Sassy especially chases anything that gets into her yard. Chipmunks are living in the rock wall at the back and they sit on the sidewalk just waiting for Sassy to dash out the door then race her to the walls. They also dart down holes they have dug around the drainpipes. Sassy chases them to the holes then sticks her nose down after them. She jumps on the holes with her front feet in an effort to scare them out again. She has yet to win this year. I think there is a whole underground network of tunnels and they pop up and down at will just to frustrate her.

Sister Beth and I went shopping Friday afternoon for thank you gifts for VBS Co-Directors Darla and Jen and Crafts Director (me). We discovered a wonderful sale at the local Hallmark. Up to 75% off so we were able to get the three gifts including the gift bags and tissue for less than the price of one of the gifts if we had had to pay full price. I got to pick out this windchime for myself and would never have purchased it for myself at full price. It is a pair of binocs with two birds perched on them and another hanging below as the windcatcher. I hung it off the back porch but not enough breeze so far to make it tinkle. It has a nice, soothing sound to it. In the picture you can also see my owl sitter that Mom gave me several years ago.

I had hoped to go to church today as it is Rev. Jim's last Sunday with us, but the foot is really sore and the IBS is acting up, too. Nanny had hoped I would be able to make it to sing in the choir but IBS makes that extremely unlikely. Maybe I can make it for the dinner this evening.

Lord, thank you for cool breezes, bird song, morning sunshine and the senses to enjoy them all.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Galilee Final Day

Success! It's over for another year. A huge joy and let-down at the same time. So much time and energy went into preparation and then into the week of VBS itself. We had a good turnout for the final night and every child made at least one more sea shell necklace. I saw parents wearing them as well. Younger children who came with parents for the program were invited to make necklaces, too. Then the presentation and singing. It was wonderful. Jen made a slideshow with music from pictures taken all week and had that playing on Nanny's laptop after the program. Most of the kids sat right back down and sang along with the music and pictures. No one was in a hurry to leave.

Clean up didn't take too much time either. Jen had loaded no longer needed crafts supplies in her van before we started on Friday. We also stored the things that would be staying at church for next year's VBS and we were able to leave the boat and "seashore" in place along with "Piano Rock" and the Marketplace "window". Rev. Jim is being transferred and we are having a dinner for him on Sunday. He specifically requested that we leave the VBS decorations up so people could see them. It is supposed to be Italian theme so we will see what the people in charge of the dinner decide but it was his request.

Today is a day of rest - after I get all the craft tools and supplies that came home last night put away.

This, too, is a day the Lord has made.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Galilee Day 4

We had a few newcomers again tonight (we sometimes even get a new child the last night of VBS and never turn a child away) so more sea shell necklaces were made tonight. All the kids have expressed a definite interest in making more tomorrow night even though there is not supposed to be a craft on Friday night. But I'll search out more pony beads in the boxes of beads I have around the house to replenish the bead supply and let them string to their hearts' content. We still have dozens of shells with holes in them.

They finished their treasure chests when they first came in also. One of the newcomers was a little boy who was disappointed he couldn't make a treasure chest at first but once he got going on his shell necklace he was all smiles.

Stone carving was the featured craft tonight and it was a hit with all. We made our "stones" on Tuesday to give them time to harden somewhat and they were perfect tonight. I can't take credit for that. It stormed Tuesday, was sweltering Wednesday, and stormed again tonight after a pleasant day. But the combination seems to have been just right for setting the stones. Every child chose a different design to carve and really enjoyed the carving. We used dowel rods that I cut at 45 degree angles so there were rounded points on both ends for the carving tools. One of the helpers is really talented and chose one of the patterns I had printed out for inspiration and carved a flying dove. I sent her home with extra stones and high praise.

I like the more natural look of these "stones" rather than the square molded ones we almost did. The first batch we used molds but it didn't set so we poured it back in the mixing bowl and added more plaster and vermiculite to thicken it. The result was the rounded lumps of "stone" the kids got to carve.

Jen took a poll during snack time and asked the kids to name their favorite things about VBS. About half said the music and the other half said the crafts. Both are my favorites, too.

I had extra helpers tonight so was able to stay off the foot a bit more than last night. Still so wonderfully tired, though. When we left the church the sky was clearing after the storm and the sun was setting beyond the hills across the river. Jen took some awesome photographs and I hope she posts them for all to see.

Lord, I think we blessed some children tonight. Thank you for the spontaneous hug from little Vonn who said he just wanted to hug me. Thank you for all the children and seeing things anew through their eyes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Galilee Day 3

Another day done, praise the Lord! Oh, what fun we had tonight with the kids at VBS. They are all such eager darlings. When they came in they were invited into the craft area and they each made another sea shell necklace (or made their first one as we had 4 newcomers tonight). Beads were everywhere and several times I stopped them and had them each bend down and look around on the floor under their chairs for the "runaway beads" before someone (me) stepped on them. The only "struggle" we had for specific beads was between my younger sister and her daughter-in-law. After the kids had moved on to music Nanny and Kim were making their own necklaces and I heard Nanny telling Kim not to take any of "her" beads. I had to "threaten" to take all the beads away if they couldn't play nicely together. They each completed beautiful necklaces. The kids seem to love the music and were singing their hearts out for Jen during that session then sat quietly for the lesson time and then back to me for the next craft of the night - craft stick treasure boxes. I'll need to think long and hard about using colored craft sticks and glue again. I never thought the color would run and get all over hands. But we had wipies and no clothes catastrophes that I am aware of (not counting the glue on my shirt). The boxes didn't quite go as planned and we had some collapses before we got them all together, but I think they will be fine. Adults helped and we even had some slightly older children voluntarily helping younger ones without being asked. We plan on finishing the treasure chests tomorrow when the kids first come in by making the lids for the boxes. Then they will come back later for the planned craft - "stone" carving. That is the last craft as Friday is Pizza Night and the closing. Jen is putting together a slide show with music that we can have running Friday night to show the parents what went on all week. I wasn't in the wheelchair as much tonight and my foot is telling me about it. Sister Beth was on her feet more also and her poor knees are hurting her, too. But we keep on doing it. I can't imagine not doing VBS.

Lord, thank you for another day in service to you. Keep all the children safe from harm and let them enjoy their childhood.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Galilee Days 1 and 2

Galilee By The Sea VBS started last night. The "boot" has slowed me down in preparing the crafts etc so I took the day off work again fully intending to be at the church by 11 am. Made the "mistake" of calling my sister Beth to find out if she wanted to go also. Well, we left the house around 10 am for a quick stop at the dollar store and everything escalated from there. We went to the Goodwill store and found a number of decorative items that fit our scheme. I don't think we paid more than a dollar for anything. Then to Save-A-Lot for one of the big tubs they have to hold the water bottles for the kids (we started at Goodwill thinking there might be a tub at low cost and found all the other wonderful things instead). Then to the dollar store for more fish windsocks and salsa bowls (for grinding herbs and spices in). Then to WalMart where we got a better piece of cloth for the "sail" on our "boat) and then met Jen and her two youngest and had lunch at Subway. We got to church around 1:30. Jen had to leave with her youngest to go to the eye doctor to check on his eye abrasion at 2 pm.

Things moved slowly with the "boot" on my foot but we brought down a wheelchair from the upstairs storage room and I was able to use it to move around my crafting area when I could sit down. We still had yarmulkes to make and headscarves to cut out and craft materials to arrange. But when 6 pm came and the kids started coming in we were ready - more or less - thanks in part (a large part) to Jen's husband who threatened to deny it if I ever told anyone he was the one who sewed the yarmulkes.

We had a nice group for us - we are not a large church anymore and have very few children but we draw in local kids we see every VBS. Arrangements had been made for Rabbi Lowy to come and talk to the kids and adults. He was very interesting and held the kids' attention with small stories explaining how the Torah is written and what the Jewish holidays are and why they are celebrated. The kids even got the chance to try to blow the shofar and everyone got to spin the dreidels. I think the adults learned as much as the kids.

We did not even get to the craft the first night but I set it up so when the kids arrived on Day 2 they could come right in and start the craft without waiting around to see what they were supposed to do next. So we had kids and spices and potpourri and other scented items and little muslin bags as they were making their own scented sachets. Most of them put some of everything in their bags and they all smelled wonderful. We tied the bags closed and then attached hanging cords so they could wear the bags. We explained that people did not always have the deoderants we are familiar with today and often carried perfumed bags with them to mask the odors they encountered. The kids didn't really care. They just had fun with all the ingredients. I have a bowl of cinnamon mixed with I don't know what that I'll save for next year's VBS or maybe use to make applesauce ornaments to sell at the next fundraiser.

After lesson and singing they came back to me again for the planned craft of the night - seashell necklaces. They got to hunt for their shells in a large tub filled with sand and then strung their shells along with beads to make. Ages ranged from about 2 to 11 and beads were everywhere but they made some wonderful necklaces. They had so much fun a few of them almost didn't care about snack time. I plan on letting them come in and make another necklace tomorrow night before VBS, too.

I managed to stay in the wheelchair much of the time once VBS started both nights so my foot has been wonderfully unintrusive - until I get up and walk again. But it is still improving day by day and I hope to be free of the "boot" soon.

Tomorrow night is craft stick treasure boxes and Thursday night is stone carving. We made our own stones from plaster of Paris and vermiculite and I will try one out tomorrow to make sure it works as planned. If not, we have picture frames to decorate with shells and foam stickers.

It is a good tired I feel.
Thank you, Lord, for these opportunities.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another day ...

Wow, that last post was a downer. I didn't mean it that way but when I re-read it this morning the irony and dark humor just didn't seem to be there. So, cheer up! The world is wonderful and this is another day with more adventures awaiting each of us!

Lord, thank you for another chance to get it right. This is the day that the Lord has made.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What a day this has been ....

4:35 this morning hubby woke me up to say he was leaving early for work so he could stop at Wal-Mart and get some cough drops. He has been sneezing and coughing a few days now. I'm taking extra VitC to try to avoid whatever he has so I don't have it for VBS next week. He also told me the computer was still not right. That started yesterday afternoon when it froze while he was in his email. Then he could not get back online. The modem was just dead. Only the "standby" light was working. This morning still no modem and computer was not shutting down correctly.

I got up when he left and decided I would not go to work today. I have vacation hours that must be used before the end of June and decided to take some today. My back has been hurting for 2 days (Please, Lord, not the ever-so-ugly fibrositis raising its head again) and I had been planning on calling off anyway. I had thought I would spend the morning at least flat on my back trying to ease the pains. Instead I spent the morning at the computer.

When I booted the first time it refused to progress beyond the Windows XP screen. Had to shut down with the power button. After a couple tries I was able to boot to safe mode. Able to check out some utilities and to backup important files and irreplaceable photos, etc. Virus scan would not run in safe mode. So did a system restore. It wouldn't shut down so the restore did not take. Had to boot to safe mode again and do it all over. Seemed to work that time but the modem was still dead. So I called Comcast. Actually got thru fairly quickly. Solution - unplug the power cord, wait a few minutes, plug it back in, wait for the modem to reset itself. Ta Da! Everything seems to be working again. Back online. Able to open and close programs. Ran virus and PUP detection. Shut down and reboot good. Uploaded new photos from camera to computer. Printer working. Shut down and reboot in good time. Doesn't sound too bad when you put it down in writing but was a lot of frustration.

That was the morning and much of the afternoon. This evening it was back to church for more VBS preparation. We couldn't be in the fellowship hall as meeting taking place there. That is where VBS will take place for the most part. We were in the nursery with some craft and decorating supplies for most of the evening until meetings were over. Then out to the fellowship hall and moving tables and chairs around to get the craft area and registration area and food area set up. Only 4 of us there tonight - two of us using canes, my sister and I, she with bad knees and me with my "boot" - one who had carpal tunnel surgery just this past Monday and can't use her left arm - and Jen, who has more energy than I remember having in some time. Lots of talking and more planning and lots of admiring seashells we will be using for crafts and some work done.

10:30 before I get home. I decide to check out the computer again and end up here making this post. At least it is working.

Lord, give me strength for all I have to do and the time to do it in.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Resting the foot after the ordeal on Friday. It's not too bad but I am aware of every step. Does not look good for walking around during VBS in a week. Still need so many supplies and things to do. But it will all work out. It always does.

So I'm sitting in my chair with my beads in my lap making dragonflys. Here are some results.

These are an improvement over the first ones I made. The hardest part is choosing which beads to combine. I have decided not to use the red plastic. It just doesn't work right. But the shimmery look of the cellophane is just perfect for dragonfly wings. And the more crinkled it is the better.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Men and Cars

My husband is definitely a man. When he left for work Friday morning I thought the car sounded a little "off" but he was the one driving and he went on his merry (okay, not so merry) way. That was 5 a.m. At about 5:40 a.m. he called. Something was wrong with his car and he was going to need me to come get him after work. Too dark to see what was wrong but there was water coming out from under the car. At least he made it to work and was in the parking lot there. Fridays he gets off work a little early (usual time is 2:30 p.m.). I wait until after 7 a.m. and call my sister to find out where her husband will be later in the day in case we need help. Nanny says Richard will be home around 4 p.m. but they have camping reservations for the weekend. I assure her we will only ask if there is genuine need.

So when I went into work I told my boss and others that I would be leaving early (not a bad thing) but would not know what time until my hubby called me. I have excess vacation hours that I need to take before the end of June anyway as they won't carry over to the new fiscal year so there was no way my boss was going to say I could not leave and he wouldn't anyway. Family comes first. So Joe calls and says he should be out of work by 1:30 or 2:00. Problem seems to be the water pump. It's leaking and water getting on the belt is making it slip and the alternator is not charging. He wants me to come and either bring him home or follow him as he drives his car home. It only seems to leak when it sits still? I call Jen and let her know what is going on so another person knows and she is helping check on Mom while Dad is out of town (These things have always happened - since I was a child - when Dad is out of town). I leave work at 1:30 (my darn work ethic still made me wait to take care of the mail so no one else had to deal with it).

Home to fill up water jugs and load them into my car. Remember, I'm wearing this medical boot on my left foot and steps are a real problem right now. Our house is elevated from the street. There are at least 12 steps to negotiate from the street to the porch. So I figure out I can use the empty plastic pop and tea bottles I have been saving in anticipation of creating "fish" for VBS decorations. Thank goodness I saved the lids, too. Fill the bottles, load them in a box, use a luggage trolley to roll across the sidewalk from our house to Mom and Dad's where I parked my car instead of on the street and load the car. No steps that way. Just a straight shot out the back door and down the sidewalk across the lot between our houses. Three times. I have at least 15 gallons of water in the car including a 5 gallon jug that I hauled up from the basement one step at a time. Then back and forth once more to put the dogs back in the house and get my purse and cane and a few towels and some cold drinks in case we need them. (You think we're going to drink the water I put in the car?)

By the time I get to Joe it is nearly 3 p.m. He pours water in the radiator and reservoir. We watch it flow out but the leak slows (the water ran out, duh) and he drives around the parking lot. He thinks it is okay but I'm watching the trail of water he leaves behind him. He doesn't see it until I make him look. He parks the car again and says he wants to get some Stop Leak so we drive to a truck/car service center because the local Wal-Mart does not carry Stop Leak for radiators - just for oil. Then back to the car and re-read the directions and pour it in, add water, run the engine, and watch the water and Stop Leak flow out from underneath. But the leak slows (of course it does, the water ran out!) and he decides to try again. He drives around the parking lot and this time there is no water trail and the engine never overheats. He debates the best way to drive home - I70 to 470 and Rt 2 or over the hill top and all the twisty turns but no stop lights (remember, he says it only leaks standing still). I gently suggest more traffic means more help if something goes wrong and wider roads mean more places to pull over. He still has not decided which way to go when we leave the parking lot.

But off we go to I70 and almost make it to Rt 2 after climbing and descending I470 (Bethlehem) hill. Halfway down he pulls off on the exit ramp and looks under the hood and says the belt that was getting wet from the water is no longer there.

We debate what to do.

I drive to my sister's house and get there just as the big storm that has been predicted all day finally arrives. Just rain at first and I sit on the porch for a while as I got there before she or her husband got home from work. They are leaving to go camping so I don't know what they will be able to do but at least there is a phone. The storm gets windy and thank goodness I have a key so I go inside to be met by Peaches the dog who is terrified of storms and so glad someone, anyone, is there. She follows every step I take. I call Nanny at work and let her know where I am and why and she says Richard will be home soon. I also call Jen and Mom and let them know where I am.

The storm continues. Hubby is sitting in a broken down car along the interstate during all this wind, rain, lightning and thunder. I am sitting with a dog plastered to my feet.

Richard comes home about 4:30 and says the best thing to do (which was my opinion all along) is to call a tow truck. I call the car repair shop (we are almost on a first name basis with this car) and they recommend a towing company and I call them. It will be a half hour before someone can be dispatched. I go back to hubby sitting on the exit ramp. We wait. We wait. We wait. An hour and a half later the tow truck shows up. Dispatcher sent him to the wrong place. It's still raining.

Finally we get the car towed to the repair shop following the tow truck through the rain. We get home over 5 hours after I left work. Then I cook supper.

Men and cars.

Thank God we are all safe, though.

And this morning the day lilies started blooming.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Canes and Gems

Jen made me the most beautiful Cane Bracelet for the cane My Dear Sister got for me. She came to work the other day with the finished bracelet and put it on for me and I have had several compliments on it just in the office. It certainly makes keeping track of the cane easier, too. Jen is inspired by beads and gems. I love looking at the slide show on her blog Dreams, Gems, and Family. Pictures of my Cane Bracelet are there, too.

Finally got a trellis under the rose arching over the back sidewalk. Since I can't get down on the ground to put the new arbor together I imposed upon my hubby to move the existing metal garden arch from the front gate to the back porch. A huge task consisting of pulling it out of the ground (I did that) and walking it to the new location (he did that) and pushing it into the ground (I did that) and positioning the rose over the arch (I did that). He was proud of himself, though. The last light rain we had really weighed the roses down and we are supposed to have a chance of rain tonight. I did not want to take the chance the rose would be damaged by having no support. Someday there will be a new trellis in both locations. But for now, the rose has support and the white arch looks nice there. The roses are fading but the stem is still so full of them its beautiful.

I had a comment from a lady in Australia on one of my posts and have been trying to view her blog with no success. I get to the page but all that appears for the blog is white space. Maybe she has it marked private? or is there someother reason I can't see it? She said my pictures look a lot like her area also. I often think of other places as exotic and West Virginia as mundane and then something happens that makes me open my mind and my eyes again and see the whole world as wonderfully connected and interdependent. How can we not take care of this world God has given us? It's not like we could move somewhere else and forget about the mess.

Monday, June 4, 2007

More Spiders Coming

I went the the VBS bake sale and church White Elephant sale on Saturday. It was a slow start but things picked up once the bank and post office opened. I took 13 Christmas Spiders, some Angel Feather ornaments, Dragonflys, and the Mosaic Suncatchers I made from left-over supplies after last year's VBS. I worried I had priced the spiders too high but when I left just after 11 AM there were only 4 left and the sale was to run until 4 PM. Many of those who bought the spiders said they were interested in more in different colors (a few asked for "guy" colors) and wanted to know if I would have more around the holidays. The answer was "Yes" of course.

So when I got home and had to rest the foot (I think I went up and down the wide shallow steps to the Fellowship Hall about a dozen times and then stood on that hard concrete floor to look at the White Elephant items), I sat in my chair with my foot propped up and made spiders. I also had to sit much of yesterday afternoon since hubby and I went grocery shopping late on Saturday (I have to admit I love Wal-Mart 24 hours). I also bought more beads along with the groceries. I now have more spiders than before I took the 13 to the sale. And more to make so I have enough to sell for more VBS funds and to give myself at Christmas.
And Jenny is making a cane bracelet for me! She had beads picked out and I didn't know so when I was looking at beads for spiders I found some that coordinated with my blue cane (that my dear sister bought for me) and went ahead and bought the beads. I'll send them to Jen but I trust her inspiration and will love whatever she uses to make my cane bracelet.
I keep thinking up new combinations for the spiders. Grandma's beads and my "unique" beads are conspiring to keep me going on these.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Last Place You Look ...

Rummage sale, bake sale, white elephant sale, VBS fund raiser ... all the same thing tomorrow. All week I have been looking for my container of unique beads to make some beaded dragonflys for the sale. Finally found it this morning in the box it should have been in but I did not think I had put it back there. Have made a few dragonflys using the pearls and beads I had available. Not happy with them yet as there is not enough "shimmer" to them. Using cellophane for the wings and I like that. Found it as "wedding netting" at the dollar store. Only the one color but it reflects multicolor. That really shows up in the photograph but is not quite so bold in reality. The red wings are from a basket "gift bag" and are not quite right yet. Have to be careful with that material as it stretches a little and the color fades. Tonight I will have to fold the boxes for the Christmas Spiders and try a few more dragonflys.

I want to go to the sale tomorrow but not sure if it will work out. I've done more walking than I should have this week and my foot is aching. Still, I can sit down at the sale and I'm sure Mom and others will bring me things to look at and say I should buy.