Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bad, Bad, Bad Blogger

I seriously wrote last on July 4? It was a bad sign when I was reading my daughter's blog from Australia and I realized Oh yeah, I have a blog too and proceeded to link to it from there. So no one really wants to read blogs about not having blogged and why, but I guess I'll do it anyway and move on. It will be good therapy.

I've been a caregiver for my mother-in-law since last spring, along with my sister-in-law, my husband to the extent he can, and in time there was also a person we hired during the day. Kelly (the caregiver, not my daughter..we call her Nurse Kelly) was a lifesaver to me. Not only did she help care for my mother-in-law, but she helped care for me as well. I'm not going into everything about being a caregiver because it is very hard and it is very depressing, and I grieved in a lot of ways; at the same time it is a blessing to be privileged to care for someone that way (and only a caregiver would understand what I mean by all of that.) The feelings are illogical but they are real. About a month ago, my mother-in-law had another stroke (her third I believe in the past eight years or so) and she has been in rehab since then. She is at our house today as I write, sleeping in her recliner behind me. She is very weak. We can barely get her to take a step or try to move. She is also very noncommunicative. Her speech was impacted. I can't imagine her recovering to where she was before the stroke, and she needs to show some substantial improvement to be back here in her home. I of course have mixed feelings about that. She's 89. She deserves to do what she wants, and if that means she just wants to eat and sleep, then she should be allowed to do that, but I don't think it will happen here, because there is a lot of heavy duty care involved in getting her to move about. 'Nuff said. God is good and I know he will take care of her and me and everyone. It has been a tough time on me emotionally...I was going through my own level of depression from the loss of my freedom, and started seeing myself from the outside in..and I had lost my positive nature and my smiling face. I'm trying to get it back. I'm trying to prepare myself for the possibility she could come back too, and I'm determined to be ok with it. The whole process is one of evolution.

I'm also only take one class next semester.

Right now I cannot wait for Thanksgiving. Mary will be home from Australia and I miss her so much. I'm just holding my breath until she is safely back home and I get to hug her. Her term there has been amazing. I can't wait to have my family and good friends (who are a part of the family) Kathy and Joe, around me on that special day. I have so much to be thankful for, so I keep mentally smacking myself and reminding myself of that. How dare I be depressed about anything in my life.

What perked me up a lot was my good friend Debbie who visited from Chicago Friday night and Saturday. Together we had a glass of wine and talked about good times. Where do the years go? Her little boys and my little girls are almost all grown up; it seems just like yesterday they were running down the backyards, playing dress up, running through a sprinkler; and Ed and I might be found sitting in their hot tub on New Year's Eve with icicles hanging from the ends of our hair. Debbie and I spent some of Friday evening and most of Saturday (with Ed's help..thank you!) boxing up packages of supplies to be sent to her nephew in Afghanistan and my school's secretary's nephew (also serving in Afghanistan). As I said, I have NOTHING to be sad about when I think of what it is like for them in that desolate place and for their families left behind at home. I watched Mrs. Miniver on T.V. last night...surprisingly I've never watched it since I am a major old movie fan...and it brought home the same idea, only the story took place in England during WWII.

That's it for now. I'll try to catch up and get back in the swing. I wish I could have kept writing through the past few months. I know it would have helped me a lot; but I literally have spent every waking moment on the computer doing work for my classroom or work for my classes...and there are just some things you can't blog about anyway.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It Will Happen To You

When we got home from church today, it went something like this:

Me: I need to run to the store for a couple of things I forgot.

Ed: When you go, would you pick up some hand soap refill? You's on the hand soap aisle.

Me: REEEAALLLYYY? WOW! They keep the hand soap on a hand soap aisle? Gee, someone is really thinking.

Ed: (now sheepishly grinning) Yeah, isn't it amazing how they do that?

After the trip to the store and at lunch time, I prepared a sandwich for his mother and asked him if he wanted one. He said maybe half. I said ok, if his mother only wants half (which she usually does) he could have the other half. I made the sandwich, delivered her half, and told him his half was ready. He came to sit down and there was more conversation.

Ed: (lifting up the top piece of bread) What's on this sandwich?

Me: (perplexed..I mean look at it) Well, it has lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese....(I stopped to look at him lifting the bread)...oh...I forgot the meat. Your mother just ate a cheese sandwich not a turkey and cheese sandwich (and the turkey was still sitting on the kitchen counter...I just had forgotten to put it on). She must not have noticed or I would have heard about it.

Ed: Uh, now you might be able to understand why I was explaining to you where you could find the hand soap.

Me: Ok, you got me...this time.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Pain of Motherhood never really goes away..the pain of motherhood. And I'm not talking about giving birth. I'm talking about doing what you as a mother are supposed to do..let go. I appear to be good at it, but I don't know. I have to be brave, but I wonder how much of it is a facade.

There's a tightness in my belly, an ache around my heart, and a tear in my eye. My youngest, Mary, is leaving the country. I've been through this before, but not for such a long journey and for such a long time. She is going to Australia to study abroad for a term via DePaul University. She will be housed at a university outside of Melbourne. I know it will be wonderful. I know she will work hard, and I know she will have fun. Kelly (daughter number 2) studied abroad in Ireland...I went through it then.

I really should be able to get used to this. The first occasion was dropping the first born (which is always the hardest because it is freshest for you as a parent) (at only eighteen years old!) in New York City. But somehow, it never gets any easier.

So whenever I hear a young mother talking about labor (as I also did), I just smile, nod, and think to myself....just you wait.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I can picture myself at the meeting. It would go something like this.

Me: Hi, I'm Lisa and I'm a....bookaholic.

Everyone: Hi Lisa.

It's true. As with most addictions I choose to ignore it, just hope it will go away and then the desire hits me again; like yesterday when I was driving through a county seat, a small town of an adjacent know...the kind with a court house square, charming, to have lunch with a friend. It was only a small storefront, but they had one of those easel type sidewalk signs, plus the windows were painted advertising a sale...20% off all children's. That did it.

Yes, I did it. I bought books. At least I only spent around $6.00, and they weren't even children's, and they were paperbacks, and they weren't antiquarian (love that word) or rare.

No. 1: 84 Charring Cross Road (didn't even know it was a book and didn't know it was true)...wonderful. The movie is great. See it if you haven't. I happened upon it because I love Anthony Hopkins, and of course Ann Bancroft is fabulous......and OF's a sort of love story between a writer and someone who.....I won't tell you....just see it and you'll understand why. I can't say more. The thought of it is making me have the urge again.

No. 2: Boy. This one is a memoir written by Roald Dahl.

I'm worried. Not only does this addiction continue, but lately I've been buying books about books and books about writing books, and books about bookstores and books about libraries.

As I wrote my check, I asked the owner if he wanted my driver's license. His reply was "No thanks, I already have one." Then he asked me if I had seen the movie (84 Charring Cross Road) and purged all sorts of information about it; followed by more information about Roald Dahl which was that he died not long ago (I knew that) and that he had been married (at least at one time) to the actress Patricia Neal (I didn't know that). In my mind I gasped..."He's an addict too. And he WORKS can he manage?" At one time while browsing I realized I didn't have cash, only a credit/debit card or a checkbook, so I asked what they took, and all he said was "We'll do just about anything to sell a book." and left it at that. I didn't know exactly what that meant...would he trade for my watch, some earrings, some velamints?

Just for today........

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Summer didn't officially begin until June 21 so I'm looking at my summer that way. From a teacher perspective, I guess we are close to half way through.

It hasn't felt like summer because of the chaos around me..which I actually am learning to appreciate. It takes my mind off of other things. Here is how it has gone.

1. We traveled to NJ the weekend after school let out to attend a family wedding.
2. Daughter No. 2 stayed behind in NYC with Daughter No. 1 to drive back with her. She moved home and will be teaching in Indianapolis. After they returned, a truck arrived a couple of days later and Daughter No. 1's stuff was unloaded into one of our three garage bays. Another of the three garage bays was already full of my mother-in-law's furnishings. So currently, we can only actually park in one spot.
3. Daughter No. 4 was at the wedding, but had to fly back to Chicago where she goes to school. Daughter No. 1, after arriving home on Wednesday, left on Friday to pick up Daughter No. 4, with a van load of HER stuff, which also was unloaded into the garage.
4. Daughter No. 2, who had recently closed on the purchase of a home, went that same weekend and picked up a UHaul and drove it into our driveway to take some of her grandmother's furnishings and Daughter No. 1's furnishings to use in her new home.
5. Daughter No. 1 began induction at Marian University the following week, repacked what she needed, and drove to Chicago for Teach for America training and to teach summer school in Chicago.
6. Daughter No. 2 is still organizing, painting, and cleaning at her new home, and I haven't had a chance to help her except for one day. I'm hoping to get back this week and next.
7. Daughter No 4. is getting ready to leave for Australia on Thursday, so this week has consisted of me helping her buy some things she needs in the way of clothing, make sure her communication devices are ready and planned, that financially she is set, etc.
8. Oh, Daughter No. 3 is around, but is working and spending quite a bit of time with her boyfriend; but her life is the most calm and normal at the moment. She is taking a class for the 2nd summer session. She lives at home...most of the time.
9. Oh, did I mention there is sort of a Daughter No. 5? This is a friend of Daughter No. 3 who needed a place to live until she gets married next spring. We offered. She was living with her sister, but her sister's husband is being relocated. Don't ask me about her parents. I don't really know the situation, but apparently they don't do a lot to support her financially or otherwise. I have to admire this young woman, as she works full time, goes to school, and has been on her own for awhile. When the idea came up for her to live here, I thought why not? What's another person in this house? I just told her as long as she lives here, she needs to let me know if she isn't going to be home (same rule of thumb for my other daughters) so I won't worry about her.
10. As soon as Daughter No. 1 finishes her summer in Chicago she will be hired and working for a school in Indianapolis teaching secondary English. She plans on living at home until she decides what to do. I don't think it will take long for her to decide she can't function here, and I don't blame her, so she'll probably find a place of her own. TFA is a two-year commitment, so I am relishing the idea that she will be nearby for the first time in several years.
11. My mother-in-law lives here and has a caregiver who comes daily until at least 3:30 or so (sometimes longer when available), but then in the evening I need to be here, or my sister-in-law comes over.
12. I'm trying to have a garage sale in a couple of weeks to empty the house of all the stuff it has accumulated, or at least as much as I can gather. We've only lived here five and a half years but somehow the house has filled up. I still have a lot of kid stuff in the attic although we did dispose of a lot of things before we moved here. There is some kid stuff I will hang onto for grandchildren one day (I can hope), like the little rocking chairs they used, etc.
13. I am presenting in the fall at an education conference and need to start on that.
14. I am changing my curriculum and need to do a little planning on that.
15. I attended a three day workshop on reading comprehension.
16. Ed and I were to travel to Michigan with some older friends who don't travel well alone. Our friend is in the hospital and will not be able to go. We've been worrying about him. Our friend had brain surgery and is going to be in rehab once he gets out of the hospital to get his strength back. Ed and I changed the reservation to a one bedroom condo (fortunately there was ONE available) and are still planning on traveling to upper Michigan in a couple of weeks). I'm VERY sorry they won't be able to make it with us, but also looking forward to getting away. We both need it. We've never been to Charlevoix and hear the area is beautiful. Ed's sister will be flying in from Taos, New Mexico, to spend the week with her mother here.
17. I've been trying to get all my dentist/doctor appointments done over the summer as well...mine and some of the daughters.
18. Oh, and in the midst of all this, Daughter No. 1 had a graduation party (she did most of the work and was delicious..she's a great cook) on a Saturday; also Daughter No. 4 had an "I'm going to Australia and won't see you for awhile" party (for which "I" did most of the preparation...which means I bought everything to avoid cooking except for throwing burgers (frozen patties) and hot dogs on the grill. That happened the following Friday. And I also had a gathering on a Sunday to celebrate Father's day, my father's birthday, a brother's birthday, a brother-in-law's birthday all at once.

In a nutshell (I know that's much more than a nutshell) that is what my summer has been like so far. I haven't read a single summer read yet, but I'm working on it. I usually read at least 10 novels.

I don't know what all this sounds like to someone who might be reading it, but it is not a vehicle for whining or complaining. I actually thrive in this atmosphere...well, as long as I can see the end in sight. I find I do much better caring for my mother-in-law with chaos around me. I had four children. I'm used to chaos. Don't let anyone tell you it goes away once they graduate from high school, or even college.

Right now I'm going to go have lunch with a good friend at her house and look at her beautiful garden. That's a start, an attempt at actually doing something that feels like summer.


I'm going to make an attempt to return to my writing. I'm a teacher on summer break, but it hasn't felt much like summer break. My husband and I continue to care for his mother. We've adjusted. That doesn't mean I haven't had, and won't continue to have on occasion, a melt down. No more whining about that, however.

Actually I'm back because a friend who is much more tech saavy than I hooked me up with google reader so I could attempt to organize the blogs and other websites I frequent (which actually I haven't frequented much at all lately). So it prompted me to actually look to see when I last wrote. When I first saw March, I was thinking it had been a whole year. It hasn't. Only around three months; that isn't as bad as I thought. It "feels" like a year though.

I'll see what I can do here again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


My, that last sounded firm didn't it? I'm stopping this I honestly don't even remember writing it. That's how my life has been lately. February doesn't seem so long ago, although March is about over.

I guess I'll try to keep this up, but maybe it will evolve into being a little more focused, or at least more regular. Life has gotten in the way. One of the rules is not to overdo it with talking about family, but let's just say this is a very hard time of life at the moment.

I just got a little freedom meaning even my youngest child is now in college, and suddenly I am hit with helping to care for an aging parent, and not my own, but my husband's, which of course is different. I'm assured that it won't impact my life, but that isn't realistic. I can't really go into it all in a blog, and I won't...I'll save that for my prayers, which I'm doing a lot of these days.

Just is very, very difficult.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Following the Rules

Having begun as someone completely unfamiliar with blogging, and really just wanting to make myself write a little, I am realizing that I have consistently broken the rules of blogging. My name is too complicated and difficult to remember and spell. I can't do anything about that now unless it is possible to close this one out and direct followers (few though they are) to another.

Second, my posts are way too long, so I'm stopping this

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter Beauty

And so it came...the one thing I wanted before winter is truly over. I wanted that one winter storm that would make the trees coated and sparkly, would be beautiful, and would give me excuses to slow down and just be at home.

I'll maybe come back and add some pictures, but right now my computer wants to close Internet Explorer every time I try to link to to insert a picture. It says it is trying to protect my computer. Huh? From itself?

Anyway, I didn't get a snow day from this since it didn't start falling after midnight as predicted. It really didn't start until the afternoon. It was pretty heavy during our all-school volleyball game and then it was time to come home. Fortunately, I live very close to school; even so it was very slick. So, we didn't get a snow day out of it, but a workshop I was to attend Saturday morning was cancelled, postponed actually.

Superbowl is Sunday and as I write from Indianapolis, the Archbishop of the Diocese declared Monday a day off for Catholic Schools. We will have to make it up, but at least it is an extra day. I'm wondering about Tuesday. The snow on the ground isn't going anywhere as it is not supposed to warm up, and more snow is predicted for Monday.

Plus, the groundhog (at least the one who is supposed to be the most reliable...Punxtawhateverhisnameis) says six more weeks of winter. I wouldn't be surprised since Indiana is notorious for having either blizzards or twisters during the NCAA championships in March, BUT

It's ok..I'm ready for spring soon if anyone is listening to me.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Blahs

I've been absent. Hibernating I guess. After claiming..actually proudly announcing..that I never get sick, it has hit. Sinus infection. I made it to school on Thursday morning only long enough to sit through Mass with my first graders. It was their first one. There was no way I would have missed that. Two of my students who were involved were also ill. I was prepared for one so had another student take her reading (thankfully the student taking her part has about an 8th grade reading ability! She read not only her own part, but the absent student's part). The other absent student was unexpected, but he was only carrying the lectionary, so that one was pretty easy to substitute.

So I'm home sick on Friday, on meds, and will be better on Monday. While I'm feeling lousy, have no energy, no voice, and a sort throat, I thought I'd catch up on reading the blogs I follow and write just a little.

Nothing exciting is happening around here other than I'm waiting for Captain to sneak somewhere and poop in the house since all he wanted to do in the yard this morning was chase back and forth along the tree line looking for a squirrel. Oh, and Erin has no classes today, so she is home with me. She is very excited that she made a fried egg without breaking the yolk.