A Little Setback

After a fairly active day yesterday, I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been run over by a truck. Even the tiniest task required a massive effort. My plans for a productive morning went out the window. All I got done was making a big batch of mashed potatoes for our last homeschool lunch of the school year. Lucy made cupcakes for dessert, and we picked up some chicken on the way there. The theme was “Southern cooking.” There was lots of fried chicken!

I enjoyed seeing my friends but I really did not feel very chipper. When we got home, I took a nap to rest up for a visit from my friend Marsha. I don’t see her very often anymore, so it was good to catch up. When she left, I was exhausted just from sitting in a chair and talking. I wondered if I’d even be able to go on a walk this evening, but by the time we finished supper I had revived a little so Lucy and I went on our walk as usual. Still, I’m pretty glad the day is over.

 

Stir-Crazy Bees

It seems like I was busy for much of the day, but I’m hard-pressed to explain what all I was doing. I know I left the house on four separate errands. This is the first day in weeks, it seems like, that it didn’t rain at all, so this morning I told Jasper that the time had come for him to get out to the hive and finish his bee business. On the weekend he got the second box on, but he hadn’t taken any frames out to inspect his bees.

So this morning he got suited up and went out there and began pulling frames, and on frame number four he found what he had been fearing to find–a queen cell. That means that the current queen will soon be leaving with a large percentage of the bees. We have been afraid the bees would swarm because we had to wait so long to add the second box because of the lack of the bee suit. So anyway, apparently the bees are going to swarm no matter what we do and we don’t have any means of catching them when they do.

Of course, some bees will remain to raise and take care of the new queen, and the hive should build itself back up over the next several weeks. The situation is a little discouraging, but the good news is that Jasper overcame his fear of working with the bees. He was so excited when he came back in the house! His friend Sam helped him and they were able to do everything that needed to be done. Jasper is actually looking forward to taking care of his bees now.

After lunch I took Jasper to his piano lesson, and as soon as I got him home I took Lucy out to buy some new flip-flops so she will stop borrowing mine! Soon after that it was time to take her to youth group, and by the time I returned home I was very tired. It’s not like I ever had a lot of stamina, but right now I have a lot less than I’m used to.

Lucy and I went on another walk this evening. I have lost all hope that it will help my diabetes in any way, but I’ve been eager to start exercising again anyway. It just would be nice if I could detect some benefits!

Quote of the Day:

Yesterday for supper I “doctored” the leftover deeper ‘n’ ever turnip & tater & beetroot pie by making a sauce from leftover ham, and adding the sauce and ham to the veggies. Jasper was very pleased, and christened the new version, “deeper ‘n’ ever turnip & tater and meatroot pie.”

Teaching Again

Last year I didn’t have enough interest to teach any summer classes, but this year is a different story. It originally looked like my Story Quest creative writing class was going to be quite large, but I ended up with just six students, which is actually a very nice class size. I have two pairs of sisters, another girl, and one boy. Half of them have been my students before, so I that makes it easy to know what to expect.

I spent the morning preparing and printing everything out. This class is probably the easiest for me to teach since I wrote the curriculum and have taught it so many times. The time passed quickly and the kids came up with a good group story.

I was pretty tired by the end, but not in a bad way. I still don’t have much stamina, but I am working on it. Lucy and I went for a walk again after supper, even though I don’t expect it to have made any impact on my blood sugar. My body seems to be stupidly unresponsive to just about everything.

I also watched some autoharp videos for inspiration. A lot of autoharp music seems to fall into the bluegrass category, which is fine, because I love bluegrass, but I also have a lot of other musical interests and I wish I could find more examples of different kinds of music being played on the autoharp. My musical tastes range from hymns to folk to classical to negro spirituals to celtic and classic rock.

We are currently trying to fight off a fruit fly invasion. They were apparently attracted by the multiple flower arrangements. Now we have thrown the flowers out, but the flies remain. I’ll be leaving out a couple of containers of apple cider vinegar and dish soap tonight.

Music at Last

The day after my surgery, when I was in the hospital and marginally sentient, was the day that I was supposed to finally have an autoharp lesson, after having to cancel in April. Obviously, I didn’t make it. Last week, I contacted my teacher about having a lesson, and she gave me a list of available dates, and I inadvertently told her I wanted a lesson today, when I really meant to say a week from today.

Then I was too embarrassed to admit my error, so today I drove the hour and a half to her house. She asked me if I was allowed to drive yet. (It’s been exactly two weeks since my surgery.) I have no idea. There was no mention at the hospital of me ever coming back to be checked or anything. I am seeing a doctor next week, but until then I guess I can just make up my own mind about what I can and should do.

Anyway, it was a beautiful drive after a very rainy morning during which a waterfall apparently landed on our house. My teacher lives out in the country and it is so peaceful and serene. We talked and I asked her to give me a bunch of stuff to work on and boy, did she! I have plenty to keep me occupied! I had signed up for an autoharp workshop that she has been involved with in the past, and I want to get in a lot of practice first.

By the time I got home, I was definitely pretty tired, but not excessively so. Please pray that I’ll be able to figure out what I can do to lower my blood sugar. Everything I’ve tried that has been thoroughly recommended does not seem to work at all. I don’t even know what’s going on with my blood pressure because I can’t get the machine to work. I am very motivated to improve my health but I feel like I need some proof that something is working so I can keep doing it!

O Worship the King

O Worship the King

by Robert Grant

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, Whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

Deeper ‘n’ Ever Turnip & Tater & Beetroot Pie

Jasper has wanted for years to have a Redwall dinner for his birthday. In case you’re not familiar with Redwall, it is a series of books written by the late Brian Jacques. The characters are all animals, and they like to have fabulous feasts, which Brian describes in great detail. Jasper particularly wanted to try the moles’ “deeper ‘n’ ever turnip & tater & beetroot pie.” So that was the big plan for today.

I got up and did the grocery shopping at Walmart this morning for the first time since my surgery. Jasper went with me. (Mary and Jordan had already left to go to their friend Joy’s graduation.) We found potatoes and turnips, but no beets.

By the time we got home, I was ready for a rest. Walter and the boys left for their yard jobs, because for once it wasn’t actually raining. I am so glad Jasper is learning to work with his dad and I know it will be a good learning experience for him, just like it was for Flynn and Spencer. However, I do miss him on Saturdays! He’s always been my weekend buddy.

This afternoon, I realized that beets were not going to materialize out of thin air, so I went to another store to buy them. My plan was to work on a couple of projects when I got home and then start on the pie for supper.

Well, when I got home, Walter and the boys were back and they had discovered an alarming development in the back yard. The bees had run out of room and appeared to be building honeycomb on the outside of the hive. It seemed possible that they were planning to swarm.

5-16-15 Hive trouble

I was so frustrated. Jasper’s bee suit should have arrived before he got the bees, but it didn’t. We have been waiting all this time. Last weekend it arrived and a friend of ours picked it up, but he hasn’t been to town since then to bring it by. I knew we had to drive to his house and get the suit ASAP so Jasper could put the second box on the hive. It was almost an hour’s drive, so there went all my plans for the afternoon.

We drove all the way over there and picked up the suit. Jasper also got a demonstration of what he needed to do with the hive when he got home. I was in a foul mood. I had really counted on having time to do stuff this afternoon. I am so far behind because of my surgery! And the two hours of driving left me feeling surprisingly sore and exhausted.

We got home and Jasper got suited up and went to work on his hive and I got Lucy to help me get to work on the pie. I was kind of adapting a recipe I had found on the internet. Mary and Jordan arrived back and Mary helped too. The pie looked pretty impressive, but by the time we put it in the oven it was late and we ended up not being able to eat until almost 8:00–and even then the veggies were not as cooked as they should be. I, of course, didn’t even get to taste it, but I got enough feedback that I think I can make an improved version next time.

 5-16-15 TTBR pie

There was also a strawberry cake with chocolate icing.

5-16-15 Jasper's cake

The kids all went out for coffee after supper, which gave me a little bit of time to practice my hymns for tomorrow.

Today was hard. It had its good moments, but it also had tears. My first bill arrived from the hospital, and it was a doozy. I couldn’t help thinking it would be better for Walter if I had just died! Then I lost my afternoon to the bee crisis, and the pie didn’t turn out as well as I had wanted, and there was a high level of noise in the house for a while, and then to cap it all off, Mary finally got my website to work, but only at the expense of my “writer” email address. It has been re-initialized, but I lost all of the emails I had received at that address–all the encouraging things that people wrote to me after reading my book. That makes me really sad. I saved those emails to read when I needed encouragement, and now they’re gone.

Parting Shot:

5-16-15 Jasper in bees suit

Jasper in his new bee suit.

 

Mother Daughter Day

When I first found out that Mary and Jordan were coming to visit, I asked her if I could have a “Mary day” while she was here–just the two of us hanging out together. She said yes. Originally, I thought we’d hang out at the lake or go to a museum or something, but thanks to my infirmity and the rainy weather, I had to lower my expectations considerably.

Since Mary is a whiz at website magic, I asked if we could go somewhere with free wifi and if she could help me get my website up and running. (Long story about the website.) We were well on our way to Starbucks when I realized that I had left behind my “blood magic” kit and my insulin. So, we stayed at Starbucks for a while and Mary tried to work her magic, only to be thwarted at every turn.

Finally we called a temporary halt and headed home so I could take care of my blood. I am so not used to the routine at this point–except when I’m at home. I had planned to take Mary to that nice little Thai restaurant downtown for a late lunch, but as we got close to it we realized the downtown was being set up for the annual arts fest, so instead we went to Jason’s Deli and had a salad. From there we went to Panera to tackle the website yet again. It seemed like we were making progress–well, like she was making progress–only to run into yet another roadblock.

So, it was a discouraging day in that my official “goal” for the day was not met. However, the unofficial goal was simply to spend time with my daughter, and I did that, and I enjoyed it very much.

We came back and had supper with the family and then Mary and Jordan took Spencer and Lucy out for coffee while Jasper and I stayed home and watched a movie. Tomorrow, I intend to perform a stupendous feat–doing the grocery shopping at Walmart in the morning. Meanwhile, Mary and Jordan will be on their way to Nacogdoches to cheer their friend Joy on as she graduates from college, and Mercy will be attending the wedding of a good friend in San Antonio.

 

A Belated Birthday Bash

Today I got up to make Mary a special breakfast. It was actually her fifth birthday that started our whole birthday breakfast in bed tradition. We didn’t have much money and I wanted so badly to do something special for her. At my (boarding) high school, there had been a tradition that you had to make your roommate breakfast in bed on her birthday. So I whipped up a special breakfast for little Mary and brought it to her singing.

Little did I know that in that instant an ironclad tradition was born. Flynn, who had already had his birthday that year, required a retroactive breakfast in bed just to keep things fair. Every year I create a new menu and make breakfast in bed for the offspring still living here. Now of course, Mary is not still living here, but when we learned that she would be visiting so soon after her birthday, of course we had to have a celebration.

Since she is now married, breakfast in bed would be a little weird, so I made the breakfast but she ate it at the table. She also made her own birthday dinner, since I still can’t be up and around for long periods of time. Last night she stayed up late making a gluten-free cheesecake, and today she completed the preparations for her meal of choice–a spinach salad that we all love.

5-14-15 Mary's cheesecake

One thing Mary wanted was to get her hair cut, so I ended up cutting both hers and Lucy’s hair.

I did get a few other things done, and even ran an errand on my own! This afternoon, Lina called to talk to Mary (for her birthday) and me (for Mothers Day). It was good to talk!

After our fabulous supper, we watched a movie together, which is another family birthday tradition. Traditions are good!

 

Doing More

Today got off to a discouraging start, what with yet another headache, but it did eventually fade and I was “up” doing stuff today more than I have been since returning home from the hospital a week ago. Mind you, when I say “up,” I mean sitting at my desk or taking a shower. Still, it’s progress.

Mary spent the afternoon with a friend and Jasper’s sweet piano teacher kindly came here to teach him, so I was able to spend some time working on stuff at my desk. I feel so overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. My illness and surgery have really set me back.

Mary took Lucy to youth group and then went to visit with another friend, while I stayed home and heated up some more donated food. It’s been such a blessing to not have to worry about meals! Tomorrow we are actually going to make some food from scratch as we will be having a belated birthday dinner for Mary.

This evening I had a need to go shopping, and I was so stir crazy and I figured I would just go out by myself. However, Mary thwarted my plan and sent Jordan to be my chauffeur. I ended up walking over most of Walmart and I discovered that walking for more than a few minutes is still actually pretty painful. I made it though!

Still no luck with my blood pressure machine. I tried and tried and tried.

Gradual Improvement

Today was day three of the headache. I got up, took meds and had breakfast, but the headache literally had me in tears so I went back to bed to wait for the meds to kick in. Thank God, by late morning I was doing much better. I actually walked over to a neighbor’s house to deliver a gift, talked for a few minutes, and walked back home.

After a little bit of drama, I also got an appointment with a doctor who was recommended to me by two friends, including my neighbor. She very kindly squeezed me in later this month so I can see her before my current prescriptions run out. That was an answer to prayer.

This afternoon, Mary took me to the post office so I could finally mail the box I had intended to mail the day I ended up in the emergency room. I took another short walk. I did some paperwork. I’m beginning to hope that my life is headed back into “normal” territory. I did well on my blood sugar today, but could not get the blood pressure machine to work. I’ll keep trying. It worked once, so I know it can do it.