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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to All!

Christmas Day, 2014.  The sun is shining, with a stout wind howling around our house.  We were up early this morning to attend Mass at the church we attended for over 40 years, in Clifton, Ks. 

Memories of Christmases Past came flooding through our minds.  A look around revealed many of the same people we remembered from years ago, but they are now older, with similar lines on their faces and hair turning gray, like ours.  A new crop of babies and small children were making their presence known in happy nonsensical syllables and thumping the backs of the pews with their feet.

The service was the same, with much the same music. I was disappointed, though.  The prayer I sent to God as we said our private prayers at the beginning of the service for a clear voice to sing God's praises was not granted. I started to sing the beautiful Christmas carols, and was rewarded with squeaks and croaks, not the clear voice I hoped for.  Much of the time, I could not get any sound out at all, as a result of a lingering respiratory illness, getting its last licks in my body.  But the service was still beautiful, Father Larry's message was somehow written just for me, as usual, and before we knew it, we were on our way back home.

We came home for a few brief moments, then headed for our daughter's home for an early Christmas lunch, with spaghetti, cheesy garlic biscuits, relish plate, and leftover desserts and goodies from our Christmas Eve celebration.  The grandkids were playing with their Christmas gifts, and everyone was in a good humor.  The oldest grandkids were already napping.

After lunch we returned home, and took a long nap, which was very enjoyable.  We will return to Becky's house again for supper. I hope to hold my new great-granddaughter, Maliyah Marie Clemens for a while, and have a good visit with family who live close by. It has been a great Christmas.

I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas, to our Jewish friends, a Happy Hannukah, and everyone else, have an awesome week.

I pray for peace in our country, unity in our government with Christ at the helm, and an end to the fighting and wars.  I pray for our military, that they might have a measure of peace in their section of the world.  For the sick and dying, a return to good health, for the bereaved, peace and acceptance in their loss. For the traveling on this holiday, safe arrival at their destination, and good weather. 

Merry Christmas to All!



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Catching up--again.I I

A lot has happened since my last post.  The trip to Colorado, Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, The Arches and returning home was very challenging to me, but I did enjoy all the photos and scenery. 

The high point for me was attending my granddaughter's wedding on July 15, 2014.  My mother and my sister, Linda, were also present.  We visited the Shrine Mountain Zoo and the Will Rogers Shrine.  The views were awesome and we took tons of photos. 

The birthday celebration with my Aunt Lucille was very enjoyable for me. The expressions on my mom's and aunt's faces as they kissed hello and good bye were priceless. I met cousins, aunts and uncles I never knew existed. I saw a painting I had done and given to my aunt as a past birthday gift. It was like visiting a long lost relative.

Returning home was a happy day.  During the trip, my left hip and my sciatica made riding in a vehicle torture.  I was taking Lortab like candy and still having pain of a high level. I could not get comfortable except at night when I was lying down.  I was very glad to get home.

The next week, after our return from Arizona, was spent in doctor's offices, Dennis' cancer surgery was scheduled for August 5.  I postponed my much needed surgery until Sept. 23.  I was glad I did, though, because I couldn't imagine being crippled up and having to walk up and down those hospital halls, nor the thought of poor Becky having to take care of two of us following our surgeries.

We both recovered from our surgeries, Dennis is back to work after a long time being laid up. The community, headed by the local Sons of the American Legion, hosted a benefit for us to help with medical bills.  It is so awesome to live in a small town, where our neighbors actually care about us.

My store, which I co-own with Carol Chavey, is still doing business and we are expanding our inventory line.  This weekend, we will be setting up at a local craft fair.  This will be the start of a busy holiday shopping season. 

I have re-enrolled in Writer's Village University, and am taking a class in writing fiction for children.  I'm excited to get started with my writing again.

Life is returning to something resembling "Normal" again.  I can't wait to see what life throws at me next.




Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Pilgrimage

Invited to accompany my sister, Linda, and my mother, Opal, on a trip to Arizona to attend the 100th birthday celebration of Mama's sister, Lucille, I was in a panic.  I was scheduled to have my left hip replaced on August 12, I had just opened my new store, Eagles Nest Boutique with my partner, Carol, and I had just learned that my husband, Dennis, has prostate cancer and would need surgery as well.  His surgery is scheduled for August 5.  

He would barely be out of the hospital and still quite ill when my surgery was due to take place.  The trip to Arizona, while being an awesome opportunity to spend some time with Mama and Linda, was really not convenient at this time.  But I couldn't turn them down.  It might be the last time Mama would ever see Aunt Lucille.  Both are getting older and their health is deteriorating quickly.  And it would be great to see the Southwestern states.  So I agreed to go.

I postponed my surgery until September or October.  It is not scheduled definitely at this time.  Although I suffer severe pain at times and am quite handicapped at this time, I feel better about doing it later, so I can be there for both my mom and my husband.  By the time he gets out of his convalescent time, I will be able to relax after mine. 

So, today, I have been packing for the trip.  We leave early tomorrow morning.  I'm leaving my dogs and my house to the protection and care of my daughter and two granddaughters.  I hate leaving my dogs behind, but they are not good travelers, and we really will have no room for them.  My sister is driving her late model SUV, and it will be full with suitcases, bags, bottled water, and other "stuff."

I have my suitcase already in the car, crammed to near explosion fullness, and other "essentials" that I just can't leave behind.  Tomorrow morning I will pack my toiletries and  my computer and take off for Norway, Ks.  I'm leaving my car at my mom's house, where my brother and his wife can keep an eye on it. 

I am taking two cameras and my computer so I can post pictures of the trip every evening to Facebook. I hope I can get some good photos of the Grand Canyon, Pikes Peak and other places we plan to go.  We are stopping in Colorado Springs to visit my granddaughter, Regan, who is living there.  There is a strong possibility of an informal justice of the peace wedding while we are there.  Regan is expecting her first child November 18.

My store will be well taken care of in the capable hands of my partner, Carol, and her daughter, Mariah.  It has been fairly successful so far, and we hope it will increase in value as time goes by.  We are looking forward to adding to our merchandise line.

Dennis came home from the truck yesterday evening.  He relaxed for about 45 minutes at home, then we went out for supper at the local cafe.  When we returned, he received a call from his dispatcher.  Bad news..he had to get back in the truck and leave for Minnesota.  So he won't be home to see me off tomorrow.  No worries, we have lived like this for over 40 years. He knows I'm carrying his love with me, just as he carries mine with him, wherever he goes.  Such is our life.

Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, I will have connected with my granddaughter, Regan and her fiance's family, and our pilgrimage will be off to a great start.  Until then, please keep us in your prayers, that we all get to our destinations safely.  Good evening, everyone.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Eagles Nest Boutique opening soon

I am opening a small boutique in Clyde, Ks. with a friend of mine, Carol Chavey.  Eagles Nest Boutique will feature Paparazzi Jewelry, original art and crafts, both mine and those placed with me on consignment. We also will sell Llynda More Boots, a new concept in ladies' boots. I will have some Melaleuca products, and other assorted items. We hope to have handbags, scarves, belts, watches, and other ladies' accessories. I am also hoping to have crosses, crucifixes, and other religious articles available soon.

I have wanted to do this for over 30 years, but could never quite get it done by myself.  With Carol's help, we are finally making this dream come true.  We will be opening on Friday, June 20, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.  The display cases, cash register, and some other features are not in place  yet, but will be added soon. 

If you do a craft and would be interested in consigning some of your work with us, please let us know and we will discuss our plans to get the best return on your money.  

If you are going to be in the area anytime after June 20, we would love to see you stop by the store and check us out.  We plan to keep regular hours as much as possible. IF we can't be there, we will post on Facebook and on the door of the store.

I am so excited to get this store up and going.  I'm hoping I will be able to get more art done and make new friends, as well as sell my treasures.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me this opportunity. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Prom Pangs

Tonight is supposed to be a special night for some of my grandchildren.  It's prom night. That magical night when romance is in the air, the young ladies are dressed up in the floor length gowns they have shopped for months to find.  Their hair is soft, flowing down onto shoulders caressed with glitter and ribbons.  Hours are spent putting the makeup on, finding the perfect accessories, and donning those high heeled shoes purchased just for this occasion. 

Everything is perfect, the dress fits like a second skin, the hair is elegant, the jewelry glistens on her chest and her wrists.  The corsage is lovely.  But then, everything falls apart.

It appears the young man has had second thoughts.  He has decided he doesn't want to go.  

Through the tears, she keeps her head held high.  Her parents are livid.  So much money has been spent to make this night perfect for her, but that's not the worst part.  The damage to an already painfully shy psyche is unrepairable.  She loves her young man.  Apparently, the feelings are not returned.  

As a grandparent, we feel so badly for her.  Her brother is taking his beloved young lady to the dance. Their night is going well.  But he feels badly for his little sister and wishes he could make her night just as special. As we do.  But there is nothing we can do but be there for her, and remind her of what a beautiful young lady she is.

Proms are one of the most special events in the life of a young teenage girl.  She has a need to feel like a princess and to be treated like one.  She needs to have a young man she can depend on, who will treat her like she is the only young lady in the world, and the most beautiful. 

It has been said that boys mature more slowly than girls at that age.  They don't have the same feelings about proms. They would rather go turkey hunting or fishing, or camping with the other young men their age. Some would rather go to a keg party and get smashed. Dressing up in a tuxedo and spending money on a girl is not as much fun as spending it on their car.

Tonight has been ruined for my granddaughter.  Hopefully, she will get beyond this and find herself a young man with more respect for her.  If he didn't want to go to prom, he should have told her that early on and not allow her family to spend the time and money on getting her ready for a date that was not to be.

My heart breaks for her.  It reminds me of my own high school days, when I, too, was stood up for dates. It really hurts. She is such a beautiful young lady. Smart and talented,  she could have just about any boy in that school.  Hopefully, she will find one before next year's prom.  One that will treat her like the princess she is.

I love you, sweetheart.  We are here for you. Don't let this immature young punk ruin your school year. Don't stay with someone that will treat you like the dirt on your shoes. You are worth so much more than that. You are a princess.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Unwritten: G is for Gangrene by Dixie Barnes

Unwritten: G is for Gangrene by Dixie Barnes

It's official! I'm old!

That's right..I'm officially old!  I signed up for early retirement today, and applied for social security benefits. I still had four years before I will be fully vested, but I really can't see my health staying well enough to complete another four years of full labor.

I have officially retired from nursing, even though my license is still good for another year and a half, and I have just recently renewed my CPR certification.  I have recently learned how to do the MDS+ coordination work and can still do work where I can sit and stand alternatively.  I cannot stand for more than ten or fifteen minutes without having severe pain in my lower back and hips.  I really hadn't planned on falling apart quite this quickly. What the heck happened?

I can sit at a computer and work for hours. But the jobs that allow that have already been taken.  And at my age, no one wants to hire an old fat lady to work for them.  If they do, it's at minimum wage...which is a hard drop down from my nursing wages.

I thought I would apply for a postal job this past week.  I visited with the local postmistress, and she said they were hiring. But it had to be an on-line application.  I paled when she said that, because I knew my past history with online applications.  Not good.  Nevertheless, as soon as I got home, I immediately tried to access the postal site.  Wow!  I've never seen so many hoops to jump through!  First you have to get an account.  I already had an account from shipping with my online sales businesses.  Next, I had to have a profile.  It took me two days just to get the computer to cooperate with me to get a profile set up.

There were a bunch of tests, a manual to download, and a fee of $39.95 to pay for all of it.  I've never had to pay a fee to apply for a job before! What is up with that?  The application also asks for search information, on where you want to work, what positions you want to apply for, and asks about your work history.  I'm used to the last questions, I have my resume up to date, but not much of it seems to apply here, as I am switching from nursing to postal work.

At any rate, I still have a ways to go to get this application completed, and I have heard there are three other applicants at least.  What if the job has already been filled?  All that work for nothing?

I do have my Paparazzi and Pink Zebra to fall back on, if push comes to shove.  Those are also hard on my back, when I have to load everything into the car, unload them at the event location, set them up, take them down, load them in to the car, unload them at home and put them away again.  But I can make some money, if I can handle the back pain.

My dream of having a store front property to set up my jewelry, Pink Zebra, and art and crafts seems to be just a pipe dream.  There are no store fronts available that are in any good condition, unless I drive for at least 15 miles.  I had hoped to set up here in my hometown.

Well, I have complained enough for one day.  Money is getting very tight. I have no money in the bank, and am down to less than $10 cash, with no prospects to make any money, except for online sales of Paparazzi right now.  I hope to set up my jewelry in a store downtown for an afternoon or two, to make some cash. I am sorting household stuff to sell for some easy cash.  And keeping my eyes open for any desk jobs.  I'm getting off my butt and looking for work, while at the same time realizing my physical limitations.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No sit-down nursing job available







I followed up today on a lead for a job, doing MDS+ work at my former place of employment.  I was told they had handled the 
help shortage inhouse so there was no need for my services.

I was only mildly disappointed.

It has come down to a choice between doing MDS+ work  at a nursing home or retire from nursing, and find a part time job doing something other than nursing.  That really sounds good to me.  My back and hip are becoming very demanding.  If I stand for long, my lower back and hip start to hurt.  If I sit for long, my hip  really hurts and the pain travels in waves down my leg to my knees, then back up to my lower back.  I can't work like this for more than 10 minutes without breaking into tears.

Even doing dishes and mild housework is becoming difficult. I see my mother working in spite of  her tremendous pain, and I just want to tell her to sit down and we'll do it for you.  But she would never hear of that, not in her own home.  So we just try to help her as we can. Chatting while drying the dishes she has just washed makes for great bonding times.

So now that I have made my decision to retire from nursing, I can start going through my home and remove the items I have used for so many years.  The stethoscopes I have purchased over the years, the hundreds of nursing books, medication books, weight loss books that are not being used, obviously, will all go online for sale.  I have an eBay account, and an Amazon.com account.  I will start using those again.

I still have my Pink Zebra and my Paparazzi businesses, and I'm actively searching for a storefront to move all of that to a store to sell them.  I hope to take in consignments of crafts, art, quilts, crocheted and knitted items.  I think it would go over pretty well, as there are some very talented craftsmen and many artists in this area.

So, as I prepare to go to bed, I will dream of working toward my store, which I will share with a couple of friends, and the freedom from nursing.  I enjoyed my nursing career.  I loved taking care of the elderly, and may still volunteer at nursing homes from time to time.  I could call bingo, read their mail and just talk to them. My license is still active, so I could be RN coverage for a while. But I can no longer work the floor, doing the med passes, treatments, where I would have to get  up and down from the floor or bending over the beds.

I have reached the point where my health must be a priority if I want to keep living until my grandchildren are grown.  So, why do I feel so guilty?  Why do I feel like I'm letting everyone down...especially my dear husband who is retirement age already and feels he can't retire for a while yet?  Am I being selfish?  I guess time will tell.

Lord, please show me the way you want me to go. Help me to find the wisdom to see your path, and the courage to follow it. Amen.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

To Retire or Not To Retire?

Last week was very unsettling for me.  After over 20 years of working as a charge nurse on the floor, I had finally found a job that seemed tailor-made for me.  I was doing MDS+ reports for an area nursing home.  I had no real in-depth training, but I was learning quickly from the Director of  Nursing, the Administrator, and the Restorative Director on how to gather the information, plug it into the computer program, and print out the reports that were needed.  I had been awarded a $2.50/hr raise to cover the extra mileage to my job. I had my own office that I was having a blast decorating for each holiday, and making it my own.

Then the world stopped turning.

After a relaxing and enjoyable weekend, I clocked in to work at my usual time, a little before 8:00 a.m.  I went to my office and settled in at my desk.  I was just getting started with the chart of one of the residents, working on some assessments, when the D.O.N. and Administrator entered my office and said "Is this a good time to talk?  We need to discuss something with you."  Naturally, when they closed the door, my heart flew up into my throat.  I must have done something dreadfully wrong.  What could it have been?

They told me they had attended a budget meeting the prior Wednesday, and that since the census was low, that there were cuts to be made.  They told me the finance director had said that the logical cut would be to eliminate a position.  I knew then. I was being laid off.  I took a drink of water to keep from choking on my heart, which had progressed up into my neck.  Oh no, not now!

The summer before I was hired at the nursing home, we had gone through a severe crisis.  My husband, Dennis had undergone 5 cardiac bypasses and one in his neck to his carotid.  Dennis was off work from the middle of May to mid October.  We had sold items from our home, borrowed money against Dennis' income from his employer, and cut back on many expenses, but the medical bills were pouring in from his surgeries.  We were just beginning to get back on our feet a little bit at a time.

I asked if there would be any severance pay. "No, I"m sorry."

I knew I didn't have any vacation time built up.  I was screwed.

I asked how long I  had to work.  They told me to finish the assessment document that I was working on, which only needed my signature.  They left my office after repeating that it wasn't anything I had done or hadn't done, that I was perfect for the job and they really didn't want me to leave.  They even had tears in their eyes.

I returned the chart to the chart rack in the nurses' office. Requested some boxes, and started sorting out my items from theirs. When I had packed almost everything up, I asked the maintenance man for assistance in carrying the boxes to my car.  He was busy with a plumbing task, so the nurses, aides, and even the DON and Administrator carried boxes out to my car.  There was a round of hugs all around, and I left.  I want to clarify that I do not blame anyone at the nursing home for my predicament.  It wasn't my fault either.  It was simply a business decision, and I was the logical choice to be eliminated.  I was the latest hired, and my job could be done, and will be done by the DON and other staff, as it was before.  I made many new friends at the nursing home, and I believe they will miss me as much as I miss them. I'm still in touch with them on Facebook.

All the way home, my mind was running a thousand miles an hour.  Now what would I do?  I really didn't want to go back to charge nursing.  My degenerative disk disease in my back was making that impossible for me.  In fact, that was why I had left my last job which was only 15 miles away, to take this job which was 35 miles away..so I could work sitting down.   MDS+ coordinators generally hang on to their jobs forever, so I knew there wasn't much chance I'd find another one.  Besides, I still wasn't completely trained in the position.

I thought about a friend who was interested in opening a shop with me locally, with our art, crafts, and various business offerings.  I sell Paparazzi Jewelry, and she was a recruit in the business.  I also sell Pink Zebra scent beads, and she sells a new concept in ladies' boots, plus a couple of other ventures.  We wanted to set up shop somewhere downtown where the traffic would be better for both of us.  Maybe we could do that now.

I thought about trying to get a job at the bank or somewhere else nearby.  That way, if sales were poor in our shop, I'd have something to fall back on.  But most of the jobs available were for charge nurses, or else CNAs, which are both hard on the back.

I never announced my job loss to anyone, until just the last day or so..when I told my friend, and my mother, and my daughter.  I didn't even tell Dennis at first, because I was afraid of how his heart would react. I didn't him to go through last summer again.

The other night, Dennis called me from out on the road.  He suggested maybe I should just retire from nursing and find something part time locally to do to have spending money.  We discussed ways to cut spending even further.  Things seemed to be looking up for me, but I felt sorry for Dennis, who would now have to carry the brunt of the bills.

No definite decisions have been made yet.  I'm watching the want ads, and the real estate ads for a location for our store.  I'm looking at ways to cut expenses.  I'm also trying to catch up on my housecleaning, which has become grossly neglected.  I'm counting on prayer to help me find the way that I should go.  All prayers from my readers are always welcomed too.  To retire..or not to retire..that is the question.