Thursday, July 19, 2018

My House, My Home

I ordered a mantel shelf for my fireplace today.  How the people before me lived without a mantel all those years, I will never know.  I mean, Christmas!  I hope I will be able to install this thing when it comes.  If not, there are people willing to do those kinds of things for money.  The mantel seemed like an easy home improvement.  After a year I haven't accomplished as much as I hoped to in the home improvement department.  The point is, I have been here a year now.  Almost a year.

I moved here from a rental that was a quick choice when I was told to move someplace immediately or find a place to store all my stuff. I rented the first place I looked at.  It was expensive, but at that point I didn't care.  It was in a safe neighborhood with an attached garage and an upstairs laundry and that was good enough.  I never really settled there.  I just survived.  But, the fireplace there had a mantel, at least.

When I moved to my house, the one I bought, a  year ago I had numerous plans.  Change out the lighting, paint the kitchen cabinets to match the door fronts, a new 2 oven stove, maybe make the fireplace electric, maybe a new counter in the master bathroom and on and on.  I have dug a small garden in the backyard, replaced the dead dishwasher, had the inside of the house painted, the electrical connections changed for my dryer and a little patch job on the ceiling of the front porch, but other than those things, I haven't done much, which is okay. It isn't a sprint, it is a marathon. Soon I will have a mantel for the fireplace.

But, I have noticed lately that my house is becoming more my home.  I had people over for a house blessing last fall which gave me a lot of peace.  But, just in the living here over the past year, I am feeling more relaxed, more at home here.  This is my house, mine. I weathered many storms to get to this place of peace and serenity.  I tried hard for many years to make my life go another way. But, when I let go and listened to the calling in my heart and opened myself up to receive the advice of trusted friends, the great God rescued me from my misery and delivered me to a place of peace and safety.

In a way I have never had before, I have a home. I have a place I can improve and decorate to my hearts content  I can have people stay with me. I can have a messy flower garden that isn't going to sort itself out this year. I can order a mantel and hope to be able to put it up myself.  I once lived an anxious life with blame and shame and worry over nothing.  It was not a life, it was not a home.  But, gradually, little by little, step by step, this house, my house, is becoming my home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Writing Posts in my Head

I have been a long time blogger. Lately, I have jumped the tracks and not posted much.  But, lots of posts have been written in my head.  Some of the posts are angry reactions to things I have remembered or happened.  Those are typically ones I usually didn't really write and post or tried not to, even back in the day when I posted daily.  But, some are charming little pieces related to thoughts about things I have encountered. I would have liked to have written them, but I didn't and now they are gone from by brain.  I have moved on.

Blogging has taught me to think about things in essay format.  I think about the beginning, the middle and the end.  I consider the topic and what feelings I want to impart.  It is rather amusing.  And perhaps rather sad. Or pathetic.  Or maybe just human.

I am learning very slowly to give myself a break, to love myself and find myself acceptable.  I am human.  I am writing about the human condition, my condition.  I have made mistakes.  I have tried to find my authentic self. I have stretched and grown.  Writing it down in a little essay helps that growth.  I want to remind myself to sit down and write these little essays instead of just considering them in my head.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Everything Changes, Only My Opinion

A new baby in my family has brought up thoughts and memories of my own baby experiences.  I suppose that is just the normal progression of things.  My baby is 38 years old.  That is a generation ago, more than a generation really.  The baby and I had a rough go at the beginning.  Beginning breastfeeding was tough.  He was jaundiced and small and didn't get on a good schedule at first and was colicky.  It was hard at first.  He was a month old before I really felt confident as a nursing mother.

I joined a support group for nursing mothers and eventually became a leader of a group.  I became a support for other woman and their babies.  I could answer the phone at 3 am and talk through latch on with a newborn and how to soothe a middle of the night crying baby.  I knew a lot about breasts and nursing and mothers. I did it for free, and for love of babies and moms.

But, if I remember back to the original draw to nursing my baby, it was mainly about the money I would save.  Nursing would save enough money compared to buying formula and I would not have to go back to work for more time. I was also drawn to the ease of not cleaning bottles and measuring formula.  Back in the day, few people really believed that breastfeeding was best.  The milk itself wasn't the point, it was the delivery and the attachment with the baby.  I was a cheap, lazy nursing mom.  I never owned a breast pump or ever used one.  I stayed home with my baby through preschool and nursed my baby well past what anyone would consider the baby or even the toddler phase.  The Biblical references to nursing seem to indicate 3 years was a norm, enough said.

I believe that nursing and weaning is every woman's own decision.  No woman should be forced to nurse their baby or to quit nursing before they are ready.  I am a big fan of attachment parenting.  Mothers and dads need to be in love with their babies.  Babies need to be loved to excess, more than breast milk, more than the right swing or bed or swaddlers.  Love is what babies need, in my opinion.

I have recently been exposed to the current breastfeeding culture.  It seems to emphasize breast pumps, amounts to feed, shields, systems, and on and on.  I don't think I could do all of that.  A baby, a breast, that was my equipment.  I hand expressed and froze some milk, but my baby wouldn't have anything to do with artificial nipples so that was largely a waste of time.  I don't think I could nurse today. My hat is off to women who do that.

But, if I could change everything, moms would have a year to stay home and nurse their babies.  Doctors, hospitals, NICUs, lactation specialists and nurses would really help and encourage breastfeeding.  Imagine if a baby had a 50% better survival rate if nursed, how would hospitals change what they do? Things have changed and I recognize suddenly that any input I have on feeding a baby is as outdated as my own mother's advice was.  I was a baby before formula was something you bought.  It was something you made with Karo syrup, evaporated milk and water.  I lived through that highly suspect food, my baby lived through my lazy nursing and new moms and babies will somehow survive the norms of this day.

I have had an education in that everything has changed and I am no longer an expert on feeding babies.  I need to bite my tongue and listen.  Because I have learned that what was wrong for me in parenting my own child, might be right for someone else. And largely, the babies will survive only to grow up and tell their own parents how they did everything wrong. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

In an English Country Garden

This little love came toward the latter portion of June.  But, my life was busy before his arrival.  I went on the train to Chicago to see the play Hamilton in April.  It snowed on us.  I went to Lake of the Ozarks in early May.  I hosted Easter, Mother's Day, and Mom's birthday dinners in June.  And I got another betta fish.  She is red, so I named her Scarlett.

I am making curtains for various places in m house.  I am planning to make a big quilt for my bed.  But, my biggest project is my garden.  I planted flowers in the front and they are doing terrible.  The crab grass quickly takes over every time I pull it back.  But in the backyard I cleared a 4 by 4 patch and planted rhubarb, tomatoes, beans, and summer squash.  There are a couple of tomatoes setting on as they say and the squash is blooming up a storm.  The rhubarb I am being cautious about.  The leaves are poisonous and the stalks which is the part you eat can have poison also.  It is better to wait until the stalks are red and maybe even to the second year.  I only planted a few beans so I might get a few of those.  I am counting on the zucchini to give me something to sink my teeth into.

I am a farmer at heart and sometimes I wish I didn't live in the sedate suburbs so I could have chickens and bees and a goat and a dog and enough tomatoes to can.....but wait.  Maybe my 4 by 4 patch is enough.  We shall see.  By net summer, I will have a little pumpkin to play with.

Friday, June 29, 2018

A Hush Falls Over the Room

Last week my life took a turn.  I became a grandma, making it all about me.  He came into the world a week late, but in a hurry and spent a little time in the NICU.  He is home now.  And his name in the same as Peter's brother, the fisherman and a disciple of John the Baptist.

And in case you haven't picked up on it yet. He is absolutely perfect.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jordan, and Home

After much delay, I will finish up my Holyland tour.  Eventually, I plan to move these posts to the days that they actually happened and polish them up a bit.  But for now, this is the final day of my trip, or the afternoon of the final day.
So, we left the Roman city of Garesa or Jeresh or Jaresh, Jordan.  I was happy that I walked all around the city and kept up with everyone more or less.  I was not the oldest, but I was the slowest on this trip.
The rest of the afternoon was on the bus. We went through regions that were mountainous rather than desert.  Lots of rocks in the region.

We went up a mountain.  All of my photos from the bus are a bit random.  The guide was pointing out the river below.
The river is the one Jacob crossed to see about marrying Rachel and Leah, I think.  Its name was something like Jabbok.  Today it is dammed, so it looks wider than it looked in Biblical times.
The bus pulled over on a side road so that we could get pictures.  I was interested in the farm near the road.  There were sheep and goats and cattle, but they are hard to see.
Milk cows I believe.
The river again and maybe orchards.
See the farm in the distance?  It wasn't that close, my camera has long eyes.
And the river in the dusky light.
This is the farm with the goats.  Looks messy.
Sheep and goats if you look closely.
Pulling the camera's eyes back farther.
Sheep and goats.
Ram on the left above the door (table?) that is being used as a fence.
And as the sun was going down we arrived at Amman, Jordan, the capital city.
I would have liked to have seen more of the city.
We stayed at a fancy hotel with a beautiful bed.  We had Mass there and ate supper.  We had to be downstairs to catch the bus to the airport at 9pm.  I never even crawled into that bed.   I knew that I would never get up for the flight home if I did. The flight didn't leave until after 2am.  The airport was an ordeal of security.  I was selected in Frankfurt to be checked out for a complete, shoes off search.  I guess fat slow old ladies are the new terror suspects. Ironically, one of our priests was selected as well. Then again at O'Hara I was patted down.  Obviously, we are not profiling.

The Holyland trip was a pilgrimage of a lifetime.  When I read the Bible it comes alive for me.  At Mass, I have thoughts about places when  places are mentioned.  I feel so close to God's love when I think of the trip.

And I got the flu, slash sinus infection really bad for a month when I got home.  I had eye surgery (schedule before i left and rescheduled because of the flu.)

And eventually I had a grandbaby a few days ago.  He is named after Peter's brother, a fisherman.  And he is love.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Jaresh, Another Roman City

The last touring site we went to in Jordan was the Roman city of Jaresh.  Our guide told us that the city was still there because the area was not populated.
This is Hadrian's Arch.  Only the emperor could walk through the middle arch.
It had rained and the arch entrance was muddy.
The Romans kept soldiers in shape by having them build cities when they weren't fighting.
The Jordanians don't have a lot of money to restore or dig up these sites.
The arch was very dramatic.
Right inside the city was a hippodrome for chariot racing.
Strong building with lots of arches from thousands of years ago.
This is the plaza looking back toward the Arch and beside the hippodrome.
Inside the hippodrome.
A big open chariot racing place.
Part of the racing field.
Looking back at Hadrian's Arch.
Roman ruin.
And more ruins.
This is headed toward the Cardio or the city center.
I am not sure whether the arches have been left standing or whether archaeologists have put them back together.

A Roman temple is at the top.
We headed out over this filed which would have had buildings and houses in Roman times.
This is the entrance to the  theatre that every Roman city had.
The paving was still Romans.
This is the stage.
These are the seats where the audience would have been.
These pipers played for us.
A few of the seats were marked which would have been the pricey seats.
There was a sweet spot in the middle of the theatre where you could whisper and be heard in every seat.
The stage.
The seats were like a modern day sports stadium.

The pipers were working for tips.
I think we were told they had played at one of the Olympics.
And this is a pepper tree.  The brown things really were peppercorns.
They smelled just like pepper on the table.
Looking down at the Cardio.
We walked on to visit 3 churches that were not very near the Cardio.
This was one big city.
Remains of buildings.
And we got to the remains of the three churches.  We asked why three were built together.  The guide told us that back in the day Mass could only be celebrated once a day in a church.  So three churches would enable there to be three Masses.
There were still mosaics at the floor of the church.
The roof was gone and we could not go down to the floor.
We could look over the side at the mosaics.
There were animals and figures.  Clearly a bear.
And a camel.
This was the patron.
And words explaining who the patron was.
The mosaics were intricate.
Other animals
And if you look closely you can see a swastikas cross.  This was a sign of prosperity.
Looking at the churches.
More Roman columns.
And More
I walked all over Jaresh.  It took a lot out of me and perhaps I would not have pushed myself if I had known how little sleep I would get on the journey home.
This was on the crest of a hill looking at the ruins.
Temple of Diana.
A pool inside the temple.
A better view of the temple.
We climbed down these giant steps.
Those Romans were good climbers because there were not little steps.
Everything was built big.
Even after 2 thousand years the decorative details were still in evidence.
And more details.
This tub still had mosaics in it.
This was a tub.
And here we are getting ready to go back to the bus.  It was a lot of walking.
And as we left you can see the modern city on the hill in the background.
And the Roman road.  I have one more post about Jordan with only a few pictures.