Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Anne Marie!

Today is my daughter's birthday. Which has me thinking about the time when we brought home our first-born child. That little scrap of human potential planted herself firmly in our hearts. Thinking about this sent me to my old photo book, so I am sharing a few pictures of our new baby.
1969--newly home from the hospital.
Ten days old--just about to have a bath (I remember how nervous I was,
bathing that little thing!).
Her Daddy's Darling
Our little family--Anne Marie just turned two months old.

She is now the mother of a 15-year-old. She is a loving, caring, honorable woman. Life has not been easy for her family the past few months; Chad, Anne Marie, and Megan have all had medical issues. Even four of their five dogs have had many visits to the vet. Anne Marie hasn't been to nursing school, but she is always tending someone, or some pet, that needs care. She is a great help to me, as she was to her grandmother in the past. Because she is concerned about my vision problems, she does the driving for me. She is helpful to friends. She has added teaching a youth Sunday School class to her busy life.
2013--Playing with her cousin's granddaughter, Cordelia

She is a daughter, a woman, to be proud of.

And I am.

Happy Birthday, Anne Marie!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where Am I? When Am I?

I have been reading my way through winter. Sometimes the reading is by Audible books, which are great when my vision is less than stellar, the print is too small in the book, or my eyes are too tired. But the result is the same. I get to spend time in other places, with other people, and in other times.

As anyone who reads my blog, or who has more than a passing acquaintance with me, knows, I am a true Bookaholic.

My primary reading/listening for the past couple of weeks has been the re-read of the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. I have the complete series in book form, but the print in some of the books is very small. So I invested in one of the books from Audible, and enjoyed that format. Since I can't afford the whole series as recorded books right now, for the rest I have been reading despite the print size. This involves taking off my glasses, holding the book quite close to my face, and closing my left eye (its compromised central vision creates a blurring or double vision effect when reading small print). But despite this, I quickly get lost in the story and in the atmosphere created by the very talented author.

I have not, however, been reading only Brother Cadfael. I take breaks with other literature. I am listening to my thick biography of George Washington, and with him learning how the first government of the United States as a federal republic was worked out, and the great financial difficulties the Washingtons had gone through. With my granddaughter I am reading aloud a three-book alternate universe fantasy series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy on my Kindle. I also listen sometimes to the recording of one of the Outlander series books (author, Diana Gabaldon). I've read all the Outlander books, but, again, listening to the very well done recordings is a different experience.

When I have been deep into a book, and then must put it down/turn it off to do something else, I emerge for a moment a bit off-center. Making the transition back to 21st Century USA from 12th century England, or 18th century America, or the alternate universe of Nightpool, takes just a moment.

I know I can't be the only one who does this! To me this is the hallmark of a good writer--to transport the reader so thoroughly into another time and place that the reader emerges blinking in confusion to rejoin his/her own world.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Keeping in Touch

A few days ago I sent a copy of one of my favorite snapshots to my 94-year-old aunt Elsie, who lives in a nearby (by Wyoming standards) town.
Mother and her sister Elsie sharing a chair (1967)

Today she called me in response and we had a lovely visit via telephone. Two years ago, prodded by her question, her doctor told her she probably had about three months to live. She has been on hospice care since that time.

Today she told me that she is off hospice care because she has outlived the time they are allowed to keep her on the program!

I love that. She really liked her hospice nurses and will probably miss them, but last fall her sons arranged for a private caregiver to come in daily to fix her breakfast and do a little cleaning. They enjoy each other's company and recently went out to a nice restaurant for a Valentine's treat, together with one of my aunt's sons and his wife.

Old age is definitely not for sissies, as someone wisely put it. But I am glad my aunt is still with us!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chad the Thoughtful

I have a hard time catching Chad for a photo. This was Christmas
morning when he was looking down at a gift.
In olden times, people were often identified by something that was striking about their appearance (i.e., Eric the Red), or something notable, good or bad, that they did (i.e., Vlad the Impaler), or perhaps by their occupation or their geographic/ethnic origins (i.e., Attila the Hun).

If we still followed that custom, my son-in-law could be named Chad the Helpful, Chad the Creative, Chad the Hardworking, or Chad the Thoughtful.

Today I am talking about the thoughtfulness aspect.

Yesterday was St. Valentine's Day. This is not a holiday that means much to me since my Valentine now lives with the saints and my children are grown (no Valentines to purchase/help make for school exchanges, no heart-shaped cookies to bake, etc.). So I was surprised on the evening before Valentine's Day when my granddaughter came upstairs to my apartment with a bouquet of flowers. When Chad was buying flowers for Anne Marie, he also bought a bouquet for me. I love flowers, and was touched by and thankful for his thoughtfulness

This is not the first time I've received flowers from Chad. He likes to surprise with a bouquet at random times.

Chad does a lot of things for me, such as minor repairs around my house, keeping my car clean, or picking up something he knows I'll be needing when he's at the store. Before I sold my house he put in many hours doing landscaping for me.

Chad started coming around our home when he was 16 and dating our daughter. Four years later they were married. All these years of his being part of my family makes him just seem like Son, rather than Son-in-Law!

I am very thankful for Chad the Thoughtful-Helpful-Creative-Hardworking-and Kind.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Ocular Migraine

In the past I have blogged about my various vision challenges here. There were two challenges that I did not mention in that blog.

One is allergies. One day I may see clearly with my glasses. The next everything may be a little off. It seems like I need a new prescription, but it is just allergies. Allergies can cause a little swelling in the eyeball, which changes the focus point in the eye just that little bit; hence I cannot bring in a truly clear focus until the eye is back to normal.

The other problem is the ocular migraine. I had never even heard of the term "ocular migraine" until I was in my fifties. Looking back after diagnosis, I knew I had had them before. I just didn't know what they were, and since they passed fairly quickly and painlessly I would quickly forget about them. Then one day I had one that was a good deal more dramatic, and that is what sent me to the doctor.

I was at work. My boss had come into my office and we were just visiting about this and that when I started losing my vision. My view field just shrank away until I was almost blind. I can tell you that I definitely found this disturbing! I thought I must be having a little stroke. My vision came back, but I could not overlook that happening. I immediately contacted my doctor and went to see her. After visiting with me about what had happened, she reassured me that she did not believe I had a stroke, but that it sounded like an ocular migraine. My response was, "But I didn't have a headache." She explained that the ocular migraine is often painless. She referred me to the Eye Institute. The diagnosis I received there was the same--ocular migraine.

Both yesterday and today I have had ocular migraines, today with a little headache to go with it. My first clue that one is happening is an inability to get a clear focus on something I'm reading or looking at. Then I see a tiny, squiggly, colorful bright line. The line grows, makes an oval shape that expands to fill my vision. This halo is still a fine line, the space within it is an area of blurry vision.

It is aggravating, but doesn't usually last more than a few minutes to a half hour before the halo effect is gone. It may take a few hours before my vision clears. I was glad for recorded books yesterday. I couldn't read without difficulty, TV was blurred a bit, but I could listen to a good book!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Sweetness of Family

Today my sister Grace's daughter Sue, Sue's daughter Maria, and Maria's daughters Cordelia and Elise came to town for a short visit at Grace's home. My daughter, Anne Marie, and I joined them. In other words, three generations of Grace's family, two of mine, all of us related in some degree.

The youngest family member--6-month-old Elise

A sweet delight.

Cordelia, age 3. She was wearing a plastic bag as a backpack and playing with a party horn.
In the background is her Great-Grandma Grace.
Anne Marie, Cordelia, and Sue. Cordelia gave Anne Marie quite a workout!
Maria and her girls
Cordelia and Grandma Sue


Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Old Bible

Today I carried my oldest Bible to church. I have a collection of quite a number of Bibles in various translations. These different versions are very useful for comparison when studying. Just reading a passage worded somewhat differently between versions can open up new thoughts and new understanding.

However, today I carried my old King James Version Bible to church. I have a lot of sentimental attachment to this Bible and, in addition, it is printed in a strong, dark typeface on very good, very white paper. With my current vision problems, this is most helpful, especially since the lighting in the church building is quite soft.

I enjoy reading from more modern English versions of the Bible these days, but I grew up on the King James Version, I did my memorizing from it, and its rhythms are deeply embedded in my mind.

I no longer have my first Bibles. I don't know what happened to them (it was a looong time ago!). The first Bible I remember reading from was a little New Testament plus Psalms that was given to my Dad when he was in the army. My next Bible was given to me by the church when I was baptized at age eight. I used it until I was almost eighteen. That was when the Bible I carried this morning came into my life.

It was 1959 and I was graduating from High School. I know I received several graduation gifts, but there are only two I still clearly remember (and have). One is a copy of Halley's Bible Handbook, to which I still frequently refer and which was given me by our minister. The other is this Bible. It was given to me by my sister Grace and her family. On the presentation page two of her children are omitted, because they had not yet been born.

This was the Bible with which I finished my first complete read-through of the entire Bible. It was such a pleasure to read from it. It had a wonderful scent from the high quality coated paper it was printed on. It was a beautiful book that appealed to both my senses and my brain. This Bible is the one that went to Bible College with me. Because it received so much use, I came to identify passages for which I could not remember the chapter and verse numbers by my memory of page location (such as, about halfway down the left column of the right-hand page somewhere in Romans). If I couldn't remember chapter and verse, I could still usually find the reference I wanted.

This Bible is also the only one I have that has pronunciation markings for all proper names. I have found this very helpful! Even when I am using a different Bible, I will go back to my graduation KJV Bible to check pronunciations on difficult names.

This Bible doesn't look too great these days. The cover is held together with tape, The back is broken in one spot and I have managed to keep the pages from falling out by, again, a lot of tape. The Bible is not in this sad condition from carelessness or lack of respect. It was my Bible I used all the time for many years. It shows that wear.

I am currently reading through the Contemporary English Version. I enjoy the way it brings the Scripture alive for a modern reader. But the sentimental Bible of my heart is the one I received for graduation when I was not quite eighteen years old. I will always treasure it!

P.S. For the story of another much loved and used Bible, check my niece's blog here. (Thanks, Sue!)