The Year Before Forty, And The Comments People Are Making, And Have Made To Me.

a friend of mine asked me “Shelley are YOU going to the class reunion?”I had went the last few years mind you, and none of my friends, whom I  went to school with, and still hang out with now, attended the reunion. There wasn’t a lot of people who showed up at the reunions in the past.

I said: no I think I will pass this year.

Shelley you should go”

Why, no one went last year?

“Shelley this is the year people start dying, and Shit”

Gabe

The other morning, when dropping him off at school. He makes his way to the middle, where he is sitting next to me. I’m thinking he’s going to give me a goodbye KISS…

“Mom, when you were a kid did they have televisions in the olden days”

Um Gabe, yes, it was not that long ago. Get out of my car!

A Friend

Her daughter, told us she would take our picture together. We give her the camera, scoot in close, and smile. She just stands there giving us a-deer-in-the-headlights, look.

Her Mom says: “what are you waiting for?”

“You guys need to do duck lips or do something in the photo?”

We purse our lips, she shakes her head, we give each other bunny ears, she shakes her head, we stick our tongues out, She shakes her head, we grab one another laughing uncontrollably, and she hands the camera back to her Mom, and says:never mind!”

Coffee with a neighbor

SHE got on the subject of talking about Sex. I joined in on the conversation, and was agreeing with her about certain techniques, and she says: “Oh, so you and your husband still do it?”

Yea, we do

“that so Awesome”

Umm we have only been together nine years were freaking newly weds for crying-out-loud

Last Night At Work

I made a wise-crack to the cook. I’m sorry I cannot remember what I said (It’s a part of my old age.) He told me what you said you reminded me of “Steve Marten on Saturday Night Live he always used to say that same phrase.”

“Do you remember?”

No, what year are you talking about?

“In the seventies”

No, I wasn’t born until 1977!

“Oh really, how old are you”

I’m forty, 

“Really, when did you turn forty?

Monday, I turned forty, three days ago!

 

Another Resident, Says Goodbye

I want to tell YOU, we said goodbye to Karl, last week. He was 86, give or take a few.

I will spare you the descriptive details.

Karl, had Liver cancer. He told me, and my co-workers when he found out he was dying. He did not want anyone feeling sorry for him. This blog is my way, of honoring him the best way I know how.

Karl, lived at our home for over thirty years. He was partially sighted, legally blind in our state, and the state he was originally from. In his younger years when the home was located on South 5th street. He would lead about four or five residents down to a restaurant called the “Chile Parlor.”

One resident told me: We would sit there and eat lunch together. When we were done he would walk us down to Travers, for ice-cream”.

She also told me when he was in the singing group. They had a song they sang, about the states. When they sang about Iowa, he would loudly, sing: Iowa Iowa where the tall corn grows!) and everyone would laugh, during singing practice.

He would always tell you what was going on in our home, gossip style.

Did you hear: Elle (our activity director) switched positions?

What do you think, of men dressing up in women’s clothing? 

Did you know, so and so cheats on his wife? 

Are you still married, do you have children?

He enjoyed all kinds of music, and ordered talking books, all the time. He had a stack of 6 to 7 blue cartridges waiting to be played on his counter. He was always pulled right up to his player, with his chin touching his talking book player which sat on his counter, blaring to smut. He even would adjust the speed of the player to slow motion. We could hear his player down the hallway.

I have worked for the home, sixteen years now. I work with a lot of the same residents, and staff. When a resident dies. I feel as though the home is picked up off the ground, and just THROWN down. The view out our windows of the green trees, flowers, and sun are cropped. The sun from the east side don’t shine in as bright as it once did. The hallway is colder, and un-level, making my rounds harder on my feet.

A few nights before Karl passed away. He shared with me: I have enjoyed my life here, Shelley. I’ve had a lot of laughs, and met some really good people.

Journal, Entry

Yesterday, was my first day off I had since last Monday. I told you last time we had gone in to overtime at work, because we WERE short-staffed. We have two residents who are on hospice care. The boss wants two people on duty at all times, because both of the residents are total care.

When Steve (my husband) came home from work, he fired up the grill. I wrapped up potatoes in foil, to have him put on the grill. I finished doing what was left of the dishes, and HE sucked up the leaves, with the blower!

The sun was shining, kids were laughing, playing, and I could smell freshly cut grass.

I decided to walk over to the school, and pick Gabe up from after school care. He was on the swing by himself, and I quietly stood there watching him swing. One of his friends came up to him holding a soccer ball. He asked Gabe if he would play soccer with him? Gabe, said no. I then spoke up from behind him, and said: why not? He said “Mom where did you come from?”

We gathered up his backpack, jacket, and signed him out. He told me he was on green (which is good.) Then told me there was a note in his bag. I un-zipped the bag as we walked home, and he helped me pull the note out of his blue folder. The note read “Is Yelling A Daily Event At Your House” I stopped, and looked at Gabe after I finished reading the invite to the school from a speaker who is going to share “effective techniques of getting through to our kids without yelling.”

I asked him if he thought we needed the class? “he said: “well Dad does.”

I shoved the paper back into the bag. I could see my husband working in the yard, as Gabe, and I got closer to the driveway.

Gabe, crossed the street, and I paused as I watched him walk up into the yard.I couldn’t help but ask God, how did I ever get here? what in the world, did I do deserve this moment?

The sun shining, Gabe laughing, and Steve in the front yard, working, and waiting for us to come home. If I happen not to make it through the day Lord, thank you, thank you, for another beautiful day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Time No Talk

I know how much you’ve missed me… I’ve been missing you too. And that’s on the real.

I think, all of you, will be happy to know, I’m reading my second book since the year 2009. I’m bound and determined to finish what I’ve  started. I ask that you stay with me, through my hiatus?

The book I’m reading, is “fiction”.

To tell the truth I’m not a fan of fiction. I thrive on real life stories of people who have survived addictions, abuse, and illnesses.

I love when people dig into themselves and all their obstacles life has given them.

The book, I’m reading, might be based on SOME truths. In my opinion!

I believe the Lord does give us visions and dreams. I have written about them in some of my blogs.

Yes, the book is about an encounter with God!

One time, I dreamed, I was walking on clouds in the sky.Walking cotton ball after cotton ball. For miles.

To my right there were tables with blinding white tablecloths. There were people of all kinds surrounding these tables.

They all had porcelain skin, skin so radiant their glow would guide you through any black night. They were watching me, and I them.

The walk didn’t seem to bother me.

I felt time on my side, and nothing hanging on my shoulders. I felt like a piece of fuzz from a dandelion someone blew into the air.

The people whom turned my head, appeared the same way.

In front of me, far into the distance.

I seen a woman with her hand up. She waved back and forth, like a flag in a gentle breeze. At first I squinted my eyes, and forehead, in wonder, who this could be?

I got closer, and  recognized my Grandma.

She looked to be in her late forties early fifties. Her skin smooth and radiant just like I described the other people to you..

Her hair was short, black, thick, freshly, curled, and set. I waved back at her as she stared into my eyes, with that smile that lit up her cheeks. I had to keep moving with the clouds and she kept moving too, staying in the distance, letting me know she’s always with me.

A GIFT from God, I BELIEVE to get me through the times we are not together…

Fiction or Non Fiction?

You’re FREE to decide.

Room 134 And Voices On The Radio

I’m working overtime today. Which is nothing new. I was in a funk when I first clocked in.

First, because today is my day off.

2.) This is my eighth straight day in a row.

3.) Once again, I was offered day shift. After sixteen years of working evenings, I had to decline. The way my husband, and I have our schedules work with raising Gabe. My husband works mornings, and I work evenings.

Working evenings, here at the home never ceases to amaze me. I’m always reminded, why I chose this shift.

My schedule was not my only reason.

1.) I wrote of LAUGHTER in my post: She didn’t leave me hanging

2.) I wrote of FAITH in my post: Nosy

3.) I wrote of  LOVE inside both of those post.

Back-paddle to earlier: I’m in a funk making my rounds around the building. One big circle. Karl is in his doorway

Ms. Lady Ms. lady

Could you come over here and help me write a letter? 

Sure I can.

Karl, has developed Dementia these last few years. I’m sure most of his memories are real. I’m just not sure of the timeline. As in, I’m not sure if these people are still living. I will do my best to find out, and I will mail the letter.

In the meantime I want to share with you good people.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin

When I first came to Fairfield many years ago. I heard the voices of you and your wife. Her name is Jen. I heard her voice first. I hope you two are enjoying your retirement? My name is Karl Graff. I would like to tell you about the circus we went to a long time ago. I’m trying to find somebody who knows how I can get the Guidepost on cassette. I forgot the gentlemen who took your place? I always enjoyed your voices on the radio they sounded so good!

Your friend, Karl Graff

 

 

For Some, The Bell Still Rings

A few days before Christmas. A few of the residents asked the CNA if she’d be working on Christmas? She cleared her throat, caught her breath, as she guided five (Visually Impaired) residents into the dining room for supper.

“Yes” she hollered!

A few of the residents, cheered. They told her about gifts their family sent them in the mail. They asked her if she would stop by their rooms, and sit with them so they could open their gifts with her? She said she would be glad too, she only had forty other residents to take care of!

She worked straight through the morning without sitting down to drink her traditional spiked Egg Nog!

Finally, lunch was over, and her choirs were done. She headed down to Karl’s room. She called him Karl because he reminded her of the main character off of the movie  Sling Blade. He  was about three inches shorter, hunched  over, and sounded like him when he talked.

She went into his apartment, and he asked her to grab his box on the bed? She put the box on his lap, and sat directly across from him. The box was taped up on all four sides. He worked hard trying to the pull the tape off himself, for sometime. She didn’t offer to help him right away, she could tell by the smile on his face he was enjoying the fact he had something to open.

He turned the box to each corner to see if one side was easier than the other. He stopped a few times, bringing the box up to his ear and giving the box a shake. She asked him if he would like help? He replied in his raspy, nasally, loud voice, yes! 

She opened one side of the box, and gave it back to him. He ripped the other side open himself, and quickly tossed the wadded paper out that had been put in for padding. The aid could see there was individual presents inside for him to un-wrap.

Karl, was so excited about getting his box open. He pulled his first present out of the box like a rocket-ship over his head, then waved the gift with victory!

look what I got, look what I got, look what got!

Tiny, Mighty, And Picture Incher

fullsizerender-1

Tiny room, tiny radio, tiny television, and MIGHTY spirit!

I read an article on the Daily Post, encouraging us to post from our phones or tablets. (Which is well worth the read). I’m at work this evening. My showers are done, my medicines are passed, and one resident is walking the halls, and another resident is in the snack room. I have a bit of time on my hands.

Here is a tiny story.

If you follow me, you know I work in a Supportive Living Facility as a Nursing assistant. I work with the Blind, and talk about my residents on occasion. If you’re new to my blog, and have a minute, read here to close in on the buzz.

Friday, our nursing supervisor talked to Emmett about how she needed to cut back on the amount of soda she’s been drinking. She told her to only drink soda on the holidays.

Emmet, agreed and went back to her room.

A few hours later she came out of her room, passed the nurses office, and into the snack room where the soda machine sits.

She puts her first quarter into the machine, and says:

This is for Veterans Day, second quarter, this is for Thanksgiving, and her third quarter this ones for Christmas!

Reading And Writing And The Places They Have Taken Me

I have a small count, of the amount of books, I have read in my life. I wish someone like Bernie Freeman would’ve introduced me, to a love of books, in my childhood. I can’t help to raise my eyes into the rearview, touch the road behind me, wishing  for a portal, to change my “who has time for reading attitude”.

A lot of my high-school years were spent looking through windows of others trying to seal up their cracks, even if there was nothing to seal. I stood there creating a persona of support knowing support would create friendships.

School was not easy for me educationally, socially, or physically. The friends I did have, and still have today, I worked hard for. I wonder if I was able to go back, and change the person I was then. To whom I’m now, in this second. If I would end-up with the same results. I think I would, but I would have saved some energy for the reading, writing, and other educational subjects.

Five years ago, I took a basic English class. The teacher had us first free-writing: she told us to set the timer, and for fifteen minutes write whatever came to our minds. She said: “Don’t  worry about any grammar, just write”. We did this for a few weeks in and out of the classroom. She would also have us reading “Dead End in Norvelt” Which I instantly drew interest in the American author: Jack Gantos. She would have questions for us after every chapter and then ask us to describe in detail how we felt about the chapter. She also brought in a jean jacket, of hers. The jacket had been personalized. She wanted us to pick one material item, meaningful to us, and describe in detail what the material looked like on the outside, but also what the piece meant to us on the inside. She had us write our first draft in the beginning of the class, the second in the middle, then the third, fourth and fifth. Then at the end of our last class she showed us how far our writing had come from the beginning.

The final came around, and of course the topic the teacher had for the essay, took me all of the two hours. I poured my heart out writing about an old colleague of mine. After she told me “times up’.  She met me at the door, and took my paper. I was embarrassed, because I cry when I write. I was hoping to bow my head, put the essay on her desk, and get the hell out of dodge!

“Shelley I know you’re going to school for nursing, but I think you should continue an education in writing. A lot of people have a hard time tuning into the characters of  books they read, and you seem to do this well. I have enjoyed reading your work and hope to see you when time allows. Keep practicing”

I then found this platform and met others who encouraged me, as well.

A little over a year ago I started reading a blog about a mother, who writes to her daughter. She writes beautiful content, about life and the lessons she has learned. She led me to self discovery when she wrote about an old flame here. And how she ended the relationship without any explanation.

“I stopped talking to him altogether. And it was the cruelest and kindest thing I could think of”.

When commenting on her post about this particular line. I explained to her how she showed to me his side of the story instead of my own. Then she wrote a post on poetry where she removed another road block. One, I had put up myself. I used to think certain poetry was above me, and I wasn’t smart enough to read and understand certain poets and the poems they wrote.

“Poetry, though, is like a window on train: You see through it what you want to see, while simultaneously, the glass reflects you back. What I mean by “you own it,” is that your interpretation is equally valid to the poem’s meaning as that of the Poet’s. Too many people read poetry as if they’re trying to get to the right answer”.

I found myself diving into poetry on social media here. Author: Lang Leav writes brevity poems, powerful snippets about life and love. On her page, I then found Leo Christopher who wrote this:

“You assume I chose the most painful path, That my actions hurt you the most, but you’ll never know the sacrifices I made to spare you much grater heartache, sometimes that is the best love can do”.

Through these writers I was able find the peace from the past of my first love.

A while back Alyssa, you wrote a letter explaining where you’re with God. I try not to preach, although in person, you may tag me as such. I do not spit out verses because, I have never read the bible. I have gone to church and feel I have given my life to God. A while back I fell off the wagon of attending church.

I tried befriending a family from the church I was attending. They shot me down, snubbed me, and on my third attempt I could have sworn, I received an eye roll. I thought to myself.  This place is full of shit! However, I continue to pray and thank God for my family. I don’t have answers on why bad things happen or why he lets them happen. I do know, as you have shown me, in many post, like the examples I gave above. There is another side of the story.

When you wrote Leaning-into-the-lyre-on-the-occasion-that-you-need-hope, again with all your links you helped me understand depression, which my mother (step-mom) has suffered half my life.  On this particular blog post you posted another link  to a blogger who takes you “down the rabbit hole” of Sexual abuse. She compares her life to Virgina Woolf another writer I have heard of, but knew nothing about. When reading Woolf’s suicide letter.  I instantly heard my moms voice. She never committed suicide, but there were many times she wanted too. I was sorry for thinking one could come out of such hell so easily. I thank my mom, Lin from those depths, for loving my father all these years the way she has. I know you have made my father a happy man.

I’m no longer standing outside people’s windows to try to seal up cracks. I’m sitting here looking out my own window. Reading, writing, and getting educated. So, maybe one day, instead of trying to support the world. I can support myself and in turn. Be the person, I have always been.

Tell Me Something Good

I have been down in the dumps. Instead of posting “what’s on my mind” on social media I would rather post here in front of most who don’t know me. I’m searching for words or a post of encouragement. To flip my flat as a pancake spirit over. Feel free to leave an uplifting comment, link to post, joke, or words of wisdom. I’m looking for anything to lighten my mood.

Hardwood Table

My mind

Sits at the table

Inside out

Outside In

All these sounds

Screaming in

Locust humming

Motors running

Cars Honking

someone coughing

feet tapping

Table squeaks

Blood boiling

Hard to breath

Fist clinched

Grinding teeth

racing heart

Whats wrong

With me

All this noise

Quiet shouts

Shouting at me

Calling me out!