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.

Grace

Have you guy’s ever had Mrs.Freshly’s Pecan Twirls? I love to put butter on them, heat them up, and have them with my coffee.

On weekends, when my grandma was living. I would stay the night with her, and in the morning we would wake up, and she would fix us a plate of these rolls, with a cup of coffee. We would sit at her kitchen table and chat like friends.

Those deep belly talks we would have damn near made me feel like I was on vacation. I know YOU know what I’m talking about because anyone who has a friend knows what a good talk can do for you.

My grandma, as I got older, opened up a  bit about her life, not her whole life. She would say: “some things are none of your business.” She did share more insight about her family though. I asked her during one of our talks. Why, her side of the family was not as welcoming as she was?  Her eyes peered right into my eyes, her lips pressed against each other, forming a slight smile, barely opening her mouth.

“Shelley, are you trying to tell me my family is stuck-up?

We both let out a chuckle, and she sits quietly for a moment pondering if she’s going to move on with the answer, and she did. She told me not to focus so much on what I seen on the surface of people’s lives. No one has a perfect life, and NONE of us our perfect or better than anyone else.” Then she let me in on a few facts to support her argument. I won’t share those facts, just in case my blog goes viral, and gets into the wrong hands….

The other day, a lady from a few towns away from me, posted a video on fb. The video, went viral. She tells us in the video about her, and her husband going to Dairy Queen to take advantage of Free ice-cream cone day. They decide to sit outside because of the warm weather we were having. They were talking and enjoying their cones, when a car full of guys STOP in the middle of traffic to yell “enjoy your ice-cream you fat blip.” She spends fifteen minutes crying, and decides to go live on fb. Her message, touches on how WE don’t know anything about her, or the fact she’s been on a diet for almost two years. She also brings up where she’s at mentally in her life. She ask them.”What if your words were the straw that broke the camels back?” She clarify’s: she’s not in suicidal place, but what if she was at that point? Then she goes on to tell them she prays for them, and don’t hold any grudges!

The message I GOT from her. Is she was sticking up more for  others. This tells ME more about who and where she is in her life. The guys in the car were WRONG, by all means. I’m not going to go and on, about these guys. Unfortunately, this will do no good, for ME. I will only become, furious. I’ll say things I have no right saying.

I have no POWER to take back, what THEY said, neither does anyone else. They may, or may not resent how they made her feel.

I pinched this girl once when I was in school. The kind of pinch you only take a tiny piece of skin, and dig your two nails, into what you got a hold of. I knew it hurt. Her eye’s instantly let out these huge tears, along with a cough, because she couldn’t catch her breath. The teachers rushed over, asked her what happened, grabbed me by the arm, and marched me down to the principles office. I can’t tell you to this day, why I pinched her. The teachers, and principle spent the day trying to figure out, why I would do such a thing. They made me apologize, which was understandable. I wasn’t sorry though.

I woke up one day in my twenties, and have thought about that day ever since. I can’t tell you the time, and places. I think about her, or that day. I will tell YOU this.

Amy,

I’m so sorry I hurt you physically, and emotionally that day. I realize YOU might have moved on from that day. I though, will remember YOU till my dying day. We were friends, and I betrayed you. I hope you can forgive me. I understand if we can’t hang out, that is not what this is about. This is about, grace.

I know EVERYONE, could use, some GRACE.

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

 

 

Christmas Eve, And Christmas Day

I would like to share how our Christmas went. This was the first year, my husband had his children here on Christmas. We had them the day after Christmas last year, and we were grateful. This year even more so, because all of our kids were together on Christmas morning.

Gabe, woke up at about 12:30 a.m and informed me Santa had been here. He climbed into bed right beside me, and was shaking to the point I thought something was wrong. I asked him if he was alright? 

Yes, Mom I’m so excited!

He did tell me his legs were hurting. He gets growing pains during the night. (The doctor is aware and has told me they’re growing pains). We got up to get him pain reliever, and as we walked through the kitchen, he stopped, and stared into the living-room at our small white tree, with gifts underneath.

I could stand here all night, mom!

I chuckled, gave him his medicine, and told him we had to go back to bed. I drift off for about an hour and a half and wake up to him telling his brother:

I got another Bowser amibo! 

I slapped Steven  awake, and told him their in their opening presents! He hops right up like someone is breaking into the house. Before he leaves the room, I said don’t yell their excited. I hear him say:

Did you open all your gifts without us…

Gabe, continued to tell him what he got. He pushed him back to bed, and told him to not get up until morning.

They all woke up around 8:00 a.m and we watched them open their presents. I was worried, because a few of them had a bit more than the other. Neither one of our children said anything about their amount of presents.

This was also the first year, I did Christmas dinner. Steve asked me if we could have dinner here since he had to take the kids back the next morning, I agreed. I kept dinner real simple, especially being my first time. We had a ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green been casserole, and rolls. I burnt the rolls.

I sipped on Bailey’s’ while I cooked. It felt good, to know, I had two more days off to spend  with my family. Steve’s Mom helped me clean up, and do dishes. She said I did a nice job, and that this was the first time in twenty-two years she had off the hook from having Christmas dinner at her house.

My Step-daughter, practiced her flute downstairs, and I watched. She is making great progress. She played a favorite of mine.

I dreamed a dream

When she was done, she went upstairs to call her Mom. She told her Merry Christmas, and asked her if they could stay one more night. Her Mom said, Yes.

I must admit.

This was a great Christmas.

He used all the good notes!

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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!

Tanka Challenge: Vacant workshop

halloween-1725786_640

Open the shutters

Halloween decor all over

Dust as thick as thieves

Cobwebs swaying to and fro

Time to gut all these pumpkins

 

This is my first attempt with Tanka, I participated in a challenge offered by: Ramblings Of A Writer

week 16 – Decorations & pumpkins

Thank you, for this challenge, I enjoyed myself!

I’m hoping I did all of this right?

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.