Sleepless at Midnight

I’m not a morning person.

Detail of Stained Glass Window, First Presbyterian Church, Everett, Washington;
photo credit mine

Oh, I appreciate the early morning quiet — the solitude, the peacefulness of taking my first cuppa in holy silence — but it is a rare event. Because sleep is precious and important, and sleep doesn’t come easily to me; it never has. As a child I had many nights where I watched magic numbers on the newfangled digital clock.

  • 10:01
  • 10:10
  • 11:11
  • 11:22
  • 11:33
  • 11:44
  • 11:55
  • 11:59 as it turned to 12:00, the dot moving from the AM to PM position.
  • 12:12
  • 12:21
  • 12:34
  • 12:51 …a mirror image on a digital clock, the colon symbol reversing the image
  • 1:01
  • 1:11
  • 1:23

I didn’t see all those numbers every night, but I often saw at least half of them. It’s not confusing to me why I had so much trouble waking up in time to go to school, although I’m sure it perturbed my father who was the parent at home on those mornings.

Unfortunately, it appears I have passed that trait down to several of my own children.
Sorry, guys! You managed to get many traits from your father, but this is one you got from me.

Two Years Later

DSCN3432 Senior pic 4x6 WEBSIZED

Two years ago on July 3rd, sometime around 6:00 in the evening, The Scout was climbing a tree when some branches broke. He fell twenty-three feet to the ground, landing on his back.

He was alone.

He got up and after several attempts, managed to walk home, grab an ice pack and lay down on the sofa.  He was rather stoic but clearly in pain.  The Barefooter went back to the site of the accident and retrieved his glasses for him.

The CT scans have been clear (no bleeding) and visits with neurology and physical therapy have made very little difference. He has seen an osteopath. He has a new neurologist.

Eagle Scout

The Scout graduated from high school last month, miraculously earning A’s and B’s from the few classes he could manage. We are grateful for his 504 Accommodation and the support and understanding from the school staff, teachers and counselor.  Graduation and finally earning his Eagle Scout rank have been highlights of the past year.

This young man does not give up. He does not complain. He would rather be busy and doing something rather than sitting around waiting to feel better. He persisted in looking for a part-time job and spent the last weeks of high school doing both school and work.

WEBSIZED 5x7 brick pic The Scout

This young man wrote a short story for my Mother’s Day gift this year.  With one of his first paychecks, he purchased a nice steak as a Father’s Day gift.  This is who he is. Even without these gifts, we are so grateful to have our son with us.  He’ll be turning 19 years old in a few short weeks.
We keep hoping and praying for positive change and full recovery.


Z is for…

Count your blessings, name them one by one…

DSCN0245 SIGNIt’s taken me over eleven months but we have finally come to the end.  I’m following through on my promise to use Thursday posts to focus on thankfulness — and instead of counting blessings, I’ve challenged myself to come up with them alphabetically.  (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)

Welcome to week!

Back when I started with the letter A, I quoted the first page of Dr. Seuss’ ABC book, so it only seems appropriate that I end the alphabet the same way:

 BIG Z… little z… What begins with Z?

I do. I am a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, as you can plainly see.

Oh, how I love you, Dr. Seuss!

Z is for zinnias and zebras and perhaps most importantly of all, SLEEP  Zzzzzzzzzzz.

It doesn’t matter if you are a new parent or an aging one, naps should be taken whenever they become available.


MM and SuperDad in the early days

(Sneaking in a few Time Warp Tuesday / Throwback Thursday pics here!)


Now it’s your turn:

Please share some things for which you are thankful…

Bonus points of you can come up with Z words!


Once upon a time, there were 3 little boys:

From left: EB, MM, and H-J

From left: EB, MM, and H-J — Germany, 1997

And then they grew up.

MusicMan went off to college 3,000 miles away from home.
The following summer, we moved much closer and Encyclopedia Blue  joined his older brother at college a mere 80 miles from home.

From left: MM, H-J, and EB Fall 2012

From left:
MM, H-J, and EB — August 2012

In a few more weeks, MM and his wife will graduate from college. One month after that, Humorous-Juniorous will graduate from high school and begin his own journey to college.

My four boys, summer 2000. Note the very dark tan hand around the baby's middle.

My four boys, summer 2000, El Paso, TX. Note the very tan hand around the baby’s middle.

The baby of the family will be the only one living at home with Mom and Dad.

SnakeMaster, age 1 year

SM, July 2000

Although he’s not so little anymore!

SnakeMaster hiking at Yosemite National Park

SnakeMaster hiking at Yosemite National Park — April 2014


Y is for…

Count your blessings, name them one by one…

DSCN0245 SIGNIt’s back — and almost at the end! After a hiatus of several months, I’m following through on my promise to use Thursday posts to focus on thankfulness — and instead of counting blessings, I’ve challenged myself to come up with them alphabetically.  (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)

Welcome to Y week.


Y is for Yellow, the color of pollen for this happy bee. Note the full pollen sac

Y is for Yellow, the color of pollen for this happy bee. Note the full pollen sac


It isn't the Yellow Rose of Texas, but a yellow cactus bloom in the Arizona springtime is a close second.

It isn’t the Yellow Rose of Texas, but a yellow cactus bloom in the Arizona springtime is a close second.


September 1992: MusicMan holding 2-day old Encyclopedia Blue for the very first time

September 1992: MusicMan holding 2-day old Encyclopedia Blue for the very first time

Y is also for yell.  Most of the time, we don’t wish for children to be yelling but when it comes to a newborn, a lusty yell is a happy sign of health.   (Sneaking in a Time Warp Tuesday / Throwback Thursday pic here, too!)
Bonus: EB has yellow trim on his “going home outfit.” 


 Y is for yardage…

Me, peeking over the quilt top

Me, peeking over the quilt top

I have plenty of hobbies — definitely more than I have time to do on a weekly basis — but nevertheless, I was bit by the quilting bug a few years ago.  I can’t tell you how much yardage is in this quilt that I made after MM & Rapunzel were married. (Answer: a lot!)

2013 May 001 Always look on the bright side of life

Now it’s your turn:

Please share some things for which you are thankful…

Fairy Tale Family pic

I had a plan for My Town Monday which involved taking more photos than I managed to take over the weekend. Perhaps it can show up on Friday as a two-fer (2-for-1 post).

Instead, I can offer you this Time Warp Tuesday shot from the spring of 1995:

Schloss Heidelberg, May 1995

I spent nearly an hour searching for this pic for my husband this morning. “We were standing on the parapet at the Heidelberg Castle. You were wearing your navy blue pea coat.”  I couldn’t find it. He finally remembered that it was in an album he had in his closet. He needed me to photograph it so he could use it in a PowerPoint presentation this Sunday (he’ll be giving a message on the Heidelberg Catechism).

That boy with the determined look on his face is now 21 years old and will be coming home this weekend for his spring break.


Time Warp Tuesday: Scholar

There's a reason we call him Humorous-Juniorous.

Photo taken in March of 2008.  There’s a reason we call him Humorous-Juniorous.

senior picture

H-J’s senior picture

Say hello to a National Merit Scholarship finalist.

H-J, however, doesn’t see himself as different from the rest of the kids at school who go to class, do their homework, and try their best.  He’s pretty sure that he isn’t any “better” than many of his classmates.

All of these awards make him a little bit uncomfortable.

But sometimes a mama needs to brag about her kind, smart, funny kid — and this is one of those times. 

He loves to learn and has applied to nine different universities, stretching from coast to coast.  He hasn’t visited a single one of those colleges.  His final decision will be based upon financial aid packages and variety of programs offered by the school.

Now we wait for Spring and the letters of acceptance.


Time Warp Tuesday: December

I looked back to see my early December post from 2012 and discovered this:

My cat is helping me rest.

My cat was helping me rest.

Last year at this time, I was sitting with my feet up on the sofa, taking pain meds and wearing fleece pants over a “boot” due to foot surgery.   This year, Frankenboot is a distant memory. My toe that received the majority of surgical attention isn’t 100% but it is livable. Ugly, but livable.

Our tree is up and decorated as of December 8th, but I am yet again/still behind on preparing for Christmas in a myriad of ways.  Last year I could blame surgery; this year, I can blame my work schedule — but really, this happens every year because I am a procrastinator. 

Luckily, I do love fall decorations…



Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.

TWT: Visiting my dad

Grandpa Jim and Jake

Grandpa with his first grandson (my oldest son, named for him) in October 1991

You probably know that I just got back from another trip to see my dad in Arizona.  He’s definitely slowly going downhill these days.  Once upon a time — just over 22 years ago — he stood tall at 6’2.5″.  (This picture is also proof that once upon a time — just over 22 years ago — my oldest son was a bit pudgy! You’d never believe it by looking at him now.)

Yes, I am a P.K. (preacher’s kid). Yes, he baptized my 2 oldest sons, although this photo was not taken on that particular day.

But 22 years have passed. On Sunday afternoon, I was pushing a wheelchair for my dad instead of a stroller for my son. Dad can maneuver about by himself but it is with tiny steps on the floor and tiny rolls of the wheel under his hands. I don’t want to take away his independence but I also don’t want to wear him out, so I had to balance his desire to do it all on his own with my desire to not let him wear himself out. He has advancing Parkinson’s Disease and is still in denial about what he can and can’t do. For instance, he can’t get out of bed on his own… but he still tries, especially at night when he becomes confused more easily. Some of this behavior is due to the dementia and some of it is due to stubbornness. The staff puts an alarm under the bed pad, which goes off when he starts to maneuver his way off the bed. It gives them enough warning to come running before he falls. While I was there this past weekend, he didn’t want me to think that he was incapable of anything, so he transferred himself onto the toilet. He announced that he was going to use the bathroom with such nonchalance that I was fooled; he knew he wasn’t supposed to do it, but he was determined. It was a delicate situation: I was trying to give him privacy and trust… but also questioning him. Eventually, he admitted that he had done something against the rules. This was after he wore himself out trying to get back off the toilet. He could not stand up and was in great danger of falling. He refused to push his call button so I went in search of help.
I won’t go into details, but in the end he was appropriately chided but also given due respect — and we all let him think that I didn’t really know what was going on. Dignity is important to everyone.

One of the other residents offered Dad the use of this patriotic "campaign" hat, so I snapped a photo.

Dignity is important… even if you are wearing a silly plastic hat.

I know that he sometimes feels that he is a prisoner because he has voiced it as such. Yes, he is a prisoner of PD in his own body, but he also feels stuck in one place — a very nice place. In the past, I have tried to get him to agree to getting in the car and going for a drive but he declined the offer. Almost 2 years ago, he was in a transport van coming back from an appointment at the clinic when another vehicle rammed into the side of the van. It broke his wheelchair and banged him up pretty badly (like most older folks, he bruises easily). After that, he refused to ride in a vehicle. The nurse and sometimes even the doctor come to see him instead. But with time and PD dementia, he let that detail slip from memory and suggested that I take him for a drive to see the sights around Tucson, entirely forgetting that the safest (and quite nearly the only) way to move him from one position to another is with a Hoyer sling. So instead, I got permission from the staff (who all thought I was underestimating the difficulty) and took Dad for a walk down the long hilly driveway, across the road, and up the steep driveway of the other two houses that make up his assisted living facility complex. He questioned my ability the whole way over to the other houses but clearly I impressed him because he didn’t question me on the way back! The caregivers across the road were surprised and pleased to see him. (Dad couldn’t remember being there before, but I was assured that this was not his first visit. Score again for dementia.)  I suspect this was the highlight of the weekend for my dad, being out and about on a lovely day.

Grandpa Jim & Karen

What he probably won’t remember is that at lunch on Sunday, when I got up to refill my water glass, he snitched a piece of zucchini bread off my plate.  I’d heard from his caregivers that this has been a problem, that he had been doing this to other residents. I had also seen him eyeing things on the kitchen counter (leftover pie, for instance) with full intent to snag them when no one was looking, so I wasn’t really surprised to see my plate empty when I returned to the table.  I’d baked a loaf of zucchini bread at home and brought it as a gift for him. It was not a big deal that he took a piece of bread off my plate, but I was pretty sure that he would deny it if I “called him on it.” He had dropped it onto his own plate where it nearly blended in with his own food. (And yes, he had a large slice of his own zucchini bread!)

Lord, when I am old and in a care facility, please don’t let me steal food from other people, the countertop, or the garbage can!    [Yes, he does that, too.]

Me and my dad, May 2008

Me and my dad, May 2008

It was just 5-1/2 years ago that he drove himself around the perimeter of the contiguous United States. He spent 30 days in total, driving alone — which scared all of us — and had a wonderful time visiting family and friends in Washington State, Idaho, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Florida before returning to Arizona.  The picture here was taken in May of 2008 at my home in Virginia.


**Edited to include pictures from my trip after my camera arrived in the mail from Thrifty Car Rental company. It was well-worth the $24.75 to have it shipped to me!**