Friday, November 12, 2010

It's November!

It seems like today is our one day of Fall in Texas. Some of the leaves have changed colors but this fall our temps have been too high to get maximum color out of the leaves. Oh well, maybe next year.

Overall, I am still doing very well. I keep almost too busy but my friends and family have been fabulous at keeping in touch. This lifts my spirits tremendously. Honestly, my primary emotion has been one of gratitude for the many gifts from Fred and God, my home, my family, my job, my friends, and the overpowering sense that I am truly loved. I am a bit wary of the upcoming holidays as I do not want to get maudlin and depressed. Somehow, I don't think that the grandchildren will let me! And we have the new baby to look forward to in January...a granddaughter! But I am planning to spend Christmas snuggling up to my wonderful grandsons, all of them!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lifechanging Events

August added Samuel Scott Sullivan to our lives. Little Sam arrived at 9 lbs 11 oz, and is absolutely beautiful! He enjoyed sleeping on my chest a number of times, which his Nonna enjoys even more than Sam does! Lawyer Girl and the Virology Professor are great parents, and all is well in Austin.

While I was in Austin, Tex stayed in respite care for 4 days. When he came home, he developed another urinary tract infection, which ultimately took him Home on September 22nd. His death brought great sadness and a tremendous appreciation for the ways this kind and loving man touched the lives of those around him. I was privileged to be holding him as he gently left this world, and for that, I am profoundly grateful. I honestly feel that "he's only going over Jordan, he's only going over home" as the song says. Life is and forever will be greatly changed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Waiting and Waiting for Baby S.

I am having a hard time waiting for my daughter's baby to come. It has brought up memories of my labor and delivery of my two children, both of which were pretty positive experiences. Part of it is that I know what she is facing and she does not. It will be unlike anything she has ever done before, something where your intellect does not get to be in charge, where your body takes over, and you work HARD. Lawyer Girl is in very good physical shape, she has exercised this whole pregnancy, and the baby seems to be in very good shape. Nevertheless, I am having a tough time relaxing and going with the flow, wanting it to be over. She is much more relaxed about it than I am.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Waiting for the newest creation

Any day now we will get to meet the newest little creation of Lawyer Girl and the Mad Scientist. Is he going to be known as the Nematode Brief or the Microvirus Lawsuit? He will certainly make a major splash in the Gr-Su pond! All is ready for him now, lovely nursery, excited parents and grandparents... Any time little guy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Midsummer Dream

My neighbor reminded me yesterday that summer is half over, and school will start in six weeks. Where has the time gone? I have done so very little in the way of accomplishments but a great deal of resting, relaxing, and napping. Mornings are my favorite time of day. We have coffee out on the deck nearly every morning, visiting and watching the birds. I kept buying plants and flowers until I found some that I could not kill, so the backyard is pretty and fragrant. My dear friend in the neighborhood often stops by after walking her dog. Sometimes Tex is up with us, and sometimes not. His health is on an upswing right now so we are able to enjoy the mornings together. Life is sweet in the mornings. I am learning to look for and accept the things of beauty that the Lord has provided.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Post retirement

I haven't blogged in a long time, and I am not sure why. So much going on, with the end of school and the actual fact of my retirement. It has been an emotional time, even though I know this is the right thing to do. Mornings we sit out on the deck and have coffee, watching the birds. Sometimes with Fred and sometimes with my neighbor Sherry. I have had a lot of errands to run, and seem to have settled in for a quick nap while Fred sleeps in the afternoon. I try to read but instead, I match his breathing and go to sleep.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

End of the Year and the End of a Career

One of the things I wanted to get done before I retired was to get the house in good repair. Even though I am retiring a year earlier than I had planned, I am actually getting it all done. My fabulous contractor Jody has put in 10 new windows in the back room overlooking the pool, along with moving the door around to the north side of the back yard. This gives us a gorgeous view of the pool and plants. We will also have a gated deck so that the little grandchildren can actually play outside. I never thought that I would live in such a beautiful house as this is turning out to be!

I have taught my last class; all that is left is to balance the grades, write the annual report, and pack my things and bring them home. Closets have been cleaned out, lots of stuff given to the church garage sale, and even the office has been improved some (I have to have a mess somewhere or it won't feel like home.)

The students and faculty gave me such a tribute last Friday night at the BSSW Student Banquet that I am still enjoying the glow from it. I feel that at the apex of my career I was respected, loved, and going to be missed. What a great way to leave! One of the things I have always believed is to leave while people still want you to stay.

Here is what was written on the plaque they presented to me:

For impeccable service and dedication to the social work field.
You were a mentor, an advocate, and you motivated us to succeed.
You made a difference in our lives.
The BSW students of UNT.

Then each one of the students wrote an individual note as well.
Who could want to accomplish any more than this?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Thoughts

My flowers are abundant this spring--lots of pansies, daffodils, coreopsis, batflowers, and the first iris bloomed yesterday, the Megan Elizabeth iris! I am actually enjoying some of the work I have done in the flower beds!

I seem to be a somewhat different person right now. Fred came home about 10 days ago; far from feeling trapped in the house with him, I am enjoying taking care of him at times. He cannot walk, he can hardly make transfers, I often have to feed him because of the severe tremors, and he can't be left alone. But I find myself strangely peaceful about it all. It is wonderful to have him to kiss and cuddle. Of course, there are moments when I don't know what to do and feel panic, but mostly, I am quite content staying in the house with him. Part of this is because of the wonderful support system we have, with hospice nurse and aides, Janine is back from Kind Companions, friends coming by to visit etc. If you had asked me even a year ago if I could care for him when he is bedridden, I would have said "no." How often I forget that God gives us the grace to deal with each day as it comes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Emotional Spring

It is Spring here in Texas, trees blooming with white pear blossoms everywhere, daffodils coming up etc. And Tex is still in the hospital, having spent 10 days at home since the middle of November. Lots of UTI's which can no longer be prevented, according to the urologist. He wants to come home; I want him home. After being on the 24 hour care circuit for 4 UTI's in 4 months, I think we can care for him as well at home. The emotional issue is whether or not to initiate hospice care. I believe that it is time. Bird Girl is leery that her father will not get the care he needs to fight the UTI's agressively. It will take a combination of hospice and home health care to do that, now that he only responds to IV antibiotics. I think that we can do this, and that he needs to be home. Maybe he can pull off another miracle; he has done this before. Maybe our time together is running out. Regardless, we want to spend it together. Please keep Tex, me, and our whole family in your prayers.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Year 21

Tex has been back home for a few days now so we are slowly laying down some new routines. He is in a wheelchair now so getting around is a bit more cumbersome. The lightweight folding chair is a godsend! It is soooo good to have him home!
It has been good to have the part-time caregiver back to help out and to teach me some easier ways to do things. He wants to try going to church tomorrow; keep your fingers crossed for us.

We had a fabulous 20th wedding anniversary party, just two weeks ago! Lots of family and a few dear friends came to celebrate with us. The food was delicious and the company was even better.

All is well on the home front.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland!

Well, chickadees, it has been snowing and snowing and snowing here at the R & R Ranch. Here in the Lone Star State, we get an occasional inch or two of snow, which causes everyone to get all excited, schools to close, and we all have a SNOW Day. Now, I have lived in cold country and I know what real blizzards are like, but we are having a blizzard here! So far, between 7 and 9 inches. And it will ice over tonight! Yipes! What that really means is that I will not get to go to GrandFriends Day at the Little Cowpoke's school. Darn!

Other news: Tex and I have been married for 20 years, as of yesterday. We are going to have a luncheon for family and a very few friends on Saturday. (Weather should permit!) Being married to Tex has been remarkably easy, all things considered. A few life situations have been thrown at us, but we are more in love than ever. That boy has a capacity for love that is absolutely phenomenol. I have truly learned about God's love from watching Tex.

His health seems to have stabilized although there continue to be UTI's. So, we are planning to have him come home after the DOK retreat. Hooray! We know his health is fragile but God has brought us this far, and there have been some very good years while his body continues to do its Parkonsonism thing. We have been truly blessed!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mid-January Goings-On

The Ranch house is getting knee-deep in dust again as the workmen gut the second bathroom! But I will love having my walk-in shower and vanity area updated. I picked out the tile yesterday, spending a fortune at the local Lowe's. Tex's bathroom is completely done, complete with matching towels, etc. Unfortunately, the vanity is piled high with both Tex's and my bathroom gear on the top.

Tex himself is making slow progress, but progress nonetheless. With the help of a wheelchair van, I was able to bring him home for a few hours on the weekend. It wasn't easy, but it was doable. Why was I so exhausted afterward? I am going over to the Rehab center to work with him on getting in and out of our car, so I don't have to spend $$ on a van next time.

I am loving having more time at home to get things done, even things like yardwork (eek!) and laundry etc. I guess my Inner Housekeeper is coming out. (Honest, no one has ever even seen a glimpse of her before. Not in my whole life.)

When I was feeling really blue on Monday, I piled into my trusty Honda and took a trip to East Dallas to have lunch with my son Bud and the two Little Cowpokes. It did my spirits and my heart a world of good just to be with them for a couple of hours. The 6 year old Cowpoke gives the best-est hugs and just grinned when he saw me come in. The Baby Cowpoke smiled, gummed his finger food, and showed off his new self-feeding skills. They are such wonderful, wonderful kids. Not that this Nonna is prejudiced but I am simply reporting the facts.

Dryheat Dan called me last night to tell me that his Mother-in-law Kathleen had died yesterday, at age 83. Evidently it was a very peaceful death. I have had such love for her ever since she helped my mother with my dad's death. I'm glad that I got to visit with her a few months ago. She was a beautiful and gracious lady, who was cheerful, loving all those around her, even as she slid quietly into senility. May Light shine upon her, and all those who loved her. My sister-in-law Irish Ani took care of her for the last few years of her life, until she simply required 24 hour care. I am reminded once again what good people are in my family. Please pray for the soul of Kathleen, and comfort in grief for Ani and Dan.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year/New Life

Well, it's official. I am going to be teaching one class this semester while I exhaust my leave balances and work one quarter time! Hurrah! Hurrah! At the end of May, I will officially retire from UNT. I actually decided to retire at the end of January and adjunct one class, but this arrangement works out better for us financially as well as having the advantage of keeping things clean with the Teacher's Retirement System which says I cannot work or volunteer in any capacity for 30 days after retiring. It will give me more time to be with Tex as well as be much less hectic than the last 60 days.

Also on a happy note, I had dinner with my dear friends from the Pastoral Care group which has been more or less dissolved by our new Deacon. We decided that we would meet quarterly as a group since we have become so close over the past years. I absolutely love these ladies and have missed getting together with them as a group over the fall.

My house is covered in dust and a bit of mess as the contractors are working on my new bathrooms, one of which is being widened for Tex and one of which is being turned into a lovely shower for me. It should all be back to normal in a couple of weeks.

Well, I need to go see Tex at his Hacienda Por Rehab on this bitterly cold day, one for the record books. Fortunately, very little ice came with this Arctic Blast.