Wednesday, May 30, 2012

talk to the hand

There is no end a Grammy will go to when she is trying to maintain peace in her house.  Especially when that is a fragile peace that has run amok because the two year old has smacked the six year old with a push toy, and the six year old is crying like he is dying, and the two year old looks like he is clueless about the whole thing.

I am a relaxed housewife, and grandmother.  Solutions like this one come easy:

1. John smacks Dunc with the above mentioned toy.
2. Dunc starts crying.
3. I am deep in the middle of a painting and trying to juggle research for a project at work at the same time.
4. I look up and see the whole family in my small work room.  (Stevie Wonder and all three grandkids.  Jack is the only GMIA*)  *GMIA=grandchild missing in action
5. I know I have to come up with something fast to get them out, before my creative well runs dry.
6. I try to soothe Dunc, but quickly notice he is milking it for all it is worth.
7. I tell him in a loud, dramatic tone of voice "oh my Dunc, it looks like you might lose that finger, I better do something fast!" (I am not sure which finger it is, they all look fine, so I ask Dunc and after pointing to a couple spots, we settle on the worst one.  It looks just like his other nine fingers.)
8. I tell Stevie W. to get the first aid kit.  He is clueless at this point and tries some fake move, like "we better stitch it up" and I look at him STERNLY and say "GET ME THE FIRST AID KIT NOW!"  He goes to get it.  I tell him to bring the gauze rolls too.
9. He brings everything we have for first aid back to me (he may be slow out of the gate, but he is good for the distance).
10. I unroll some gauze.  At that point Maddie scoffs and says "there's NOTHING WRONG with his hand Grammy".  I look her in the eye and say loudly "OH BUT THERE IS!"  and proceed to start wrapping his hand.  Maddie gets a look on her face that is somewhere between wanting to laugh and looking like she just bit a lemon.
11. Dunc is really into it now.  He holds his hand very still while I wrap it in gauze.  And tape it.  All done with my most professional Nurse Grammy attitude.  Steve has started to laugh by now and left the room.  Dunc's face is 1/2 inch from his hand as I finish taping it. Examining it.  Maddie still has that sour, laughing smirk on her face, her lips pursed tightly together.  As though she knows I am faking this, but she won't say it, just in case Dunc really is wounded.  But she knows.
12. Dunc (who stopped crying the minute I opened the roll of gauze), walks off, staring in fascination at his hand.
13. Maddie looks at me.  Lips still pressed together.  I ask her if she wants her wounds bandaged.  She just grins bigger.  And I know right then, she won't admit she isn't wounded, because if she wants to be part of this, she has to ACT the part.
14. I wrap her hand, she walks off loving every bit of the whole episode, and then I notice.
15. John standing there with his mouth open, wondering what the heck he has just witnessed.  He has no idea what it was, but Maddie and Dunc have something he doesn't.  So I grab the paper tape and put a piece on his hand, in the same place, minus the gauze, because I figure he will rip it right off.

The room has cleared.  I get back to painting.  And it took me less time to perform first aid than it did to write about it.

Score one for Nurse Grammy.

When John went home an hour later, he still had the tape on his hand.

Dunc and Maddie went to bed a while ago, bandages still in place on their hands. is good.
Twitter @jonesbabie

the world in his face

So many times we see photos of fabulous landscapes, vistas so breathtaking we have to stop and look, and imagine what the photographer must have experienced in emotion as the photo was framed in the camera viewfinder, and the shutter clicked.  We are astounded at the beauty of the earth, and all that lies before us.

I feel the same way when I take photos of faces.  The face is a tapestry of infinite expressiveness.  Proof that there is beauty in front of us, that the creativity of the cosmos isn't just in mountains, oceans and vast panoramas.  The beauty I see in faces, of all kinds, proves to me that you can find the world in a teacup, if you look closely.

I spent an hour or so yesterday evening and took some wonderful photos of my  grandchildren playing soccer.  Then the children took a break, and this is what I got when I shot a few photos of my grandson Duncan (in the order I took them):

He had no idea I was shooting him, he was looking at his mom.  You can see the love in his eyes in the last two photos.

I saw the world in his face.

life is good...
Twitter @jonesbabie

Saturday, May 26, 2012

turn your head and cough

This has not been the best couple of weeks of my life.  There were highlights, like the soccer game I got to go to the other evening (6 year olds chasing a ball around a field).  But mostly it's been a period of time when my body has totally failed me.

Two weeks ago today it began.  The cough.  I missed two days of work about a week into the cough, but I figured it would eventually wear itself down.  I got some old cough medicine and started taking it. Which led to...
The zombie effect.  When I took the cough syrup, I wasn't able to hold my head up.  I cut the dose in half, and could hold my head up, but I said and did weird things.  I know I did by the looks I got from co-workers.  Sometimes it was more than looks.  It was laughter.  At me.  The other side effect of the cough syrup was that it gave me amnesia.  So I have lost a significant part of my memory of the past two weeks.

There were days I refused to use medication.  That led to...the Depends effect.  For those of you not living in the United States, Depends are incontinence underwear.  For people who pee their pants.  Which is what I did when I didn't take the cough syrup that caused the zombie effect. 

Total humiliation no matter what I did.  The culmination of the cough, was that I pissed and coughed my way out of the building at work Friday evening.  My body was giving me hell on both ends.  I thought I had suffered the worst.  

Until today.  I was stepping out on the front porch for a moment to look in the flower bed I still haven't planted, except for the few Hostas that my BFF gave me.  Those damn Labs have dug them up at least 4 times.  Sure enough, there were holes in the flower bed and I spotted them as I stepped out.  That stopped mattering as soon as my right foot touched the warmth of the concrete beneath it.

I got shot in the right calf.  At least, it felt like I did.  Then I realized I had just developed the charlie horse from hell.  I screamed and cussed, Stevie Wonder (sitting inside on the couch breaking beans) asked if I needed help and I screamed at him to JUST LET ME SCREAM UNTIL I GET PAST THIS MOMENT.  I thought I was going to die.

(I have a high pain tolerance.  I'm the person who refused pain medication in the Recovery Room after my gall bladder surgery because I DON'T LIKE DRUGS.  I hate feeling doped up and out of control.  So you see why this has been hard on me?)

Until the charlie horse from hell.  Steve offered to get me a muscle relaxer.  After 30 minutes I decided YES I NEEDED IT.  He brought it to me.  A bottle of muscle relaxers I had refused to use when I had a pinched nerve in my neck a while back.  I gulped one down.

And passed out.  COLD.  For at least 4 hours.  And woke up feeling woozy, and with my leg still hurting.

I spent the rest of today learning to walk with the charlie horse from hell in my leg.  It is best when I walk on my toes on my right leg.  But that throws my gait off because I still have drugs in me, and so I am lurching drunkenly all over the house like Chester on Gun Smoke.

And Steve is starting to look more like Marshal Dillon.  

If I start coughing and take more cough syrup, he may start looking like Miss Kitty.

I don't think this is going to be my best weekend.

but life is still good ~cath
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, May 25, 2012

friday soccer moments

"the joie de vivre of children"

 {this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A moment in time I want to capture, to savor and remember.
“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

life is good...
Twitter @jonesbabie

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

snips and snails and puppy dog tails

My house is looking pretty ratty and rundown.  I haven't painted in years, I need a new couch, new carpet, new ceilings, and to finish the remodeling that has been going on for the past 20 years or so.  We do have a new roof on our deck, and screen around it, so I guess that makes it a porch.  New cover for the hot tub should arrive soon, and two new fans to buy and install for the porch, then all I need is new furniture for the porch.

The inside of the house might be finished by the time I die.  I was getting pretty depressed about it, then my darling Stevie Wonder decided to give me a hand getting started with the redecorating on the inside.

He bathed the dogs.

Gabe the sleeping angel
These are not your average dogs.  They are Labrador Retrievers.  Anyone who has a Lab knows what I am talking about.  They look like this when they are little:
Gabe at 12 weeks old

And then they grow overnight into monsters.  Gabe weighs 100 pounds.  One hundred pounds of hard-headed determination.  When Steve told me he was bathing the dogs, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Labs tend to stink.  And ours are normally outdoor dogs, which means I don't have them right under my feet.  Right now Caesar is recuperating from ear surgery (a grooming trip to the vet for the Labs and Biscuit, our other dog that ended up costing us about $850.00), and so we have to keep him in to do post op care every day. Caesar is a calm, well mannered Lab and weighs in at about 75 pounds.  We were getting along just fine until Steve decided he felt sorry for "poor little Gabe" and let him in too.  They were both freshly groomed, but started smelling like dogs, so he knew he had to fix that, or I would throw Gabe back in the yard.

And that is why he bathed them.

Still ok, until he told me (on the phone, because he didn't want me to be too surprised) that while he bathed Caesar, after he had bathed Gabe, that Gabe had decided to give me a hand with the redecorating.

Redecorating done right always begins with painting.

I think you see where I am going with this.

I had leftover paint from the art samples I had done over the weekend for our studio in California.  And I had left the leftover paint on the palette laying out, because I planned to paint some more.
my art table

Gabe got there first.  This is what I came home to:
my wall

Gabe's palette

my couch

This was the paintbrush he used:
Gabe's paintbrush
And this is the look on his face when I gave him the stink eye:

waiting to be banished
You might think I threw him outside.  Steve's cleaned up most of the evidence, but we are still finding brushstrokes everywhere.  His tail is still green.  And the artist in me appreciates his free spirited technique. 

I learned two things:

1. Labs are like a 2 year old...never ever leave anything where they can get to it.
2. Never underestimate what a Lab can do with his tail.  Especially when he spends most of his time wagging it.

My whole house resembles an Impressionist painting.  Monet would be proud.

And Gabe is still an inside dog.  For now.

Twitter @jonesbabie

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

a rose by any other name

"Put a rose in your nose and see how it grows"
                                                                                       ~childhood taunt

maddie mudface
Recent conversation with my 6 year old granddaughter Maddie:

Maddie: (pointing to the bridge of her own nose and rubbing it lightly) Grammy, is that where you got hit with the baseball bat?
Me: Yes Maddie it is.  It hurt really bad for a few minutes, then I was ok.  Oh, it bled a lot too.  (She likes hearing about the blood.)
Gramps: (as he passes by and hears what we are talking about) And when I was in high school, my nose got hit when I was playing football, and got knocked clear over on the side of my face.
Maddie: It did Grammy?

maddie candyface
Me: Yes Maddie.  Gramps and I both have noses that are crooked.
Maddie: Is that why you got married?
Me: Yes Maddie, that is why we got married.  Our noses fit.

I started laughing and Maddie rolled her eyes at me in disgust and walked away.

Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, May 11, 2012

a contemplative friday {moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A moment in time I want to capture, to savor and remember.
“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

the creative spirit

painted when I was 12 years old
I was asked one time to share what creativity meant to me.  I thought it would be a snap. After all, I've drawn since I could hold a crayon, and painted since I was 12.  Art has always been part of my life.

Well, nothing snapped.   I could discuss my life as an artist ad nauseum, but I decided to dig deeper and take you in a different direction.  As I thought about the question, I realized that the answer, for me, went much deeper.

In 1993 I was operating a small manufacturing business.  One day I went to the local community college, nudged there by a friend who wanted to apply but didn't want to take the entrance exam alone.  The person reading my results recommended I apply to the RN program.  I was ready for a change.

But nursing?  Was she kidding?  I pondered what to do.  While I pondered, I had to take an aptitude test, which was required to ensure you were going into a major that was a good "fit" for your personality.  I took that and scored very high in creativity. No surprise there, since I was born with a pencil in one hand and a paintbrush in the other.  The gentleman reading my results told me I might want to rethink going into nursing.  I can still hear him saying: “nursing is not a career that is creative”.

I didn't listen to him, and I am so thankful I made that decision.  Sixteen years and three nursing degrees later, I know the truth.  My truth, my belief.  

Creativity isn't just about art and creating artistic things. It's about thinking outside the box.    

It's about taking what you know or learn and making something new.  I consider myself creative and versatile.  I love creating art, needlework, photography, and any combination of a myriad of other media I've worked in.  

But being a nurse took my creativity to another plane, to a level that working as an artist alone could never do.  For me, being a nurse was an art.  The art of healing.  

Creativity was the hot pack I made from a wet washcloth in a Ziploc lab specimen bag, heated in a microwave to just the right temperature and applied to an infiltrated IV site to prevent infection and ease the pain of swelling.

Creativity was the armboard I taped to a baby's IV site to give him the maximum amount of arm movement while protecting the site so he could get the antibiotics he desperately needed.

Creativity was positioning a 98 year old woman in bed to make her comfortable and to allow the bedsores covering her emaciated body to heal.  Positions they never taught me in nursing school.

Creativity was applying dressings that couldn’t be removed by a toddler who had been inquisitive and determined enough to pull a pot of boiling eggs off a hotplate, scalding his face, chest and arm.

Every day of the more than 16 years I've worked as a nurse, I've been creative.  I've problem-solved, listened and suggested, and had ideas that come from a place inside my head that is where my creativity springs from.

Creativity is the space outside the box.  The place where a paradigm shift of beliefs takes you from using what you know, to the creation of new knowledge.      

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Sunday, May 6, 2012

nature plays

Nothing scary or mystical, just my attempt at making a video of a thunder storm tonight...with a UFO thrown in the mix... :D

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Saturday, May 5, 2012

today's high will be...

"Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you."
Ogden Nash

Stevie Wonder and I made a date several weeks ago to go to the movies to see the Avengers when it was released. Our son Jim took Jack ( the oldest grandson) to see it last night. Said the crowds were horrid.

I hate crowds. SW isn't crazy about them either, unless it involves a sport and beer. We decided to go in the morning. I figured it would be packed with kids.

Evidently kids don't get up early anymore. The theater was mostly empty. We talked Wretch into ditching her studies for finals and she came too.

After all, the movie was full of hunks. (Not the theater, the film.) I drooled and moaned at the muscles and beautiful male superheroes Thor and Captain America. Wretch laughed every time I moaned. Iron Man is still my favorite. Sarcasm wins over brawn every time for me.

It was a good day. What else stands out? The conversation SW and I had on our way to the movie. Driving down the road, we were discussing mileage. I mentioned the fact that my car got 40 mpg one time. (I was repeating what I had heard Stevie Wonder say several times in the past about my car.)

Stevie said "any vehicle will get good gas mileage when you drop it out of a tree. We were driving downhill from Sacramento to southern California and THAT was why it got 40 mpg. That ONE time ONLY."

All I heard was the first part of the remark. I thought he was telling me I was stupid and replied haughtily:

"I don't drop out of effing trees when I drive."

His response? He scoffed. And snorked.

The movie was the high point of the day.

It's Saturday after all, and my brain has the day off.

life is good...
~cath xo
Twitter me @jonesbabie

Friday, May 4, 2012

of brazilian blowouts and crack powder

This has been a weird week.  The culmination of a week of running like a turkey to keep up at work and home was my long awaited trip to the hairdresser.  I had begun to dream during the past week about the miracle she was going to work on my hair.

But in order to work a miracle, she needed hair to work with.  And about half my hair was gone.

Three months ago, I made an appointment for 8 weeks later to have my hair cut and colored, as I exited my favorite beauty shop.  That was a few weeks longer than I normally wait, but I figured it would be ok.  The day arrived of my appointment, and I had to cancel.  That I would have to wait four more weeks to get another appointment was a shock, but I had no choice.

So three long months later, I was dreaming of Brazilian Blowouts and color that would wow.  But I had a problem.

I'd lost half my hair.


I watched my stylist shake her head in amazed disbelief at the change in my hair.  I started to was going to be impossible to fix I feared.

But Kelly is wonderful.  We put our heads together and decided on a color, and a cut that would make the most of the least amount of hair.  No woman wants to look bald after all.  She went to work on my hair, and an hour and a half later, she was finished.  I looked like I actually had hair!  I was amazed and so grateful I almost cried.  I would have cried, until I asked her what she used on my hair to make it look so much thicker.

Kelly held up a little tiny red bottle and said "I call this crack powder Miss Cathy.  Once you use this stuff, you're hooked on it.  It's addicting."

I laughed loudly at the comparison and told her to give me a bottle of crack powder to go.  I made a follow up appointment written in stone.  No more 3 month waits to get my hair "fixed".  As I left the salon I told Kelly I would be there unless I was laid up dead as a corpse in a casket. is good...
~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, May 3, 2012

relaxed housewife: assembly required

Many times Stevie Wonder and I have bought something that said "assembly required", and opened the box to find that it was going to take a rocket scientist to assemble the object because:

1) it had a thousand parts
2) the directions sounded and looked like gibberish

Luckily I am married to a rocket scientist, at least where assembling stuff is required.  We made it through our childrens' formative years and managed to assemble various bikes and riding vehicles, as well as a swing set, along the way.  (Part of the satisfaction of being a parent is watching our two oldest go through the same thing with their kids.  I always grin and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing I did my time in the assembly trenches.)

Imagine my wonder the other day after purchasing a small easel, that said those dreaded words on the front of the package, and included instructions with photos in the insert.  Then something caught my eye.  There were no loose parts in the package.  No envelope or bag of screws.  Nothing.  So I removed the easel from the bag and opened the instructions.  This is what happened next:
step one, step two, step three.  easy peasy.

Yep, the assembly required taking it out of the package, opening it up, and standing it up.  Step 1-3 showed photos of the assembled easel from different angles.

Moral of the story: If you pay your dues as an assembling parent, sometimes the assembly gods smile on you.  Sarcastically.

life is good...
~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

relaxed housewife: puss in boots, running

After almost 42 years of marriage, conversation flows easily between Stevie Wonder and me.  Like a river running downstream, our talk flows undeterred around rocks of contention.

Sometimes there is a witness.  Even better, sometimes that witness is part of the ebb and flow of our conversation.

Ok, that sounds way too flowery and saccharine.  The ugly truth is Stevie Wonder was yammering on about something.  Wretch was sitting in the back seat of his truck, and we had just turned into the road to our home when she interjected:

"Dad, there's a cat running out in the road, be careful not to hit it."

I would love to be able to tell you exactly what Stevie Wonder was saying, but truthfully, Wretch and I can't remember.  I texted her last night and asked.  She said truthfully she was too worried about the cat to pay attention to what he was saying.  So I'll wing it.

It sounded something like this:

SW: blah blah blah yep blah blah yep yep uh huh uh huh...blah
Wretch: Dad don't hit that cat.
SW: blah yada blah blah blah uh uh yep blah blah
Wretch: Dad, do you see that cat?
SW: blah blah yep yep, un uh, yada yada yada.
Me: I don't think he's listening.
SW: yada yada, blah blah blah... yada.
Wretch: Obviously.  But at least he missed the cat.
SW: blah blah blah yada yep blah yep...
Me: And he doesn't even realize we just had a whole conversation in the middle of what he was saying.
Wretch: {speechless and laughing loudly}
SW: {quiet because he realizes we just said something, but has no idea what it was, and refuses to ask}
Me: {snorking in disgust}
SW: {continued silence}

Wretch is truly my child.  And the cat saved itself.

Life is good.
yada yada yada...

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie