Friday, July 31, 2009

Daddy's Birthday

Today, July 31, is my dad's birthday. He would have been 82 today.

About twenty-three years ago, my OBGYN said that my daughter would be born on July 26. My dad said his grandchild would be born on July 31, his birthday. So he quit smoking in preparation for the birth of his grandchild. In those days he kept a supply of lollipops to replace the cigarette packs. When he was notified on July 23rd that his grandchild would make her appearance the morning of July 24 he ran to get his paper bag of lollipops so he could be there in time to greet her.

As it ended up, their birthdays were a week apart on the same day, rather like Christmas Eve (December 24) and New Years' Eve (December 31) in July. That's the way they were together. When Adrianne was little they were partners in crime. Sunday's after church was Swing in the Park Day. He was determined to get her to the park and put her in the toddler swings for a picture-perfect swing day.

One day when she was about two years old, she didn't know I was within earshot as I let them both out of the car at the park to run across the sand to the toddler swings. "Come on Paw Paw! Run! Hurry!" she ordered.

"Okay," he chuckled. "I'm coming!"

"Pick me up, Paw Paw! Put me in the swing! Push me! Higher! Higher, Paw Paw!" the orders flew from the pint-size task master.

By that time I'd walked up to the swings and stopped my dad from pushing her long enough for me to tell her about not ordering Paw Paw around but thanking him for playing with her on the playground. This is not the same man that raised me, I thought. He's completely lost his mind allowing this little thing of a child to have him under some kind of lunatical spell. He would have never taken that from the four of us when we were kids!

When I'd go to work, my mom would rush from her job to pick her up from the baby sitter. My dad would then rush home from his job at the university so he could be there to play with her, ply her with unhealthy snacks and take her shopping. I'd call home every evening to check on them. One day my dad announced, "We're having fun over here! I brought home some chocolate chip cookies and the baby has the bag and she's eating cookie after cookie after cookie! She really likes them!"

Wait, these are the people who allowed us only two cookies at a time two hours after lunch or dinner. Now it's okay to fed my child, who had never had stronger than toddler cookies before in her life, chocolate chip cookie after chocolate chip cookie.

"STOP HER!" I yelled over the phone.

We lived in Florida for three years and my daughter thought every UPS man in our apartment complex had a "Paw Paw box" for her. Usually, she was right. My dad packed toys and treats in a box every month and shipped them to her.

When she stayed with Grandmama and Paw Paw over the summers, they were both late for school each morning. He would schedule his classes for late mornings and not take her to Kindercare until 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning so they could watch cartoons together and then have breakfast at McDonald's together. By the time we moved back to Louisiana Adrianne was to start Kindergarten and I was to start teaching a preschool class for children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. Paw Paw happily took her to school for her first day and announced that he had volunteered to be room mom. Before the end of the Kindergarten year, every child in Mrs. B.Collins' class called him Paw Paw.

Paw Paw's lollipop days lasted for only the first two weeks of Adrianne's infancy and were intermittent through her younger life. So by the time she was six she was hiding Paw Paw's cigarettes and lighter. He'd had at least one stroke before she was born and anther near the end of one of our visits from Florida. Later, she would help pick up things he'd dropped, button tiny buttons and lace or Velcro his shoes because the strokes and the cigarettes had numbed his fingertips making these tasks very difficult.

By the time she was seven other grandchildren started appearing by way of my sisters. Fourteen-month-old Jenna joined the family when Adrianne was seven when Carol adopted her. Juan was born a year later in 1994 and his brother Brian was born in 1999. I recall one of my nephews asking my dad why he had a car if he couldn't drive it. My dad called on Adrianne to prove that once he was able to drive and that he and Adrianne used to have such adventures.

Juan had dubbed him Poppy after the Spanish paw paws who claimed him on his many field trips with his nurse in Florida. Thus to the younger set of grand kids my dad was Poppy. They would have to ask Adrianne about what Poppy's office was like when he was working and what exactly went on up there. Did Poppy really teach people at the university and were his students really teachers?

After his last stroke, Poppy's swallowing difficulties returned and he had to have a second feeding tube placed in his stomach. This one was fed by a machine that dosed Ensure at even increments 24/7. My mother had a hospital style bed moved into the bedroom as he was known to roll out onto the floor as he attempted to get up to go places on his own. Adrianne moved into my parents' home and learned to operate the feeding machine and the bed so she could help take care of her Poppy. Often she could hear that thing beep from another room when no one else did. It had a beep as a warning for when the tube was kinked or when the feeder was empty.
When he'd done all his exercises he could sometimes have a little pudding and ice chips. Only Adrianne could get the ice chips njust right, the way he liked them.

He seemed to know it would not be long before he'd go home, because he would have long talks with Adrianne about when he was a little boy and stories about the family of fifteen in the picture on the wall of his bedroom. He was one of the youngest boys in the photo at about four or five years old and he sat in a small chair at his father's knee. He and uncle Nick, who was at the far left of the picture had been in a fight on the day of that family portrait, so Grandpa Ed had separated them. My dad was the last of them to go home on Sunday, October 21, 2007.

As our family moved into action to get all of the arrangements made for my dad's home-going celebration, Adrianne quietly asked if she could say something in tribute. "Of course, baby!" my mother said as she gave her a big hug. My daughter is very shy and out of place in crowds and with all eyes on her, so for her to want to--volunteer to speak in front of an audience is a major step and a demonstration of her love for her PawPaw.

And her tribute was lovely. She spoke of their adventures, the Paw Paw boxes, his jokes, his stories of a little boy growing up in the 1930's with 13 brothers and sisters. She spoke of the things she learned from him--especially the love of reading. She spoke of how everyone on campus seemed to know him when she accompanied him to the university and how half her teachers seemed to know him as he was their teacher. Lastly she spoke of how she'd miss her partner in crime.

Today, my mother and I were driving around getting last minute things done for our sessions for tomorrow's Back to School with Jesus workshop. Right in the middle of our hustle and bustle down Airline Highway she thinks aloud, "Today is his birthday. I need to take new flowers to the cemetery office."

I could almost hear him say, "What's the salary for all this work at the church?"


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Facebook Fanatic

At my brother and sister's suggestion, I opened a Face Book account. My brother lives in another state and posts his art work while my sister mostly keeps up with what Up With People alumnae are up to. They were gushing over how much fun they have chatting with each other and that I should be part of the fun.

Well, in this month I have found people I haven't seen in years, like classmates/schoolmates from high school, coworkers and former coworkers and students from my first teaching job from 33 years ago. There are also church family and Kairos family there as well as other members of my bio-family. So, in about one month I have almost 200 friends on my contact list.

For fun I looked up ow many people have the same first and last name as mine. Don't tell m you've never done this. Anyway, I sent a message to each lady saying how "loverly" her name is. Some of them replied and thought it was so cute. So a few of us started sending messages back and forth to each other. That's when I had a brainstorm or a brain fart, depending on how you view it. I started a club with our name for people with our name. It is so much fun. About seven of us share jokes, games and photos.

I means sometimes I have neglected my little blog here because I get so into it. I haven't even finished editing my snake story to post here.

Also I have been trying to shake the remnants of this cold I caught at the end of summer school and I still need to run over to my old school and my new school. I will have a little space at the same school where Mr. Hebrews 13 is in the same room where his class was. His class is moved to the inside of the main building. It's going to be hard getting this stuff and my house done for the start of school but I'm believe in on a good school year.

BTW, my check up and PET scan were all good! A friend of mine who also went through chemo said it took a year for his energy level to return to normal and he does body building. That makes me feel better about mine.

I know that I am not supposed to be in the direct sun but the heat is worse. I cannot do heat like I used to. I have wanted to do my yard as I do each summer so I have compromised with a little mini-garden next to my patio. I only work on it very early in the morning or after the sun goes down an for no more than an 30 minutes to an hour at a time. I have a couple of cucumber plants, a couple of squash, some peas and a tomato plant. I have some ornamentals--mini roses, a hydrangea and some potted plants--and a little fountain pool in the middle. I have one humming bird that comes to the feeder outside my kitchen window. It's been therapeutic.

The Fight for Healthcare Reform Continues

MsKathyssLogo2.gif picture by mskathy0724

Ms. Kathy's Kids Blog:

--- On Mon, 7/27/09, AFT e-Activist Network <> wrote:

From: AFT e-Activist Network <>
Subject: The Fight for Healthcare Reform Continues
To: "Kathy
Date: Monday, July 27, 2009, 12:59 PM

The Fight for Healthcare Reform Continues

Dear Kathy,

Thank you to everyone who has mobilized and urged your legislators in Congress to support healthcare reform. AFT members and activists like you have generated thousands of calls to Capitol Hill. Congress is taking notice.

Lawmakers are in intense debate regarding what form the final healthcare legislation will take. We need to keep up the pressure!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 28, AFT and our allies, including HCAN (Healthcare for American Now), are having another national call-in day.

The number to call is 877/264-4226. Press 1 to contact the U.S House of Representatives. When prompted, enter your 10-digit telephone number to be connected directly to your representative. Urge your member of Congress to support healthcare reform now.

Make no mistake: People who prefer the status quo and oppose healthcare reform have contacted Congress, as well. We cannot let those who support killing healthcare reform to succeed. There is too much at stake.

Take a moment and urge Congress to do the right thing and pass healthcare reform NOW. Thank you again.

Forward this message to your friends and colleagues so they can call Congress on July 28.

If you were forwarded this message, click here to receive e-mail updates about the AFT's fight for healthcare reform.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Busy Friday

Thursday was the last day of the ESY (Extended School Year) for exceptional students. I was past ready to sleep in. The germs waited until this last week to attack so I've had a summer cold that has been wiping me out. I haven't had a cold in a few years but my hematologist warned me that my white count was low the last time I saw her. I've been blessed not to catch anything until now. I think my resistance was down, too because the kids I worked with really kept my intensity level up as three of them were autistic and one was developmentally delayed. I always enjoy my kids and the challenge of solving the puzzles of how each one learns. However half-days during the summer is possibly my limit with such an involved group. The para and I earned our paychecks and more.

I've been coming home, propping up my feet with a big water bottle nearby and a big pillow under my head. I take a Benedryl, a Tylenol and a nap with Baby Laptop on my lap while I see what my Face Book friends are doing before my eyes close for a couple of hours. So yesterday I was happy to be able to sleep in. My daughter has had pity on me and unloaded much of the school stuff from my always overloaded car.

I couldn't remember what time I was supposed to go to the doctor but the hospital called the day before to remind me that my appointment was actually with the lab for my PET scan. It wasn't until afternoon so after a nice sleeping in period and only a cup and a half of coffee for breakfast I headed down to the imaging center. Fortunately a cold will cut the appetite so it wasn't so bad maintaining a fast until testing.

So much was going on across town that the traffic was horrible. Add to that a little rain and construction and I was about fifteen minutes late for my scan, But I was the only one in the waiting area and ushered right in. I have to sit still or take a nap for about an hour after being injected with radioactive sugars. Afterwards I'm taken to another room where I stretch out on a narrow table and get scanned for forty minutes by a big drum like machine.

On my way home the traffic was far worse. I sat on Perkins Road for nearly an hour. There was no way I could get to the hematologist on the same day. I had no way to call as I'd drop my phone someplace in my house as I rushed to the lab. My husband telephoned and we agree to meet for a late lunch/early dinner at Jason's Deli. He was also stuck in traffic some miles south of me and was trying to get to the hospital to be with me. By then I was starving and it would give the traffic time to ease down. It was closer to dinner time than lunch by then. Hunnee had his own doctor's appointment and wanted to come to the hospital with me at least to meet me there and waiting during the last part of my appointment. But timing and the traffic would not allow for that.

While at Jason's we talked about the new puppy. I was a little relieved that we didn't have to take him in and that he'd found a new home. I was feeling a little worn to have to train an energetic pup and although we have ample backyard space for a pup to play, the gate needs replacing so that a dog won't get to the street. Besides, Mr. Bob Buttons may get stressed by a new creature on his territory.

I'd not planned to go to the Lee High Funeral since I had a cold and it would mean I'd have to get into traffic from my side of town. But since we were now on that side of town I decided to drop in for a bit since it started at 6:30PM. The school where I used to work until last school year was closed and the alumni was having a last fling there to say good bye. There were far more people there than I thought would be there. Face Book had over 400 replies but far more than that were there. I met two ladies who were part of the first class to graduate from the school. They were introducing themselves to everyone.

Since I'd not planned to attend I only had my phone for taking pictures so I didn't get as many photos as I would have if I'd brought my camera. I only saw about three people I knew. I saw the wrestling coach Bill Bofinger who is also and alum. I saw Freida Bayhi, who was one of the visual impairments resource specialist there before me and Mrs. Haslitt the librarian who retired from there a couple of years ago. The area school board rep, Noel Hammat was there, too. It was a nice atmosphere and everyone was very happy to be there. I passed by my old room which was a converted bathroom. The Bugs Bunny towels that I'd made into curtains were still in the windows.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Role Models

From Luttermaker

MsKathyssLogo2.gif picture by mskathy0724
Ms. Kathy's Kids Blog:

It's CRAZY how accurate this is!

1) Pick your favorite number between 1-9

2) Multiply by 3 then

3) Add 3

4) Then again multiply by 3 (I'll wait while you get the calculator....)

5 ) You'll get a 2 or 3 digit number....

6 ) Add the digits together

Now Scroll down

With that number see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:
1. Einstein
2. Oprah Winfrey
3. Snoopy
4. Ronald Reagan
5. Bill Gates
6. Gandhi
7. Brad Pitt
8. Babe Ruth
9. Luttermaker
10. J F K
11. Ms. Kathy

I know....I just have that effect on day you, too, can be
like me.... Believe it!

P.S. Stop picking different numbers!! I AM YOUR IDOL, JUST DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!

Knowledge is Power!!


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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One word with a picture!

From: Luttermaker

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! The impact of one word with a picture, what about forgiveness with t ……….

Sometimes pictures say it best
The Real Meaning of Words











Music 2




Best friends


"Life is not about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to dance in the rain."


Hey Folks:
Just Thinking of You Today!
Thank you for being my friend.

Monday, July 6, 2009

prayer 333

MsKathyssLogo2.gif picture by mskathy0724

Ms. Kathy's Kids Blog:

From: blessed Luttermaker
Subject: FW: prayer 332
Date: Monday, July 6, 2009, 3:20 PM

Boy, I am so glad God sends reminders in all kinds of forms. This was exactly what I needed to do at this exact moment. L

Change the number in the subject box when you forward it by adding one!!!

Dear Lord, I thank You for this day,

I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning.

I'm blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God.

You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.

Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you.

I ask now for Your forgiveness.

Please keep me safe from all danger and harm.

Help me to start this Day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.

Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You.

Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.

Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.

And give the best response when I'm pushed beyond my limits.

I know that when I can't pray, You listen to my heart.

Continue to use me to do Your will.

Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others Keep me strong that I may help the weak...

Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.

I pray for those that are lost and can't find their way.

I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood.

I pray for those who don't know You intimately.

I pray for those that will delete this without sharing it with others.

I pray for those that don 't believe.

But I thank you that I believe that God changes people and God changes things.

I pray for all my sisters and brothers.

I pray for each and every family member in their households.

I pray for peace, love, and joy in their homes.

I pray that they are out of debt and all their needs are met.

I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.

Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.

I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees it.

If you prayed this prayer, change the number in the subject box before forwarding the message so people can See how many people have done so.

God Bles s You!!!!!

Just repeat this phrase and see how God moves!!

God, I love you and I need you.

Come into my heart, please.