Monday, August 17, 2009

On Writing and Reading

Since Abby went to bed so early this weekend I had plenty of time for cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, reading, and pondering the art of writing.

One task is to read "Are you somebody?" by Nuala O'Faolain. This is an author that had been mentioned in one of my writing classes, and I've check out "Are you somebody?" and "Almost there". I need to revisit my notes from class I think. I'm having a tough time getting through "Are you somebody?". The author is from Dublin, and I do not understand some of her vocabulary because it is just a little different than my own. I feel very unconnected to her for a variety of reasons- she's older, no kids, not married from what I can tell although I might have missed that part, from Dublin, and much better educated than I am. I was ready to return "Are you somebody?" to the library today and just give up on it. Then I picked up "Almost there" and saw that she made references to it. Both are memoirs. Now I'm thinking I may give the books another chance, and this time try reading them not as pleasure reading, but as books that I might learn something about writing from. I don't know. It's pretty tough going. We've both got alcoholic mothers, but beyond that, I can't really relate to her at all. So we'll see how it goes. I did get fairly far into "Are you somebody?" just because I don't quit on books easily, but right now I'm trying to decide if these are a waste of time for me and I would be better off moving on. I read today on Amazon that the author passed away last year, but she's got 3 or 4 other books that I haven't read yet, most of which are available at the library. I don't know if I should try to crack them open or not.

Some balance of course

So Saturday was great, which meant that Sunday couldn't possibly be fun pretty much. Abby and my husband were tired, and we had grocery shopping to do. Plus I really wanted to see my maternal grandmother. I hadn't seen her since my mom moved back up here 6 weeks ago. Between visiting with my mom, Abby being sick, and everything else it just hadn't been possible. It was time to make it a priority. So another hot day, and I resolved that some air conditioning in the car would do both Abby and my husband well.

We got a late start, after a huge battle over shoes, to Northampton. Found a parking spot, and went to "Tokyo & Taipei" for lunch. It was hot inside, and they had the doors open. Food was slow to arrive, and Abby was miserable waiting. It was good when it came though, and I was glad we went. Next stop was to see grandma. We took the long way I think, maybe trying to get Abby to settle down for a nap, but it didn't work. I went inside alone to visit, and saw that grandma is not doing well. She can't stand up anymore on her own, and the staff said she is a "hoyer-lift" now. I have to look that up, but basically it means she has a special wheelchair now and has to be lifted out of bed by staff etc. She wasn't wearing her glasses, and I couldn't tell if she could hear me. She wasn't talking much, just resting in bed. Usually when we visit she is sitting in front of the nurses station, but not anymore. She's gone downhill since my last visit and it really made me sad. Her hands are all black and purple too, and I'm not sure why. It was all I could do not to cry. I went outside and reported back to my family. Abby brought her ball inside and my husband held her as Abby passed the ball to grandma, and grandpa passed it back and smiled. We got her to smile at least. Abby was very shy, as usual, and we didn't stay long. Grandma indicated that she was taking a picture of us in her mind. I felt like I was visiting her death bed. I cried in the car, quietly. I don't know if she will stay like this for long, but I know that she can't have much further down to go before she's gone. So sad.

Next stop was back to Amherst to take my husband in for a visit at Urgent Care. He had evidently made a phone call while I was visiting grandma. I dropped him off, and then took Abby to Dunkin for a bottle of milk. It started to rain so Abby and I waited in the car for him to get done. She was watching her dvd anyway. We were sad not to visit the park again, but the rain gave us no choice.

When he was done, we dropped off the prescription and got groceries, then picked up the meds and came home. As we neared the lake I could tell that it had not rained at home yet. The state beach was very crowded and I could see familiar cars there, and I knew our friends were having fun. Then I peeked in the backseat and saw my little girl sound asleep. We got home, got the groceries in, and got her to bed. It wasn't even 6:30pm yet. Another day with no nap, and no supper, and she was done. She slept through the night on our bed.

I'm worried about my grandma of course. I've never seen her this bad. I don't know if she is starting to let go now that my mom is in the area, or whether this would still be happening if my mom was still in Florida. It's tough though. Very sad.

Wendell and Montague Old Home Days and Lake Wyola

Saturday was a busy day. It was very hot too, a typical August summer day in the upper 80s or 90s. My husband had some projects to do around the house, so I took Abby out and about. Our first stop was Wendell Old Home Day. We don't live in Wendell, but we live close enough to go for walks in Wendell, and we have a Wendell library card etc. I knew we'd see some friends there because we went last year too. We parked at the library, but Abby had no interest in going inside except to wash her hands. Then we headed over to the common and saw the horses and other animals. I scanned the crowd and found the kids area and our friends. Abby latched on to her friend Liam from preschool even though he was occupied with some of his other friends. Abby's former friend Liam, from our old daycare was there too. Last year she clung to him at Wendell Old Home Day, but this year she wanted nothing to do with him. So we hung out with the 2 Liams and some other families until it was time for the parade to start. It was delayed I guess because the stilt walkers weren't ready, and then the fire truck had trouble getting into position because someone blocked it with a car. Eventually we marched in the parade, twice around the town common. I wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't. Wendell has a reputation for being a little different, and the parade is true to that. People dress up very silly, and make music playing kazoos and other instruments. It's not very organized from the looks of things, but it's fun.

Here's a video from Wendell Old Home Day in the 1970s some time.

After doing the parade, Abby said goodbye to our friends and told me it was time to go. Before we could leave though, I had to go past the library tag sale and make a donation by buying Abby a Winnie the Pooh. Then I ran into an old friend of mine who I had not seen in many years. I first met her in 1982 when my mother and step-father split up. She was a friend of my mothers, and her middle boy was/is my brother's age. I babysat for her in 1982, and a few years later moved into her home. I lived with her family for a year while I was a sophomore in high school. She was "my mother, my sister, and my friend" as I wrote often in those days. I am happy to see she is remarried and living in Scotland these days, and maybe, hopefully she will get to move back to the States sometime. She says she is homesick. It was great to see her and see that she is well. She's an incredible person and her life's stories would be a great read, although I don't know if she writes.

Anyway, Abby and I left Wendell and went home for some cold water and sunblock. We got some ice pops and then headed to Montague for Old Home Day there. (Sorry no video for that one.) We passed my mom on the way. She was headed to Lake Wyola, but turned around and joined us. We found parking and did a tour of the town common and the church. Not much to hold our interest, although we did get some more stuffed animals at the church tag sale. Abby refused to use the portapotties so I brought her back to the car for our emergency potty. Then we watched the parade. This parade is much more organized. There were lots of fire trucks from various towns, old tractors, a local softball team, dancers, and more. Abby's favorite thing was that many of the participants threw candy at the spectators. Abby got a bag full. At one point the fire trucks were making A LOT of noise and Abby covered up her ears, but there was candy to be gathered too and she was SO conflicted. She wanted that candy, but.. finally the father of another child ran out into the road, gathered a handful of it, gave his wife a few pieces and deposited the rest into Abby's bag and ran away. She tried to thank him but he couldn't hear her over the sirens. When the parade was over, I bought Abby and my mom popsicles at the store and we sat outside while they ate them. Then my mom left, and I brought Abby home.
Abby was still go-go-go though. I couldn't get her to eat lunch or take a nap so I turned her over to my husband. He took her to the state beach at Lake Wyola and got her to eat a hot dog and took her swimming while I took a short break. I caught up with them a while later and my mom was there too. My husband and my mom eventually left, and Abby and I played in the water for another 2 hours before I finally dragged her away at 6pm. We had the stroller with us, and I got her in that for the walk home. She was asleep before I got to the driveway.
I carried the stroller in, with her still asleep, and later moved her into her room. She pretty much slept the whole night. No supper, but she was wiped out. A happy kid. At 2am when she woke up briefly, I did her meds and put her to bed with me.

A great day!

Abby's Friday I guess -doctor appointment results etc.

I was going to post about the weekend and then I realized I hadn't updated about Abby's appointment on Friday. Friday was kind of a messy morning for us. My husband had to be at work early but I had to be at work late. Abby's doctor has been hard to get an appointment with, so although it wasn't the ideal day or time for us, we had to do it. So I dropped my husband off at work, and then I took Abby to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. She didn't want to eat there though, so after getting our breakfasts I brought her up to the Durfee Conservatory near the health services. Abby ate her breakfast and mine, minus the bagels. We had to make an emergency run to find a rest room, but all in all, it was an enjoyable trip to the gardens. She was singing "Jingle Bells" as we went inside for her appointment. My husband joined us in the waiting room, but the doctor was running behind like all doctors do. Unfortunately the cell phone rang, and back to work my husband went. Surprisingly, amazingly, oh my god where did this child come from.... Abby did great with getting weighed and doing her vitals, even without my husband there. I'm still in shock. She completely cooperated. When we did see the doctor, she cooperated again by letting him check her ears and all. I've never seen her behave so well at an appointment. She does still have some fluid in her left ear, but the doc thinks it will clear up on its own. No more antibiotics for now. We go back in about a month to check on it. After the appointment she got a sticker for herself and one for her best friend. Then I had to schedule the follow-up appointment. As I was doing that, my phone rang and I arranged to meet my husband at the bus stop because I still had his coffee and breakfast in the car. When we met he decided he could spare a few minutes to go with me to Abby's school. We arrived at school just as the Bounce house was being set up for their special Alumni afternoon. Students who have moved on to Kindergarten and elementary school were invited back for a visit, and festivities were planned for the end of the day. So all the kids were excited, and some of the teachers were getting things ready, and we arrived right in the thick of it. We left Abby who was all excited and happy, and returned to work.
When we picked her up the party was over, and she was tired. She had a fantastic day, and even got brave enough to do the Bounce House (her first time).