Friday, June 26, 2015

sleep, sunshine, a dog park and a garden. they all help

corn and a bean plant 



Yesterday I decided to take a nap.  I decide that just about every day.  Then I don't get around to it for one reason or another.  Or for no reason.  Well, yesterday I did take a nap.  I forced myself to.  I slept for over an hour and when I woke up I felt really good.  Better than I have in a long time.  Hurray for sleep.  I should do more of it!

My sister gave me a sort of leash. seat belt for Buddy.  She has one for one of her dogs.  It works really well, when it works.  Somehow Buddy figured out how to unbuckle it.  I will put a picture of Buddy and his seat belt here.

For some reason I cannot explain, or figure out how to fix, my blog is a little bit haunted.  Some of Ann's obituary somehow is floating on and over the writing here.   Hi Ann!



Buddy buckled in





Buddy and I went to the dog park.  He loved it, and ran and ran with the other dogs.  I took a picture, but it was all dogs and dust and blur.  You couldn't make out which one was Buddy (except he is usually the short one).   I deleted that picture.

After the dog park, Buddy and I went to see how the garden is growing.  Well, it is growing well.  The weeds are growing especially well.  A couple of the tomato plants look like they are dried out, which I cannot understand.  We have had rain (I almost wrote snow!) at least every other day if not more.  That's why I have not been to the garden in a while.

One of the things I do not like about working in a garden, or doing much of anything in the outdoors, aside from the heat, is the bugs.   I cannot stand them.  And they love me.   They love my ears "bzz bzzbzz".  They love my arms and legs "chomp chomp" and they love my face "oh no I think I swallowed one"!


I don't like sweating a whole lot either.  I guess I am just a wimp!

I have always liked the idea of farming and gardening.  But my fantasy garden is without bugs and weeds and is not too hot.   Yeah, dream on.

Ok, so I took some pictures and here they are.  Ta da!

Tomatoes on the vine

Beans and squash

More beans and squash










Buddy resting on the squash

Tomatoes and weeds

looking towards the garden gate- corn on the right beans squash on the left
 Oh yeah, cannot forget to forecast for tomorrow.  I have never seen a weather map so colorful before!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Feeling Blue- a long ramble

I went to the gathering for Ann Cagigas yesterday.  She was cremated, so there was no feeling (for me) of saying good bye.  I fell apart when I walked into the funeral home.  It is so terribly sad that I will never see Ann again.

Ann and I were not really close bosom buddies, we didn't hang out or lunch together.  We didn't spend hours on the phone together.  But she was a presence in my life.  She sent emails about health and about breastfeeding.  We knew each other for more than 20 years.   We cared about many of the same issues- breastfeeding and wellness and attachment.   And now she is gone.  A light extinguished.

I decided not to go to Ann's funeral service and wake today.   Getting to the funeral home, the driving part,was very stressful.   I drove on big highways and elevated roads.  I am capable of doing these things.  I am a grown up.  But they really stress and scare me.

I know that I would have been a passenger.  I was going to ride with some friends.   But I declined.  A part of me feels bad.  I feel like a lair.   I told people that I would see them.   Not that my role in any of this has anything to do with the event, or Ann.   I just know that the kind of sad I am feeling makes me feel vulnerable, both emotionally, but physically as well.   I have been through a lot.   I am good, even great most of the time.  But I am still recovering from two major surgeries less than a year apart.

When my brother in law died, I got sick.  Then I got sicker and sicker until Nick finally took me to the hospital with a 104° temperature.  I ended up in the hospital for 6 days with pneumonia.   Who knows, maybe I would have gotten sick anyway.  But I am afraid to find out

Death, like birth, is something we all experience.   I think of both as transitions.  But when someone dies, someone I know, a contemporary, or a family member, it is personal.   It is a part of life that I cannot control.   Of course, I know that there is a lot I cannot control.   Unlike in Star Trek where they say "space the final frontier",  I believe death is the final frontier.  

It's funny, Father's Day came and left and, while I thought of my father, I didn't miss him a whole lot.   He was my father and I loved him, a lot.  But I guess we were all so grief stricken over my brother Dale's death just a few weeks before my father, I already had been knocked down and I had not gotten up again.  Yet.

One thing we miss when we lose a parent is that piece of living history.  The connection to your ancestors and to who you are and why.  But my dad was not able to share anything about his past.  Not that he didn't have a past.  There were just too many things that I think must have been very painful for him and that kept him from sharing.   He would get angry whenever I asked him anything about his father- my grandfather.   He had his demons, my dad.   The only time he ever really said anything was in 1996 (yes I remember).  My dad and I and my sister and her husband, and maybe my step mother, were visiting my dad's older brother. my Uncle Ralph.   Uncle Ralph had dementia, so he was not very conversational.  My dad sat down next to his big brother and the two of them held hands.  One of them (I do not remember which) said "you have big hands like our father'  and the other one said "yeah, he was a son of a bitch".   Makes me want to cry.

I have been to too many funerals and memorial services.  Some were people who were sick and old (at least older than me at the time).  Their deaths were sad indeed, but not a surprise.  Then there were the deaths from accident, or unknown heart disease in the case of one young man.

Ann was closer to a "certain age" when you see more funerals.  An age that, in my grandparent's day was considered "old".   She was 67.  I am 61.   Somehow, being in my 60s doesn't seem as old as I would have expected.   Ann was a vital, energetic woman.  She was health conscious.  She ate well and took care of her body.  The cancer was stronger.

Recently I was thinking about going to graduate school.  I think it was because I drove past a sign that said "George Mason University".  That's my school!  I graduated from there!  I was 50 when I graduated.  Now, some people think it would be a waste of time to go back to school.   I am too old.  What's the point?

The point is, at least in part, that I love learning.  I want to learn more and more.  Maybe I can learn more things that will make my work with mothers even better.  Or maybe I can make myself feel better.  Learning is a way of understanding more about the world and life and what it's all about.   Yes, I am going to die.  No, it won't make a difference to the universe what I do with the rest of my life- or even how many more years or decades I live.  But, if it matters to me, that's enough.

Ann  lived every minute of her life until she just couldn't any more.  She didn't sit passively waiting to die.   I don't want to either.






Monday, June 22, 2015

Sometimes life is just so sad


Ann Cagigas 1948- 2015







This is what I wrote on Facebook about my friend, mentor and colleague, Ann Cagigas:


Ann was one of those rare and wonderful people who lit up a room when she walked in the door. She was happy to see you and you knew it. I met Ann over 20 years ago through La Leche League, and we have continued to share interests over the years. Ann was one of the most caring, competent and intelligent human beings ever to walk the earth. It was a blessing to have known Ann and it is with great sorrow that I have to say good bye


 

Obituary

Ann Cecilia Gaffney Cagigas, loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Friend passed away on June 19, 2015 at the young age of sixty-seven. Her life began on April 15, 1948 in New York City; born to Gerald and Doris Beth Gaffney, she was the second of five children, Michael, Mary, Patricia, and Walter.
She dedicated her life to helping people by receiving a Nursing degree, as a registered nurse, from the Washington Hospital Center School of Nursing, class of 1969. Ann went on to receive a Masters in Human Development and Family Studies. In 1978 she became a first-time mother and was introduced to the joy of the breastfeeding world, which subsequently became one of her greatest passions. Her breastfeeding journey began with La Leche League International, where she quickly became a Leader and mentor to many. In true Ann fashion she diligently pursued further education, becoming a Board Certified International Lactation Consultant. The last 13 years of her professional career were spent as an Occupational Health Nurse at the General Services Administration, where she worked by helping in several capacities, touching the lives of countless people.
She avidly associated all of her blessings, both personally and professionally, to her faith in the Lord and all of his Glory. She actively participated in the parish for 38 years, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, by participating in numerous groups over the years; including being a Eucharistic Minister for the Church since 2006. Her faith ultimately carried her through until she was called home to God.
She leaves behind her loving husband of 40 years, Jaime Javier Cagigas, and is survived by three children; Amanda Espinola, Emilie Yoder, and Jaime Javier Cagigas (Son). She also leaves behind Son-In-Law's Martin Espinola and Chriss Samuel Yoder III, and five grandchildren; Javier, Martin, Gabriella, Giuliana, and Chriss Samuel Yoder IV.
Services will be held at Jefferson Funeral Chapel Wednesday June 24, 2015 from 2-4 and 6-8pm, there will be a mass on Thursday June 25th at 10:30am at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, followed immediately by a wake at the Cagigas house; located at 10717 Greene Dr. Lorton, VA 22079.
In lieu of flowers, Ann's wishes were for donations to be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

- See more at: http://www.jeffersonfuneralchapel.com/obituary/Ann-Gaffney-Cagigas/Lorton-VA/1519463#sthash.Xty3sFWy.dpuf


Ann knew how to have fun!  Here she is with her best friend in the world, Beverly Femino

Obituary

Ann Cecilia Gaffney Cagigas, loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Friend passed away on June 19, 2015 at the young age of sixty-seven. Her life began on April 15, 1948 in New York City; born to Gerald and Doris Beth Gaffney, she was the second of five children, Michael, Mary, Patricia, and Walter.
She dedicated her life to helping people by receiving a Nursing degree, as a registered nurse, from the Washington Hospital Center School of Nursing, class of 1969. Ann went on to receive a Masters in Human Development and Family Studies. In 1978 she became a first-time mother and was introduced to the joy of the breastfeeding world, which subsequently became one of her greatest passions. Her breastfeeding journey began with La Leche League International, where she quickly became a Leader and mentor to many. In true Ann fashion she diligently pursued further education, becoming a Board Certified International Lactation Consultant. The last 13 years of her professional career were spent as an Occupational Health Nurse at the General Services Administration, where she worked by helping in several capacities, touching the lives of countless people.
She avidly associated all of her blessings, both personally and professionally, to her faith in the Lord and all of his Glory. She actively participated in the parish for 38 years, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, by participating in numerous groups over the years; including being a Eucharistic Minister for the Church since 2006. Her faith ultimately carried her through until she was called home to God.
She leaves behind her loving husband of 40 years, Jaime Javier Cagigas, and is survived by three children; Amanda Espinola, Emilie Yoder, and Jaime Javier Cagigas (Son). She also leaves behind Son-In-Law's Martin Espinola and Chriss Samuel Yoder III, and five grandchildren; Javier, Martin, Gabriella, Giuliana, and Chriss Samuel Yoder IV.
Services will be held at Jefferson Funeral Chapel Wednesday June 24, 2015 from 2-4 and 6-8pm, there will be a mass on Thursday June 25th at 10:30am at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, followed immediately by a wake at the Cagigas house; located at 10717 Greene Dr. Lorton, VA 22079.
In lieu of flowers, Ann's wishes were for donations to be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
- See more at: http://www.jeffersonfuneralchapel.com/obituary/Ann-Gaffney-Cagigas/Lorton-VA/1519463#sthash.Xty3sFWy.dpuf

Friday, June 19, 2015

thoughts from Facebook

This is what I wrote on Facebook today concerning the shootings in Charleston,  South Carolina where 9 people were killed.  I do not want to start a political discussion.  Or one on race.  Or hate crimes.

Other people are doing that. 

I have seen the news and looked at the posts and opinions about the shootings in South Carolina. Whatever
a person's political views, it is sad when death comes at the hand of another human being.

 And so, I bow my head. But, I also feel my heart full of love. Life is short.

Life is precious. Life is hard. Life can suck.

I am strong and brave, but I can be weak and scared. And I am full of love. Love for my family. My friends. My country.

 Everything has imperfections. Children, politicians, monstrous murderers. We were all somebody's child once. Somebody's baby boy or girl.

I don't have any answers. I do have questions.

 I get down and sad at times, but I love my life. Amen.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My day in pictures


I replaced the aerator on the kitchen sink faucet.  Now the water pours out just fine!




Peek-a-boo






New seat!







new door knob on the hall closet door





Too hot to garden without my hat!








This is the blossom of one of the onion type plants that Nick put in last year.  We are not exactly sure what it is, but it might be a leek








squash and beans

The very first tomatoes of this year!  



 
How does your garden grow?

a real onion!

corn and beans



And I ended the day with this guy (and his mother and some other friends) eating dinner at the Silver Diner




 Now that you have seen all of the pictures, let me tell you what they are:

The aerator on the kitchen sink broke.  So, the water just sort of drizzled out and kept dribbling for a bit even after it was turned off.   I went to Home Depot and they didn't have the parts I needed.  I went on line and found that I could order the parts and have them delivered to the Home Depot right up the street.  So I did. Then I fiddled with the thing for a while until I figured out how to attach it and make it work!

Peek-a-boo!  You see, I decided to get a new toilet seat for the downstairs bathroom.  The one we had was over 30 years old and looking kind of weird 'nuff said.   I was able to get the first screw/ bolt in to hold the seat on, but was having a hard time with the second one.   I tried putting my head up and under the seat but quickly realized that my head could very well get stuck between the wall and the toilet.  "Hello, 911. yes, my emergency is that my head is stuck"  "where"  "um, how do I explain?"
So I sent my camera/ phone on selfie and put it down there to get a picture so I could figure out how I did it in the first place.  The picture really did help, but I thought it was kind of funny!   And, ta-DA, a new seat!

The next bunch of pictures are of the garden.  We have had enough rain the last few days that I didn't need to water anything.  I did have to pull the weeds- they grow as fast or faster than the things I am really trying to get growing.  The pictures have captions.

From 7-9 this evening, I lead a La Leche League meeting.  Pretty good turnout.   It was too hot in the room, but we don't have any control over the temperature.   After our meetings the Leaders and whatever moms want to join us, all go to the Silver Diner for a late dinner (or dessert).  Sam sat across the table from me and entertained me with his stories and his explanations of games I have never heard of.  Little kids can be oh, so expressive.  Sam sure is.   I have know Sam and his twin brother Karl (not present tonight- home with his Daddy) since they were tiny little preemie newborns.  It is so amazing to keep seeing all of "my" babies go from little squishy bundles to busy, smart little kids- and beyond.   I do honestly feel like they are all "mine".  They have touched my life, that's for sure.  And in some way, large or small, I have touched theirs.






Monday, June 15, 2015

My one year Craniversary

One year ago today, I had brain surgery to remove a brain tumor called a Meningioma.   It's been an interesting year to say the least!   The day before my surgery I had these little stickers called "feducials" stuck to my head to help map out where the surgeons had to cut.  I felt awful with headaches and instability to do much.


I am so glad I don't have that tumor any more.  I feel great!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

How does your garden grow?

Pretty well as long as it keeps getting either rain, or watering by me.

Here are some newer pictures, and also some pix of the new hosta and fern plants in the back yard

Nick's garden map




This side has squash (Three sisters planting)


Mostly squash

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Here I am to save the day, that means that Mighty Mom is here!



Just being silly.  Went to Starbucks this afternoon.  It seems that all of the moms are comfortable asking me questions about breastfeeding.  They know that I will probably, or will look it up

It was a really nice crowd.  I want to say the "regulars". But it not unusual to have newcomers.One mom came today with her beautiful baby girl.  Mom is not nursing at all, but is a great pumper!  I am going to try to help her out art her house.

At one point, which at Starbucks, I went into the bathroom.  I looked into the mirror and saw what I must look like to these new moms.   I look my age- or maybe a bit older.   I am just so used to seeing myself probably not at all how others see me.   And, more of the time I am just wearing t-shirts with sayings- mostly about knitting.  Today I wore a bright, patterned t-shirt.  The kind my mother  used to wear.

So, I know that clothes can make a difference, but I guess I am doing okay




                             This picture was taken from the Mother & baby Matters web site (can you see my goiter at the base of my neck over the collar bone?)



 I love noticing the difference in my neck and throat area,  So, in the bottom



 This is a picture of me, taken by me in our family room.  (Behind me there are pictures of the kids.)  I still have enough chins to share, but no huge goiter.

I do wonder why my hair is so gray in the top picture and not so much in the bottom picture.  The one on top was taken several months before the lower picture. I do not use and hair dye at all.


You can see a difference between"before and after".  I have a new scar.   funny, that scar on my neck would have probably bothered me in my 30s or 40s.  Now I am 61, and I just feel like it belongs.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Moon

I posted a rainbow picture last time I blogged.  I also like the moon. 

Here's how it looked last night around 1:00 am

Moon on the horizon     



I took a nice picture of the full moon a couple of weeks ago too: