Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guided Feet

Where will we go -
On the ground, in the air?
Where Mom and Dad lead me
My feet will be there.

They move and they flex
And pump up and down
But so far this movement
Can't get me to town.

My feet can't yet take me
Wherever I choose;
I always must travel
In threes or by twos.

But someday I'm sure
They'll take me someplace;
They'll help me climb trees
And run a fast race.

Though I'll stub my toe
And stumble sometimes,
These feet will be tough
Wherever they climb.

When these feet are able
To go on their own
They still will be guided
To go where they're shown.

They may veer off course
Get on the wrong track;
But only a little then
These feet will come back.

So I will take care
And go where I should;
I'll use them to go where
They’ll do the most good.

Through trials and storms
Always guided by Light;
Never walking alone
Whatever my plight!

But first I must stand
Before I can walk,
And after I move
I’ll learn how to talk.

I’ll use these gifts wisely
Bestowed at my birth.
I'll walk in the Way
As I travel this earth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dog and Cat

I have a dog and a cat.
I have a dog.
There is also a cat at our house.
I live at the cat’s house with my dog.
That’s what my cat told me I should say.
The dog is perpetually looking to me to see what’s up.
The cat will let me know what’s up.

The dog waits for a bowl of dog food each morning and night.
We take her out on a leash to do what she does on the lawn near the tree line.
We don’t have to pick it up.  We’re in the country.  No sidewalks.  No plastic bags necessary.
She likes finding sticks to chew up.  She’s a golden retriever who will walk around happily with a chew bone for three days before making a tooth print in it.  She has 6 stuffed toys that she’s had for over 2 years with nary a loose stitch or missing eye.  But give her a stick outdoors and she rips into it like she’s making toothpicks.

The cat owns me.

The cat opens all the cabinet doors in the kitchen when his bowl's empty.  There is no mistaking his meaning.  His food is not stored in the cabinets, so I'm not sure where he got the idea to do that, but I guess he knows ours is in there.  So if we still want ours, we'd better get him some of his own now.
The cat gets his food in a little bowl that is barricaded by three kitchen chairs so the dog won’t eat it (otherwise we go through the cabinet issue again).  The cat can have some any time he wants.
We have to round up chairs if we have guests.  If the dog paced herself, she could have dog food all day like the cat has cat food, and we could have chairs to sit in that weren’t all huddled around a cat’s bowl.  But it doesn’t work that way.  Like my brothers and my sister and I when we were kids - the boys would finish their food and eat all the extras before we could finish ours.  I have a weight problem now. They had a wait problem then.  Anyway, that’s not about the dog and cat.

The cat does his business in the litter box in the guest bathroom.  Although we are out in the woods, he is an indoor cat. Cars and trucks are safe from running over him, but hawks, owls, eagles, ferrets, foxes and coyotes are looking for cats for dinner.  So he stays inside and uses the litter box.  He tried to train me to let him use the bathroom sink and tub.  I would have been okay with the toilet, but no…He almost had me trained, until I filled the sink and tub with water so he wouldn’t be able to use those spots.  It was still a problem if we had guests though.  Then I came up with the perfect, perfect…I mean perfect solution.  Glade Air Fresheners!  The ones that sense when you go by… Well, they sense when a cat has jumped into the tub or sink and make a hissing noise and spray a beautiful smell into the air!  Cats hate it!  At least our cat hates it so far, and they've been there for months.  Clean sink and tub, fresh air in the bathroom!  I win this round.
Cats are funny creatures - not too bright, but just bright enough to challenge the brightest of humans.  So I’m expecting any day to come home to a cat party in the bathroom, with Glade Air Freshener batteries dropped in the toilet, kitty litter in the sink and the dog barricaded in the corner with her empty bowl.

Virtually Versatile

Thank you, Linda of TeacherDance!  I had never heard of this Versatile Blogger Award, but what fun!  I appreciate the recognition and thank you for your kind words. So these are the rules:
  • Thank the person who nominated me and provide a link
    back to their blog.
  • Share seven bits of information about myself
  • Pass this award along to 15 other blogs that I have discovered.
Now for seven bits of information about myself...
7. I used to raise Arabian horses in Minnesota. We mostly lost money on that venture.
6. We live in a log home in the woods on an island in Maine, and have just bought a cottage (our retirement home) overlooking the ocean.
5. We lived in a motel for 11 months after our house fire.  It was nice to have fresh towels each day.
4. We spent the second year of our marriage living about 5 hours apart during the gas crisis in the 70's (while he finished school and I had my first job teaching).  We met in a motel on Friday nights midway between our two apartments.  We had to be careful to fill our gas tanks on Saturday afternoon, since gas stations were closed on Sundays then.
3. I've eaten horse meat. That was not pleasant for a horse-lover, but it was cheap meat in the 70's.
2. I used to dance en pointe and was on the local tv talent show "Youth Cavalcade".
1. I am saved, and that's the best thing.

Now for the passing on of the award....drum roll, please! BTW, TeacherDance awarded most the the blogs that I read, so I'm searching out ones that I've read in the past and liked, but may not have "followed" or remembered to bookmark!  They are quite a disparate group of blogs!

The challenge was to make a dress a day for a year, spending no more than a dollar a day.  Most of the creations are very inspiring at New Dress a Day.  has become an interesting read for me, being a new grandmother.  My daughter has read this for a while now.  Very frank, funny and helpful for new moms and dads.  Entertaining for others. has some good ideas about teaching and technology.  I like writing, but I love technology.
Grace for Women is a blog recently discovered by me for Christian women.  She reviews some books she's read, and generally talks about life and the Bible. 
Door Sixteen is an interesting decorating blog.  It's got some day by day stuff on decorating an apartment with bright colors, art deco and just interesting stuff.  It isn't my taste, but I love seeing how others look at the world!
OneSunflower not only does the teaching blogging, but infuses the blog with the arts.  I love the photos and projects!
I really enjoy One Literacy Coach.  Such nice voice in all the writing.  And her husband probably doesn't know what a part he plays in her blog.
Sprice's Heart for Writing is a combination of "teacher" and "personal" writing that I enjoy checking in on.
A Dress a Day features vintage dress patterns, humorous writing, and ways to "edit" clothing.
The Newborn Baby has great articles to get a new mom through difficulties that can occur beginning to breastfeed your newborn.
In Search of Balance by Mrs. V has good slices of life that include glimpses into family life, school life and self.
William of Mass Destruction is a nice blog written by a family of cats, starring William.  Their mom has thumbs.
Prose Cents offers glimpses into the past and present as a writer.  I enjoy the easy flow. 
Ruth's Slices from the Sofa writes about her personal life in prose and poem.
Ruth is a writing coach and writer, and blogs about the experiences in Ruth Ayers Writes.

Okay, done.  That took me all day.  I have done nothing but read blogs. . . and drink coffee.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Feeling of Bats

I should have left earlier.
Darkness creeps in.
It touches the nape of my neck
And brushes my heels
Spinning wildly on the pedals.
Shadows of darkness
I've heard can get caught in my hair
As it streams out behind me in ribbons
Luring the creatures in.
Head low.
Elbows bent.
Careening home
Under the shadows
That flit and follow.

Can you tell how I feel about bats? I remember this night so vividly as I rode my bike home from the neighbor's house when I was probably 10 years old. I could see the bats as they appeared to be following me in the dim light. I so wished I'd started for home earlier!
To this day I cannot stand bats. I know. They are good mosquito eaters. But mosquitoes like me more than anyone else. I'm like a buffet for mosquitoes and, consequently, for bats. I
will not change my mind about bats, so don't even go there!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

Days are bright.
How did I miss the ending of summer?
I was watching the beginning of life.
Spring has begun for others
In bright days
Of fall.

Nights grow long.
How did I miss the ending of warmth?
I was watching the beginning of strength.
Growth has begun for others
As nights grow long
And cool.

Time is precious.
How did I miss the last boat ride?
I was watching a ship come in.
Treasure has arrived for others
In this precious time
Of beginnings.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This is what I've been doing

I've been out of the loop for so long. The morning my grandson was born my life changed.  My daughter came home from the hospital with this beautiful baby boy who wouldn't breastfeed. He was finger fed in the hospital, and she was encouraged to use shields and feeding syringes to to feed him. Nothing had worked and yet they sent her home. They supplemented him with formula at the hospital regardless of the big sign that said "I'm a breastfed baby."  And they sent her home with formula. Lots of it.
In a few days my husband had to go back to Maine. But I stayed here to help wean the baby off the bottle and onto the breast. It was not an easy job! He would have none of it and screamed bloody murder when a breast approached.(Now that's a picture!)
My daughter went through the typical post partum blues stuff. I kept her encouraged, fed, watered and corralled so she could just concentrate on pumping milk and feeding her son. She was exhausted. Pumping for an hour, feeding for 40 minutes, eating something for 5 minutes, trying to nap for 15 min. and start the sole routine again. When we realized that she could pump both sides at the same time it cut the pumping time in half. When she realized she could eat while pumping we shaved another five minutes off. Now she had a choice of a longer attempt at sleeping OR she could shower!
After a bit, we found that it was not THAT vital that mom be the only one to bottle feed, freeing up more time, as she could pump while the baby was eating.
By continually offering the breast and drizzling milk there when it hadn't letdown yet, he slowly got used to the idea that this was not a bad thing and stopped screaming at it.  However, no matter how much he wanted to, he could not seem to latch on.  A lactation consultant in the hospital had mentioned that his frenulum was a bit tight. We hadn't given that much thought, as he seemed normal enough to us and they had said and done other things in the hospital that hadn't given us the most confidence in them.  Both pediatricians that had seen him said that he was fine. And since he was gaining weight and being very healthy all around, they sent us on our merry way.
However, after three weeks of intense round the clock work and a couple VERY painful attempts by baby at nursing, we called in another lactation consultant to see if she had any words of wisdom.  She could see that he was gaining weight at a wonderful rate and that he wanted to nurse. He just had no ability to latch on.
This consultant also stated that the frenulum seemed a bit tight and the roof of his mouth had a high arch. So two lactation consultants said his frenulum needed to be snipped and two pediatricians said no.
After doing some research we decided we had to give the frenotomy a try. We had nothing to lose at this point and maybe a lot to gain if it worked.  One of the pediatricians who had seen him in the hospital was the only one we could find that did frenotomies. So we made the appointment on Thursday for the frenotomy on Monday afternoon.
When we got there the office was not busy, but we had to wait 15 minutes to get into the exam room, where he had to get woken up and stripped to get weighed. That took about one minute and then we had a screaming baby for 10 minutes while we waited for the doctor to show up.
At that point he looked at his records and said that he'd already looked at him in the hospital, and he was fine. We told him how he wouldn't nurse, couldn't latch correctly and the pumping routine was difficult to keep up. That's why he was doing so well, because mom wasn't!
We also mentioned that two LC's had said his frenulum might be too tight, a mild form of being tongue tied (although they hadn't used that term and neither did we). He told us they all say that about any baby that isn't nursing. AND he said that some babies just don't nurse! I couldn't believe what I was hearing from him. He said it was not necessary in this case,  and he showed us with a crude drawing on the exam table paper what a real tongue tied tongue would look like. We had of course already seen pictures of severe cases before. We hadn't even used the word tongue tied. Nor had we come in in a panic that this poor baby was tongue tied.
We asked what the down side would be if he clipped it.
Well, there would be pain and blood and chance of infection and it wouldn't accomplish anything because if your tongue was already moving freely cutting the frenulum wouldn't make it more free. Why would you put your baby through all that?
So then he sat back and watched us, waiting for us to say ok and leave.  But we didn't. My daughter and I looked at each other not knowing what we could do if this was truly not going to work, and if he was truly not going to do it.
However in the back of our minds was still the understanding that doctors since the 1950's have not been schooled in this since the advent of bottles (since babies who cannot nurse can usually drink from a bottle), that midwives used to routinely clip all frenulums with their fingernail at birth, and that he had the possibility of an unusual combination of high palate and tight frenulum meaning his tongue was just slightly short of being able to touch the roof of his mouth for the sucking action.
And then the doctor sealed the deal.  "I don't know why you would want to do this when his tongue is almost normal."
"It's almost normal?" we both asked.
"Yes," he answered, like we should be relieved about that.
And we were. But for a different reason.
"Then let's do it" we both said again at the same time (we must be related).
Almost normal was what we'd thought and why we were going to do it. We needed normal, or nursing was never going to work. Maybe it still wouldn't. But we'd gone from nursing repulsion to nursing desire in him in three weeks. We couldn't not know if this was the piece that was missing.
We had the frenulum cut. Fortunately we'd both read enough about it to know what it would entail. It would be harder on the mom than the baby. My daughter turned her back and covered her ears. I had to hold his strong arms. The nurse held his head and mouth. And the doctor did his job. It took only a few seconds. Baby was crying because he was being held down quite tightly. But he didn't get more upset when it was being clipped. And was quite happy when he was back in mom's arms. We left the office. No pain. No blood. No infection that I can even imagine happening with such a minor procedure.
And guess what. We went home, and he nursed. His mom and I cried.

Z is for Zoetic

Good Words Alphabetically: Z is for Zoetic Ah, z end of z month... I'm going to miss writing a poem and drawing every day.  Perhaps I wi...