Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue is My New Favorite Color

Since this is my blog, I can rant a little from time to time.  It's been ten days since our dad died.  It has been full of ups and downs.  One day I feel at peace and happy with the fact he didn't suffer a lot, and he is with our mom.  Then other days I feel a big void in the house because we had such a good routine and now I don't have those things to tend to.  I think that is normal.  What isn't normal is how people take advantage of the bereaved.  My parents pre-paid their funeral expenses fifteen years ago.  Of course, prices have gone up during that time but that isn't our responsibility.  I guess the funeral company they worked with feels the need to make up some of the costs.  They padded the costs by trying to charge us for an urn that was already paid for.  I was told they couldn't proceed with cremation until I signed the statement they sent with the additional charge for the urn.  I feel they need to stand by their original agreement.  Now the person I talked to needs to consult with the accountant.  It is kind of like a car salesman going to check with the manager.  You know darn well they are just disappearing in the bathroom so it appears that they are trying to negotiate.  In addition, we were charged $300 to have a local funeral service hold dad overnight in their funeral home until the cremation people could get there.  I know it's a business and they have to make money too, but geez.

*I have to amend this previous paragraph.  Some of my complaints were listened to and whether it was miscommunication by them or me, we have resolved our issues.  The main funeral service has been very helpful going forward.  I am grateful for their help.

So even though I'm having a blue day, the blue theme keeps reoccurring to make everything better.  Tonight we are having a full moon called a Blue moon or the Blueberry moon.  It doesn't really look blue to me, but the sky does and that is good enough for me.  Maybe the moon is blue in some other part of the world. 

During dad's passing days, we saw a blue and black admiral butterfly constantly.  It was sitting on our front porch when he died.  I believe it was the spirit of our mom waiting for him.

Then the next morning a blue and black bluejay feather was perfectly placed in my path.

I have not seen that butterfly since.  I have seen many other butterflies, but not the blue and black one.  Apparently there is a book called Final Gifts and other books on that topic that I must get.  Through stories these books show us how to appreciate the ways in which the dying communicate their needs.  I think this happened to us many times through dad's final days.  I will keep the rest of those events private, but many things happened to make a believer out of me.

In following the happy blue theme, I am enjoying our resident bluebirds feeding another batch of young ones.  The first nest failed because of the wrens attacking the eggs.  The second nest produced five young bluebirds who have stayed in the area.  Now we have a nest of four baby bluebirds who are being fed by both parents.

One of the bluebirds parents waiting in the wings to feed the new babies.  A young one stands by ready to help.

I think it's amazing how they can fly off and come back with a fresh worm.

So yes I'm sad at times, but the blue sky, the blue moon, and the bluebirds are making me able to handle the challenges at hand.  I know my parents left us some Final Gifts to show us that everything is fine.  I do believe BLUE is my new favorite color.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Our 3150 mile vacation in 10 days

After our long sad week with my dad passing, I want to tell you about our vacation.  It is a little bittersweet, but having no idea what was going to happen on our return, we had a good time.  I won't bore you with a bunch of details.  Other peoples vacations aren't nearly as fun as having one yourself.  In a nutshell, we visited the town on the Ohio River in Indiana where my husbands family lived and worked in the cotton mill in the early 1900's,

This is the old cotton mill.  It has now been converted to apartments.

next we took a train ride in West Virginia and then drove down a 10% grade, two lane road with 25 mph curves.  We aren't used to that type of terrain,


then we visited one of my high school friends that I hadn't seen in fifty years (thanks so much Judy and Jim).  They live near the beautiful Shenandoah River.

and finally we spent a few days at Edisto Beach in South Carolina.  My daughter and her family were staying there for a week and suggested we come for a few days.

Two of our grandson's at the waters edge with my husband.

On the way home we visited the Angel Tree on John's Island South Carolina.  The tree is estimated to be 400 years old.

See how small my husband looks next to this giant Live Oak tree.

Lastly we visited one of my husbands friends whom he hadn't seen for many years (thanks for dinner Dan and Lee of Tennessee).  He had lived in Australia for a very long time and only recently moved back to the states.  He makes beautiful picture frames.  Here is his website if you want to see them.

All of those things were wonderful, but the icing on the cake took place at the beach.  Soon after we unpacked,  I noticed a sign on the refrigerator in the house we were staying.  I didn't pay much attention at the time.  I took this picture after our experience on the second night there.

Shortly after we arrived, we walked to the beach.  It was beautiful and the waves were clapping against the shore.  People were sunbathing and digging for shark teeth.  My daughter actually found one, but people would look all day long.  I'm not sure what they did with them, but it must be a profitable thing.  On top of the beach was an area that was roped off.  It had an orange sign that said Loggerhead Turtle Nesting Area.

We saw a small shell sitting on the sand inside the nesting area and were told that when the sand and shell starts to sink, the turtles will be hatching.  The next evening we walked to the beach again.  We were the only people checking the nest.  I got so excited, the sand was sinking.  We sat on a bench nearby and waited.  Pretty soon the turtle patrol came by.  They shouted that the turtles were hatching, and they had work to do.  They started shoveling sand to make a ramp for the babies to slide down.  Apparently the beach had eroded considerably and the turtle nest was sitting on top of a three foot ledge.

Even my husband grabbed a shovel to help

The ladies of the turtle patrol making a trail in the sand.
They blocked off the area to keep spectators to the side.
Then we saw it, little heads poking through the sand.

Now the waiting began.  We watched the sunset and waited for it to get dark.  I called my daughter to come and watch with us. 

The turtles follow the moon shining on the horizon to get to the ocean.  No cell phone light or photography was allowed.  When it was finally dark, there wasn't any moonlight.  One of the ladies from the patrol guided the small little turtles to the ocean.  They followed the light of a small flashlight.  Because there was no way of knowing when the turtles would hatch, only about 30 people were there at the time.  I heard someone say she lived there for more than ten years and had never seen this special sight.  All together there were almost 100 little turtles running to the water.  It is something we Wisconsinites won't soon forget. There were several nests along the beach, but we were so fortunate we happened to be there at that exact time.

Since I was not allowed to take photos, I found this public domain picture of baby loggerheads hatching.

The next day this is all that was left.  Hopefully a lot of these little turtles make it in the wild ocean filled with predators.

And after the tide, the beach had this beautiful pattern.  No one would guess what had happened hours earlier.

This vacation was meant to be.  It proved that we have very little control in what happens in our world.  Everything happens as it should, and we shouldn't question it even though we don't understand at the time.