Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Red and Green

...are not just Christmas colors. Red is my favorite color and makes me feel happy and is my stimulating color. To me, green is the color of nature, growth and health. I get excited when I have projects that involve using these colors.

Our daughter shared her extra peppers with us so I went to work. I already had the broccoli and now have decided to bake a quiche with it in a month or so. The peppers don't need to be blanched before freezing - just washed and cut up. The broccoli does and it takes a bit more effort to prepare it for freezing, but the time was well spent in my mind.
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"Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure." 

"Green, the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy, is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, jealousy, and wall street."


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Morning

Our first real frost! And, the lake is really cooling down. My view through the dining room window this morning at 8am inspired me to go out and enjoy the fresh cold air.
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Healing Curve

The Healing Curve Journey 1980-1998

The Personal Care Boarding Home Description
The home was a one story older home with full basement and lower apartments located high on a hilltop in a rural area with rooms and accommodations for 30 residents plus live-in staff. Access to the home was a long and winding dirt road. There was well water, a septic system and the electric power was provided by overhead lines. An oil furnace was the heat source. For the boarding residents there was a sunroom with seating for several, a living area with television and upholstered chairs, a dining room, a long hallway with doors to many individual bedrooms and two bathrooms with each having large tubs and a shower. There was a “beauty parlor” cove with facilities for hair and other services. The kitchen area was large and a section for staff meals was at one end. There was an office on the main floor. The back stairs led to the basement and the pantry and several storage rooms plus an area for the laundry, including a toilet. The downstairs apartment was where the owners and the elderly mother lived. They both had full bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms.

Rules and Guidelines
Visitors were free to visit at their convenience and enter the main door in front. There was no lockdown or rules regarding visits. If they brought gifts of foods they were sent to the kitchen for safe-keeping and distribution to the recipient at appropriate times. If the visitors brought clothes, they went to the laundry to be marked before being put away in resident’s room. There was a list on the wall with each name noting their bath day, and other personal care needs. This was checked by the personal caregiver employee as the service was completed. There was a weekly menu posted for all to see. It was planned by the manager/owner. A fire drill was performed on a regular basis and everyone was led, marched, pushed in wheelchairs or walked in a line to the outdoor area in a serious manner. ONLY the registered nurse (the owner) would distribute medicines to the residents, and all medicines were kept in a locked cupboard. No resident was allowed in the kitchen area. Once a day there was an organized walk around and through the dining hall and main hall by all who were able to exercise. Everyone was fully dressed and out of bedrooms in the morning and, unless ill, not in the bed during the day. This was because the beds were remade and the rooms were fully cleaned during the day.  A medical physician was always on call and also visited regularly and administered whatever was needed. 

Staff Characters
Beverly - the owner, boss, registered nurse, shopper and driving force
Alvin - the owner’s husband, cook and bottle washer, and jack of all trades. 
Christy - the owner’s adult daughter
Bruce - Christy’s husband
Corey - Christy and Bruce’s baby son
Mae - the owner’s elderly mother
Luann - the personal caregiver employee
Other personal caregivers employed
Gere - the laundry manager and part-time bookkeeper employee

Residents (Most were full time, some were part time.)
These are the only ones I can remember by name

Barbara - mentally slow and self sufficient
Clara - nice and very cooperative
Daisy - devilish without knowing it - pockets always full stolen things
Lena - very sweet, slight dementia, always pleasant
Margaret - argumentative with dementia but usually cooperative
Marie - frozen spine in question mark position, used walker, tried hard 
Marion - helpful and industrious to all, a busy bee
Mary - character, former boozer and rowdy, but cooperative
Natalie - annoyed at being there and then very ill
Rose - demented, sweet and cooperative wheelchair bound
Ruth - loved her bath, wandered unrestfully, dementia
Sadie - quiet and ladylike
A husband and wife together 
Arthur - wild dreams and thoughts daily, a little feisty
Bernie - soft lower lip- drooled, dementia, pesky
Ed - stuck to himself, unsociable
James - smoked, jerky movements, friendly
Joe - ambulatory with terminal colon cancer, masturbated constantly
John - dull and quiet 
Mr. Barnhart - hated being there and cried often, frustrated 
Robert - sweet, mentally slow
Seth - big man, tendency toward violence, mental condition
It was the year 1980. I had had an accident 6 months previously and sustained a severe injury to my right hand while working in a wood products manufacturing plant. It was also the year I was bushwhacked by infidelity of my husband with a “friend.” I was hurt and depressed and angry and dismayed. I had hate in my heart for my “friend.” The plant had just laid off workers and couldn’t take me back as promised. I had worked 7 years there before my accident and loved the challenge and hard work that gave such a sense of accomplishment at day’s end.

There was an ad in the paper for help at the boarding home which was only nine miles away. I went for the interview and was hired to be the laundry person for the entire home. OK, I took it, never knowing what I was in for! In the past, I had many various jobs. I was a typist, stenographer, saleslady, switchboard operator, front desk manager, waitress (both diners and fancy restaurants) home party demonstrator, apple picker, babysitter, truck dispatcher, business secretary, and more. I thought, “Well, I have always liked doing laundry and had a family of eight, so this shouldn’t be too difficult." Yeah, right! So let me tell you how it went.

When the residents were awakened, dressed, and morning rituals taken care of, the personal caregivers stripped beds, and put all daily laundry in large bags to be brought down to the basement by either Alvin or Christy. The “mussies” were separated from regular. Do you know what “mussies” are? I had to take the bags to the toilet in the laundry area, put on my rubber gloves, and dunk and swish stuff out of the bedding, rags and underpants just like I had done so many times when my babies used cloth diapers. Then the rinsed items were washed separately in one washer with bleach. I went through a lot of beach! I had three working washing machines, and my first job was to sort and decide what consisted of a load and what to wash first in the other two. There was a huge drier that worked very well. My work area had a shelf above the long folding table with 30 cardboard boxes lined up in a row. Each one was marked with initials belonging to individual residents and the laundered, dried, and folded socks, underwear and small items were put there according to matching with the permanent marker initials on each item. Dresses, shirts and trousers were hung on racks and they too were initialized. There were sheets, pillowcases, rags, chair covers, blankets, towels, washcloths, and all laundry of the day was completed at the end of the day. The trek upstairs with everything was great exercise and putting it all away in the boarder’s rooms and multiple linen closets was the completion of the work for the day. Then it began all over again the next day. There was a sewing machine and I made all repairs and adjustments besides re-sewing on buttons. I replaced broken zippers, bra and slip straps, and made pillow cases and small sheets from large ones when necessary. 

Interaction with the personal care staff and residents was minimal. However…..many incidents and interesting happenings were evident every day. For instance, daily I gave the kitchen back its silverware that was found in dress and pant pockets. I chased the wandering residents out of another resident’s room with stolen items in their pockets. I helped serve lunch sometimes but didn’t feed or clean up people at meals. As I walked through the rooms, putting the laundry away, sometimes I would help someone adjust the TV or pick up something they had dropped but that was the most of my physical and personal contact. BUT! One time I saw a woman choking on something during dinner and grabbed her around the waist and squeezed hard and she spit it out. It was on Thanksgiving Day and it was a piece of turkey. Of course we worked on holidays. These people needed assistance and the laundry needed doing every day!  NO one ever wore diapers or such. Once in a while, Christy would do laundry when I had the day off. I worked six days a week. If Christy wasn’t free to help, I had double duty the day after a day off. 

Now, believe it or not, by working there and actually seeing first hand how hard others struggled to live each day, even with good care, my personal problems were diminished considerably.  It was a very good move for me. As I got the laundry down to an organized science, the boss gave me a raise and opportunity to expand my abilities to doing the office work - most of it anyway. I did payroll, I posted income, I paid bills, I set up a system of office management handling all resident financial accounts and concerns and surprised even myself. BESIDES continuing to do all laundry! I ran up and down those basement stairs dozens of times a day. In the good weather I actually hung laundry on outdoor lines strung from trees! It was a five year recovery period for me. I left when offered a position in the county extension office as 4-H Youth Coordinator. That was an opportunity not to be overlooked. I gave 2 weeks notice and moved on without a single regret. A new and enriching position to work with youth was then undertaken with gumption I never knew I had. I worked there for 14 years then retired from the “have-to’s.”

It was jumping from working with mentally and physically challenged older folk to working with energetic male and female leaders and kids, plus with highly educated personnel throughout the counties and the state. That was my best motivation to do whatever needed to be done wherever and however. I now understand the human aspect so much better.

Funny how things worked out and my healing was completed. I owe it mostly to the dynamic, sometimes contentious owner of that home who gave me a chance with complete freedom to figure it all out by myself. She was cognizant of my condition and neither pushed nor pulled me in any direction but taught me to really focus on life and its ups and downs with hard work and goals. 

Today, the home is gone, the owner lady has died and the husband was in a nursing care facility and just recently has died. Today I’m still here with these memories and rocking chair thoughts that remain quite clear with compassion understanding.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Apple project #7 and more...

The two very large Cortland apples that I had saved until last of my supply of them, were dried in the dehydrator. The production will be enough for a pie sometime next spring. TWO apples! The owner of the orchard says the Cortland variety apples are insanely large. The other day, my brother brought over a large one from a very old orchard near him that hasn't been pruned nor sprayed for years. It compared in size and texture with the ones from the well- cared-for orchard.  Something "special" went on this year and only Mother Nature knows what and why. I have yet to bake a pie or crisp or bundt cake. Soon it will happen. Then the project counting will cease as soon as I make another applehead. I gave "Agnes" to the orchard store and the school children who tour the farm saw another thing to do with apples! Remember Agnes?  No? OK here she is.
Annie and Alice stayed home. 
I've started to carve a new gal who will be named either Angie or Alma.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Out for a Ride, In with Foodstuffs

Today it was decided to not bake nor cook and just relax, maybe go for a ride through the countryside. Wouldn't you know we ended up at our favorite markets. Now this is not just a ride around a park. Out in the area where the orchard is located many interesting scenes exist, filled with animals and farmland. Yes, we stopped at the farm orchard and brought home another four half gallons of cider and ANOTHER peck of Macoun apples! They plan to stay open until just before Christmas because the production of all of the apples, among other crops was extremely good this year and there are plenty of really nice varieties available still to be sold.
Who couldn't pass the produce stand without stopping in? Not us!  It was also a lucky morning because the last of the sweet corn and broccoli were just brought in from the field. Even though the tomatoes still are producing, they are running low. The tomatoes are beautiful to look at, nicely sun ripened and we couldn't resist getting two more although they cannot match our favorite ones, the home-grown Oxhearts, for flavor, low acidity and meatiness. (I have saved seeds for next year.)  We couldn't buy more of anything as the freezer is almost full now.
On the road home we shot over to a little popular and very busy general store and gas station in a nearby village to buy a hoagie for lunch when we arrived back home. It was a nice day. I didn't cook, bake, or even make lunch! Fresh cider was our beverage of choice. How wonderful is that?
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

It's a Long Story - REALLY

The Chopsaw Girl

From 1972 to 1980 I worked in town at a cabinet making factory before the accident. I was a "chopsaw girl." The factory had all sorts of stations such as sorting, stacking, sanding, planing, inspecting, and chopping. The job involved looking at a long plank of wood as it came down the line and immediately deciding how many of certain length cuts could be made from it while eliminating (chopping out) flaws and cracks and knots. There were all sorts of lumber going through the molder, run by a man, including oak, basswood, poplar, pine, cedar and more. There were two of us chopping and I was front chopper. That meant that the first board coming down the line was mine, the next was the girl's behind me, and the one after that was mine again. We had to go very fast so we didn't get behind. If I missed my next board it meant that the other chopper would get mine in addition to hers. Then I would have to go like hell to do two in a row! (Something like Lucy in the chocolate factory!)

When the molder man went to get a new load, we got a break to catch up if we were behind. A coincidence is that her name was also Geraldine May!!! TRUE!  We also could work at the other stations but at chopping we were the most competent. We had thick rubber pads to stand on, knee pads to protect the punch knee and wore goatskin gloves because splinters were horrible. Twice during the day we got a 10 minute break and 30 minute lunch. We punched in and out of the time clock for all.

The machines had a spinning blade and when I punched the knee lever with my knee, it would jump up (activated by air compression) and chop the board I held in place for the chop. It's hard to explain. To chop out a knot, it was chop! Move board. Chop! Move board on to next chop. I pushed away the waste pieces with the board moving to the left, readying for the next chop. There was a poster board pinned up in front of us telling us how many pieces of a certain size we needed to get out of the actual order.  For instance, the order might read: 3,000 12" - 8,000 24" - 800 45" - and so on. Sometimes it would continue on for several days until the order was completed. Then another order would replace  the current one and perhaps be for a different variety of wood. The oak orders were more difficult due to being heavier, very splintery, and sometimes warped.  

We tossed our good chopped pieces to the left conveyer and they went on a roller trolley to a sorting roundtable that moved slowly so the sorter girl could stack the pieces by size, on separate pallets. Many times she would get behind with the table piling up like a pyramid, and wood cuts falling on the floor;  we would stop the molder and line and go help her stack and then start up again.

The shadow guard over our saw blade would come down when the blade jumped up to cut. Sometimes it got loosened by all the action. We each had a wrench on the saw table and we would tighten the nut often. One day my wrench slipped off the nut, hit the blade and pulled my hand into it. I knew it was BAD when it happened but felt no pain -  saw no blood -  I just grabbed the injured hand with my other one, ran up and over the belts away from the work station, while telling the other chopper I cut myself, and headed for the boss's office. He took me to the hospital. When I got there as an emergency patient the pain set in as they tried to see exactly what the injury entailed. My left hand that was holding the injured right hand would simply not release! They gave me a shot of morphine in my neck and I remember my legs both pounding up and down hard on the table. The next thing I remember was being in a hospital bed with my hand all wrapped up and pins sticking out everywhere. 

The local surgeon had pinned it together as a temporary fix with surgical injection needles holding it together until I could be shipped to a Philadelphia hand injury orthopedic surgeon in a large hospital for repair surgeries and therapy. They said our local man actually saved my thumb. The ring fingertip went up the waste chute at the factory, along with the tip of the glove. 

Dear friends drove me to the hand center at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia and they had never even been out of our area! They were horse friends and truly country folks. Another friend drove me back and forth to the Philadelphia hospital for surgeries and therapies very often. It took over a year for me to finally be discharged. When there, I saw so many other severe and horrible hand injuries that I felt I didn't deserve to have so much attention to my small one. 

If you have never injured a hand severely, you can't understand how many things you do with your hands. Try hanging clothes on a clothesline, or emptying a pot of boiled potatoes or spaghetti into a colander. How about changing a sanitary napkin, or other personal care, shampooing, fixing hair, tying shoes! All were very difficult to do. 

Gerri and I were excellent choppers and worked the 7am to 3pm shift. We both had kids in school and it worked out fine.  There were two other choppers who worked the night shift. We actually liked our job. It was both mentally challenging and physically active. After my accident, Gerri soon left and I went to work at a personal care boarding home, doing all the laundry for 30 residents and doing all bookkeeping, including payroll. I liked this job too. The owner recently died and we had remained friends until this year. After 5 years there, I left to go to work for the County as the 4-H Coordinator, planning and executing programs for over 500 county youth and 200 leaders. I was already a leader and never dreamed I would be chosen as coordinator when I applied. I was also put in charge of the county horse and pony program, and was on regional and district and state committees, executing shows and activities. I stayed in that position until 1998 when I retired. 

TODAY Most of what we did at the wood plant is done with computers!! My grandson and his girlfriend work there. It changed hands in 2012 and is now called Diaz Manufacturing, a division of Diaz Companies. Many upgrades and improvements have been completed and the company is an asset to our community.

Bob the Builder, shown in these videos from 2011was just a scrawny teenager on his first job at the plant when I worked there. WOW!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Apple Projects #6 & #7

Another (and probably final for this year) batch of Macoun applesauce was made. This one made six quart  containers with a tiny bit left over. I already gave one of the containers away! 
The next project was to bake apple cakes. I used two 8 inch pans because I don't have 9 inch pans, and only baked it for 50 minutes. Instead of the suggested apple varieties, I used 3 large Cortlands instead of 6 medium apples.
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One Bowl Apple Cake -
This cake is so moist and rich and tasty!

2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar 
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil 
6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp apples or whatever tasty apple available.
2 cups flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and oil. Peel and slice the apples and add to mixture in bowl (coating as you go to keep apples from turning brown.) Mix together the baking soda and flour and add to the ingredients in the bowl. Mix well (best with a fork) until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients. Pour mixture into one greased 9x13 or two 9″ round pans. Bake for approximately 55 minutes.