Small (and large) comforts see me through.

I had my second corneal transplant yesterday. My left eye seems to be progressing at about the same rate as the right one did back in February.photo(2) I’m not one to quote the Bible but I can’t help thinking about the verses in 1st Corinthians 13 about first seeing dimly and then seeing clearly. I could hardly see through the haze at all yesterday. Today I’m seeing better, though still through a veil. In a few days, if I progress as I hope to, I will see clearly.

This is nothing short of miraculous. I find myself feeling tremendously grateful to the donors who cared enough about others to make their organs available in the event of their demise. It’s a generous and forward-thinking and liberal act.

And it’s impossible to appreciate the donors without thinking and wondering about the families and friends they have left behind. I don’t need to meet them but I wish I were able to send a thank-you note for this remarkable gift that is my much-improved sight. I thank you most kindly.

Also, to my family and friends who so graciously give your time and love and transportation in order to make my way easier, I give you my thanks and my love.

And I mustn’t forget Lulu aka Baby who snuggles with me and comforts me when there’s no one else here to do it.photo(18)

Things I ponder as I walk.

Are cats vengeful?  I used to have a lovely African violet sitting in my kitchen window.  It has thrived there for a couple of years.  Enter Lulu.  Lulu the Cat loves to sever the leaves.  Sometimes she chews them; sometimes she discards them.  I surrounded the plant with other items in order to leave no space for said cat.  For a time it worked.

This morning Lulu was playful.  I heard her bouncing all over the kitchen and den.  I eventually went in there to join in the fun.  I quickly started to feel more hostile than playful.  There on the floor were about eight or nine violet leaves as if they were trying to compete with the shedding tree outside the window.  All the bouncing had apparently been Lulu jumping up to steal a leaf, losing her balance and dropping back down, taking a leaf with her.  Grrrrrrrr.  Poor, poor, pitiful plant.  See all those sad leafless stems?

I have now done what I always did when I had small children: I put the plant where the cat can’t get to it.  Behind closed doors.  In my bedroom.  Lulu’s not allowed in there because of my allergies.

Is it time to move beyond awareness October is breast cancer awareness month.  I wrote about this last year, in a very positive way, I think.

I don’t take awareness lightly.  It’s the first step toward eradicating a problem.  And breast cancer is a major problem.  As are all cancers.

I have several friends who are breast cancer survivors.  And one dear friend who didn’t survive.  I recently asked my closest friend L, who is a survivor, “Are you sick of all this pink ribbon stuff?”  Her immediate and unequivocal response: “YES!”

I think it’s safe to say that the “pink ribbon” has become the universal symbol for Breast Cancer Awareness, and there’s the rub.  L’s concern, and mine, is that it is being misused to make money, to make a profit, by companies and/or individuals who have no intention of contributing to the cause.  I don’t know how prevalent this practice is, but I do know I’ve seen many tacky items with some cheap version of a pink ribbon, and I simply couldn’t believe they were legitimate.

Whenever I think of charities I always return to March of Dimes.  Is anyone else old enough to remember what that organization did to polio?  They funded research which resulted in the development of both the Salk and Sabin vaccines thus eradicating polio.  With that mission accomplished, they turned their focus to the prevention of birth defects.

When I was in elementary school we had “dime” drives with cards that held dimes.  We children collected dimes at a time when, for many, they were hard to come by.  Everyone was in on this fight.  Even parents (mine) who couldn’t afford to give to charity contributed a thin dime or two to the card of their child.  No child wanted to take in an unfilled card.

My family didn’t understand the full significance of the March of Dimes until my baby sister contracted polio at the age of two.  The doctor sent her to a hospital in another city.  Fortunately her case was mild.  She spent only a month there.  Imagine my parents’ surprise when the hospital administrator told them the bills would be paid by the March of Dimes.

I don’t really know whether it’s fair to compare these two charities.  Times are different.  There were most certainly some who “cheated” March of Dimes, but I was too young to know that.  I do know that many played fairly because we were committed to a very important cause.  And we delivered.

I’m idealistic enough believe that cancer research can be streamlined and standardized and we can beat it.  Franklin D. Roosevelt started the March of Dimes.  Maybe what we need is presidential prodding.  Cancer is nonpartisan.  When we seriously focus on a problem we can be nonpartisan, too, and we can accomplish anything.  Let’s do it!  Maybe one day we will have a cancer vaccine.  It could happen.

All in the family.

For the better part of last week I had a family — here, at my house.  My daughter’s air conditioner gave up the fight and they had to get a new one.  During the wait and installation they lived with me.  Some days we had three of the children, sometimes we had only the youngest.  (The oldest was at gymnastics camp in Pennsylvania.)  Oh, and the cat!  I forgot to mention the cat.

It was fun being part of a family again.  I missed them when they moved back home.  While they were here, I found myself relaxing into the chaos that having children entails.  There’s almost always one who’s hungry, one who needs a ride to somewhere, one who needs a little extra attention, etc.  Multigenerational families are a thing of the past in our American society.  After last week, I can see reasons to bring them back.

There are times when moms and dads can’t stop what they’re doing in order to give extra attention to the child in need of it — even acting out to get it.  But Grammy can.  My little boy entertained himself for a long time after I snuggled with him on the couch and taught him to play Solitaire on my tablet.  Granted, times are different.  I learned to play by watching my dad play with a real deck of cards.  Still, F and I had some quality time and he knows a new game.

I’ve written about my youngest grandchild S before.  She’s five.  She, of course, has a personality like no other.  She constantly fascinates and entertains me.  I can’t decide whether I should call her my “bag lady” or my little “pack rat.”  She borrowed an empty purse to put her “finds” in, but quickly decided it wasn’t big enough when she discovered one of my large canvas grocery bags.  She took her bag and went about her days accumulating “stuff.”  It seemed harmless enough to me.  Occasionally she would show me one of the treasures she had in her stash.  No problem, right?

After “little missy” went home, I found her bag in an upstairs bedroom.  I picked it up.  It was heavy.  How on earth had that small child carried it up the stairs?  And down?  And up?  As I emptied the bag, I was able to solve many mysteries .  The Earl Grey tea we couldn’t find for breakfast?  The entire package was in her bag along with the missing place mat, a partial set of coasters, a flying pig doorstop, a modern-day version of the Bible, a book of positive quotes to start your day, some cocktail napkins, a bar of soap — I could go on and on.  How I wish I had taken a picture of her mountain of goodies.

They have gone home now to their once again cool house.  I miss them.  I’ve been thinking as I write that it certainly was fun having someone to “blame” when I couldn’t find things.  And guess what!  Even though they have moved back home, I’m no longer alone.  I have a cat!  That’s right, they left Lulu with me.  I’ve adopted her.  We’re getting along very well, adapting to each other’s idiosyncrasies.  It seemed the natural thing to do.  You see, Lulu doesn’t do well with children.  She’s getting less nervous every day.  Maybe I am, too.