Saturday, November 28, 2020

Three Thanksgiving Visits - Fort Worth, Lillian and the Bells!

I was up early on Thanksgiving morning and watched the 94th annual Macy's Parade while addressing Christmas cards.

I'm loving spending time in our Christmas den!
Right now it's the only room in the house that is clean and decorated.
That and the gazebo.
Those are my two Happy Places to rest a bit before moving on.
The rest of the house is 'under construction.'

Louis Dean slept a bit later than I did but we were both up, dressed and ready to go to Fort Worth and we arrived right at noon!! Not even one minute late!!

We were a small group this year but we enjoyed every minute.

There's usually a crowd at Nita and Mike's for Thanksgiving with 30+ people.
Some years more and some years less.
However, this was the very first year we all sat at one table.
Nita used her real dishes!! Not one paper plate in sight! And no Solo cups either!
There were 7 of sister Nita and Mike, her daughter Leah and Patrick, my son Benjamin and Louis Dean and I.

But the food could have fed triple our number!!
Nita and Mike are mazing!
She made made mac and cheese, broccoli rice casserole, gravy and dressing.

I brought company mashed potatoes, pepper poppers, and Louis Dean's dinner rolls.
Patrick smoked two turkey breasts and that was the best turkey I have ever tasted!!
Plus Nita had ham!

Leah is an excellent cook and made the most scrumptious lemon cranberry bars while Nita made pumpkin cheesecake and pecan bars.

We had grace and then set at the table for well over an hour!
It was a lovely time of visiting and leisurely enjoying all that wonderful food.
Our family seems to be gifted with the ability to get along well with each other.
We even discussed politics for a few minutes with no change in voice or manner.
I think it may be because we love and respect each other.
No snide remarks or trashing one party or the other.
I love that.

I was watching the clock and noticed it was time for me to get over to the nursing home for my scheduled visit with Lillian. I arrived at 1:30 and there was one other lady there to visit her cousin.
(Even though I was told to arrive as early as possible because there would be many visitors.)
We both waited outside and a nurse came out and did the nasal swab to test for Covid.
Now that didn't happen as easily as I wrote that sentence.
We rang the bell. And waited. And someone finally came and said someone else would be here shortly. And that someone else did come out but it took awhile.
After she swabbed us, she set her timer and we set ourselves on the park benches outside the door and waited.
Both of us were negative so we were escorted inside.

Amber (one of the staff) went with me to Lillian's room and I asked her to take our picture.
I'm so glad I was able to visit. The months of isolation, no visits, and lack of getting treats of homecooking have taken a toll on her. Apparently the nursing home had a big Thanksgiving dinner for all the employees earlier that afternoon. Lillian's room is very close to the private dining room and she had noticed all the food coming in. She could see it and she could smell it. Everyone had prepared food and made a big buffet of it all. Because of them stopping to eat - all the residents meals were served nearly two hours late and it was NOT the Thanksgiving Dinner Lillian had thought it would be.
When I came in her room at 2:30, her meal tray had just arrived and she was visibly upset and disappointed in it. To be honest, it did not look good. There was chicken along with turnip greens and macaroni and cheese ( but not much cheese because it looked very pale) some dressing and a piece of cornbread. The dessert was some mushy thing in a Styrofoam cup and Lillian asked them to take the entire tray away.
I think she was what we call 'Hangry!'
And rightly so as breakfast had only been a bowl of cereal served some seven hours earlier.
So you might say the timing of my visit was not exactly perfect!

But I think it did cheer her up.
I thought maybe we would go outside in the courtyard to visit - as it was an absolutely gorgeous day - 
but instead we went out in the hall and talked to a friend of Lillian's.
This lady has a beautiful spirit and such a good attitude.
I'm ashamed that I can't remember her name but whenever the nursing home opens up, I will be sure and visit with her again. She laughed at Lillian's complaint about the food and finally got Lillian to laughing, too. If I had only known the staff would not be checking everything I brought in, I could have taken her a plate lunch from our Thanksgiving dinner. That's what I did last year.
The last time I was here with the burger from Braum's, the director told me that not even the satff can bring in take out food. Maybe they relaxed the rules for staff but they need to do the same for residents.

I only had an hour to visit so we went back to her room and she showed me all the cards she's received!
I cannot thank you all enough for what you have done.
She read every single card - maybe more than once!
She started saving the envelopes so now I have a lot more addresses to send out Christmas cards to all who were such angels to send something to Lillian. She didn't save all of them at first, the envelopes, I mean. She had no idea the cards would keep coming. At first it was birthday cards and then Halloween cards, Thinking of You cards, and then Thanksgiving cards.
I thank you so much for taking the time to pray for her and send her mail.
She's getting more attention from the staff as they come down to her room just about every single day to deliver the mail!

I was happy to see that she has put on a few of the many pounds she's lost!
Her granddaughter brought her the ingredients for homemade pimento cheese last week.
She wasn't able to actually see Lillian but she left it with the staff and they took it to her room.
My visit with her on March 10th when we went shopping and out to lunch was the last visit she has had with anyone outside the nursing home. My visit on Thanksgiving was the first one since then.
She loved the outfit I brought her!

We said our goodbyes and several 'I love you's' before I left.
Next visit I will bring her Christmas wreath for the door and hopefully some take out food!!
Would it be a sin if I tucked a Braum's burger underneath the wreath?
It's in a Tupperware wreath bottom and clear top.
By nature I am a follower of the rules.......however......Lillian would dearly love a hamburger!

Louis Dean had stayed at Nita's and Mike's and watched football with the guys.
The girls had gone to the backyard with tall glasses of iced tea and sat in Nita's cool swing so I took my tea out and joined them.

Before we left. Nita, Mike, Leah and Patrick loaded everyone up with leftovers to take home.
What a blessing to have Food for Friday!!
Benjamin is a favorite so he may have enough food for the entire weekend!

We drove home during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys football game.
I had just enough time to shower and change clothes before we headed over to Dallas to the Bell's house. Lillian called me and said that, while there were 5 cases of Covid at the nursing home on Thanksgiving morning, now there were 8. A nurse had just come in and given her a swab test. The fifth one this week. I was SO glad I had not touched anyone but Lillian and not used the bathroom there nor touched my face plus I was wearing a N95 mask. I used hand sanitizer as soon as I got back in my car after visiting and washed my hands when I got to Nita's.

Benjamin went home to get his Klaus - I still have a hard time pronouncing his name!
It comes out as CLAWS for me and that's not right. It's more like 'KLOUSE.'
We brought Samantha and Tabitha with us so all four sibling kittens were reunited for the second time since we got them.

Four kittens from the same litter and four completely different personalities!
Here's our two!
Amber and Mike have a highly vaulted ceiling in their foyer and there they are just hanging out up there! Tabitha is chilling with her paw hanging loosely over the ledge.
Klaus was totally overwhelmed by all the other kittens and people!
He's an 'only cat' to a bachelor. And they are tight.
But still! Benjamin is determined to give Klaus life experiences.
With enough visits, he will be just fine.
I did not get a good pic of him but I will say his favorite spot is to wrap himself around Benjamin's neck.

Amber had an early Christmas present for Ben and his cat!

He will LOVE this!!!
Amber bought a Christmas house for hers and there are so many funny stories about how Tabitha chewed off  the tabs that held the second story and when Samantha jumped onto that platform - with Tabitha below in the first story - and it fell through!!! Well!  Amber says Tabitha was so traumatized that she ran out and slid all the way into the dining room skidding to a stop under the table and wondering what in the world just happened!!

We were all gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving night together.
That included a delicious soup Amber had prepared along with Louis Dean's dinner rolls and some pepper poppers from me.

This was our movie!
Last year we saw Christmas Chronicles I with the Bells so now a movie on Thanksgiving night is a tradition!

Today - what is called Black Friday -and why is that?? - Louis Dean dealt with a multitude of fallen leaves. I have never known him to be this determined to keep up with the leaves. They are usually piled so high that the outdoor Christmas lights are hidden beneath them. Our lawn guy normally arrives in time to clean the yard and flower beds up right before Christmas. I don't think there will be any left by the time he gets here. Louis Dean bought himself a nice new electric lawn mower and he seems to enjoy using it.

I spent the day decorating the front porch.
This should not take as long as it did!

We both stopped what we were doing at 4:30 and got cleaned up to go watch Logan and Harrison's hockey tournament.

It was good to get out of the house and STOP working for awhile.
Plus we love to show support for the grands.
The game started at 5:45 so I knew that would involve night driving.
Arriving was no problem and I chose the easiest route by way of George Bush Turnpike.
I'm happy to say the trip home was easy peasy! It helps when you drive familiar roads and there's no rain or fog. We can get back and forth to places we know and the lights are right.
Still....we are cautious about driving at night as a rule. And it does take BOTH of us to do it.
I wanted to attend this game but I needed a copilot.
Louis Dean was more than willing.

I will close tonight's journal entry with this pic of our front porch.....
I have run out of 100 count white lights with green wire.
Even though I spent a lot of money on lights to last me right after Christmas last year.
I had to use white lights with white wire on the door I wrapped it in gold mesh.
The porch is not finished yet but it's almost done.
Tomorrow I move on to the living room!

'tis the season to DECORATE!!!


Sandra said...

There's so much here to comment I don't I can't pick one thing to comment on but I did read every single word and all I could think of is wow what a busy few days you had. I loved all the family things and all the stories about the kitties and all the stories about sisters and siblings and children and Cat scratchers oh my

Vee said...

Sandra's right! I could write a comment as long as the post. ☺️ So pleased that you had so many opportunities to be with your family. That is what life is all about.

Lillian looks good. I am very glad that she is receiving her cards and I imagine that they are from all over. What you described with the dinner for staff and the dinner for residents sounds just plain cruel. Heartless. What is the matter with them?! What is being done to our nursing home and care facility residents across the country is a national disgrace. There has got to be a better way. Don't get me started. I could rant all day over it.

What fun for the kitties to hang out together. More fun for their parents to be together I suspect.

Happy decorating. You have a head start on me for sure! 🌟 🎄🌟

Susie said...

Linda, I love the porch lights.. You sure had some wonderful get togethers. Although they were had to be such fun. Glad you saw Lillian. The story of the cat Christmas house was so funny. Ben's big dimple :) he looks happy with his gift. Blessings to all of you. Stay safe. Love you guys, xoxo, Susie

Changes in the wind said...

All that food and good company makes for a special day and I can't imagine how happy Lillian was to get to see you and get hugs. Hate that the staff are not more accommodating and taking better care of her. All the kittens together must have be a hoot. Am sure the quads love having you come and cheer them on.

JBen said...

What a magical place your home appears with all the beautiful lights and decorations. Glad you were able to be with Lillian but it's heartbreaking how the elderly have to suffer because of covid-related closings. Ah the kitties! So cute! Your Thanksgiving was wonderful to see and I feel like I was there with you because of the way you described it. xoxo June

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Looks like a wonderful thanksgiving with friend and a family. Hope you all stay safe and healthy The kittens are now definitely a big part of that. You all give them wonderful homes to inhabit. Tis definitely the season to decorate. I started yesterday and have much more to do. Waiting for my son to come over and get all the bins out of the storage shed for me. I'm so excited to be preparing for Christmas!

Arlene @Nanaland said...

Linda, hide a hamburger and take it to her. This is an old nurse speaking. My goodness....nothing seems to really stop this virus and if Lillian wants a Hamburger I say she should have one. Praying you stay well. Loved the story of the kitty house and the resulting antics. Could you post Lillian's address again. I lost mine after I sent a card. I meant to put it in my contacts and totally forgot. I would like to send a Christmas card.

Jan said...

I agree take Lillian a hamburger. Your hair style is lovely. Have a great weekend

Rain said...

I feel so bad for Lillian and all of those people in the home. I hope she gets some home cookin' mean of the staff to be partying it up and not sharing the good food. The food you ate though Linda, wowweee.... :) I LOVE your Christmas room!

Deanna Rabe said...

I love it all except the part about the bad dinner for Lillian and residents at her home! Not good!

I’m glad she’s still getting cards. I waited until now so that she’d still get cards, and I plan to send her a Christmas card as well!

I’ll have to check out that movie you watched at the Bells.

BeachGypsy said...

my friend Linda, I do believe you SPREAD JOY wherever you go....and I'm so GLAD YOU FINALLY GOT TO SEE LILIAN, IN PERSON, WHAT A JOY!! It had to have done her ALOT of good. Loved the pictures and how they handled the Thanksgiving meal for the residents sounded AWFUL....JUST AWFUL, Not good, not fair. That would've made me angry too. I'm with you---SNEAK THAT WOMAN IN A BIG JUICY CHEESEBURGER next time, ha ha lOL!! Loved seeing your holiday pictures, ALOT OF DELICIOUS food going on there!! Sure looked good. Glad so many of y'all were able to be there for family time and i do love that neat swing out there in the yard, fun! Check out some of the movies i put on my blog today, I just KNOW you would love some of these Linda! Louis Dean might like that Western one. Hope y'all are having a great weekend your way....girlfriend you are SO WAY AHEAD of us on the Christmas decorations, I am impressed. Your front door is lovely. Hugs!

photowannabe said...

Okay..first off I guess I have to vent over the treatment Lillian and the others in her "home" are getting. How rude to flaunt the banquet for the employees and get such sad untraditional fare for the people living there..terrible.
About all the new cases of positivity COVID..the staff must be bringing it in since no one else can be there, especially if the few , like you, get in and have tested negative..Something is very wonky!!
Ok end of rant...
I'm so glad you could do all those wonderful things for celebration, good food and good company.
Your home looks so lovely. Love the lights and the love that shines through.
Take care my friend.

Sandi said...

I am so glad you were able to go inside and visit IN PERSON!

Carole said...

Sending good thoughts to Lillian (and everyone) isolated in homes. Glad you had a nice thanksgiving. Cheers

Ginny Hartzler said...

Your porch is gorgeous, what a fairyland! Wow, you have been busy! Hmmm, after this story, I do not think I will buy this cat scratcher! Our Simba is a senior, and he would have a heart attack if this happened to him!! Lillian is clinging onto you for dear life! For sure, sneak her in a burger next time! For SHAME on this nursing home for having such a lousy Thanksgiving dinner!!

Donna said...

Miss Lillian needs a cheeseburger! And a milkshake! Too bad her Thanksgiving dinner was less than edible. Shame on whomever was in charge (and fed their faces within a smelling distance)! So happy you were actually able to see her.

Your bitty kitties are so pretty. They get to go on holiday when you and Louis Dean go to the ranch.

I'm already planning the card I will send Lillian next. Valentine's Day will be fun to make cards.

Wanda said...

Oh how fun to get back to visiting blog friends. The last few months have had their share of activity. A computer crash, a car crash, and lots more. But all is well, and a new car and a fixed computer.

Loved all your pictures, and saw some of them on facebook.

Your life is so full of joy and happiness and decorations. Love them all.

Lisa said...

The food looks great! I hope Lillian gets a decent Christmas dinner. Bless her heart. Are they not all just adorable? Cute picture of you and Louis Dean. I will have some good news to share soon!


Judy said...

Love all your lights! It sounds like a delightful Thanksgiving 2020 out there...and so nice that you could visit Lillian.

obscure said...

Break the rules, Linda, and bring her that Braun's burger! They have so little joy during this difficult time and that's a terrible story about the Thanksgiving dinner