Saturday, August 22, 2009

Better Late than Never?

I found a package in my doorstep a couple of weeks ago marked "Not at this address."

This particular package was going to an out-of-town relative whose dear baby died at birth. I sent an email off to another relative to get the correct address, but didn't hear back until we had left on vacation.

So... now we are back from vacation and my dilemma is: Do I still send the package?

The funeral occurred clear back on Memorial Day weekend. I took a long time thinking about what I wanted to do - see why I need this site?! Then I took an even longer time to get to the post office. I mailed it July 8. Already over a month late.

Then the post office took a month to figure out I had an old address.

Then we went on vacation for 2 weeks.

So, what do you think? Should I mail it? Is this a case where the adage "better late than never" holds true?

What do you think is in the box?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Food Tidings

A hot meal is comforting to someone that is sick, grieving, or otherwise unable to make one for themselves.

But have you ever tried to schedule meals for someone? Especially if they need meals for more than a couple of days?

I just learned about a free online tool that will take the stress out of scheduling meals!

First, you have to figure out what the person needs, what they'll eat and won't eat, when they'll be there to receive the meal, etc. And, if you are like me, you don't think of all the questions the first time and you have to call the person back. "Oh, I forgot to ask....are you allergic to anything?"

This online tool provides a short questionnaire to make sure you ask all the right questions. The questions include things like what foods do you like? do you have any food allergies? as well as drop off location, time, and contact phone number.

Even if you don't use the website, go print off the questionnaire next time you plan meals for someone!

Then, you have to find people to take in the meals. Prepare to spend the evening on the phone! You'll be calling, leaving messages, getting callbacks... Pretty soon you can't remember who you've told what.

"Just calling to make sure I told you they are allergic to dairy."

"I'm confused. Are you doing Tuesday night or Thursday night?" gives you a link to the meal calendar. You can forward it on to friends and family that might be interested in helping. Or send emails directly from the site. Here's a sample meal schedule I put together.

And have you ever agreed to take in a meal to someone and then forgotten? I have. Ah, the embarrassment!

No longer because sends email reminders. I need that!!

I think this is a fantastic tool and I look forward to using it. Those signing up do have to create an account, though, so consider the computer savviness of your potential helpers.

I'd love to hear your experiences using this site. What do you like and/or dislike about it?

What was the best meal you ever received?

Have you, like me, ever forgotten to take in a meal you promised to take?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pretty Toes

Heather submitted this photo of her toes. A friend painted her toenails while she was recovering from having her appendix removed laparoscopically.

She said, "Now I have really pretty toes even if the rest of me is bleh I can look at my toes and remember that I'm loved and at least I have cute toes."

Great idea, thanks for sharing, Heather!

Updating Family & Friends

I just learned about, a site that provides free websites to keep family and friends updated in case of major illness.

We set up a Caring Bridge website for my father-in-law after his open heart surgery for an aortal dissection. My mother-in-law and other family members were inundated by calls and emails as family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers learned what had happened. Once the website was up, the calls and emails dropped drastically, allowing them to focus on my father-in-law.

Here are some of the features I liked about the Caring Bridge site:
  • There were many different security levels for the site. We chose the lowest security setting, which means that anyone with the website address could see it without registering or needing a password. I liked that the sites aren't searchable by Google and other search engines so someone is not going to find the website without being given the address.
  • The Journal allows people to register for emails when updates are posted.

  • The Guestbook allows people to write comments, which we printed out and took to the hospital for my father-in-law and mother-in-law to read.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Names in the Sand

Names in the Sand is the work of a woman in Perth, Australia. She memorializes children that have died by writing their names in the sand and taking a picture. This is a picture of her first name, the name of her son that died at birth.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Warm Socks

The most practical gift I received in preparation for a hospital stay was warm, fuzzy socks. They felt nice while I was laying in bed, it was helpful when I had to get up and walk to the bathroom, and it was comforting to wear something that wasn't hospital issue.
I've only had a grand total of two hospital stays, though, so I'm curious to know what other ideas you have of things to do for someone in the hospital.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Hot Meal

My daughter was born a year ago this month and I've been reflecting on her birth. It was a wonderful time, but it was also very overwhelming for me to enter my new role of motherhood. My mother stayed with me after the birth and her help was very appreciated.

A couple of days after my mother left I received an email from my husband's aunt letting us know she had made us a lasagna. "Can we bring it by on Monday or would another day be better?"

She dropped by a hot, yummy lasagna Monday just before dinner. Is there anything more comforting than a hot, homemade meal?

What was the most thoughtful thing someone did for you after the birth of a baby?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Scarves for Thyroid Cancer

I had my thyroid removed in December of 2005 due to thyroid cancer. A friend of mine visited me in the hospital and she brought me a very thoughtful and practical gift.

She brought a large crochet hook and some fun yarn. She taught me how to make a very simple scarf. I enjoyed the visit and after she left, I appreciated having something to do as I recuperated.

The scarves did an excellent job of disguising the bruises and stitches on my neck as I returned to work and my other daily pursuits. I wore them for a couple of months as I waited for the scars to fade.