04 December 2005
seven santa sacks (edited after my trip to the nursing home)

Nah, it's not a line from a carol you've forotten ... it's my latest "deliverable" (to borrow from my professional language) for 25 Things for Charity. In just over an hour, I'll go down to the nursing home and meet Coordinator Ditzy in person. Next year, we'll be much better organized! Though I only have 7 this year, I plan to do a lot more next year with more personal touches. Our kids will also be old enough to dress up as Zwarte Pieten (the Dutch equivalent to elves) and we will deliver the packages in person on the day itself. We're going to make it our new family tradition! This year, the sacks contain the following: stationary and stamps, socks, scarves, puzzle books (crosswords and stuff), mints, and chocolates. Not every sack has all the possible items, but all have most of them.

The past week has been really slow for stitching for some reason. After some deliberation, I've set aside A Primitive Stocking for the time being so I can concentrate on definately getting Max's pirate set done to go under the tree. I started the ship today, which will become a book cover for his very own Ship's Log (he has wanted a diary but all we can find are very girly ones, so now he'll have one that's totally unique). Next I will do a Jolly Roger which will become a Pirate's Purse. If I can get into Utrecht, I will purchase what I need to make it a real change purse. Otherwise, I'll make it into a drawstring bag and it can be a pouch for treasure. There will be other gifts in the pirate chest, but those are the only two that require cross stitching. I also need to get my Katrina's Quilt square done.

I hope this finds you all happy and healthy. Thanks for coming to visit!

I've just returned from the nursing home and I'm feeling pretty shaky now after a brief meeting and tour with the coordinator. She was happy with the sacks and said several times how unusual it was for someone with no family at the home to think of this idea ... she said it so many times that it occurred to me that she was actually uncomfortable with the idea, like I might be some sort of dangerous freak. So I tried to reassure her, telling her that my own grandparents were in nursing homes, Niek's grandma is in a care home, etc. and that I just simply like old people. Is that so strange? When I asked if I could make a little something for people having a birthday, she got really stand-offish. They want people who can come in and volunteer in person, so I explained (again) about my busy kids. I can't hire a babysitter to volunteer at the nursing home. Then, while trying to convince me to come in as a volunteer, she took me on a tour of the dementia ward and the severe-physical-ailments ward. That's a great way to put a person at their ease (not!). In the dementia ward, two old women got me ... literally. It was like a horror film. One of them grabbed me and refused to let me go while the other backed me against the wall with her walker! I started to get scared, but then the weirdness of it all got to me and I nearly started giggling from nerves. I managed to quell that, but it took awhile to safely pry the woman's hands from my arm. My wrist still hurts - she was pretty strong! The physical-ailments ward was a quicker tour, and I kept my eyes averted a lot. I have a very weak stomach for that stuff - can't even see it on TV.

So we ended our bizarre tour and she again stressed that they are looking for personal volunteers and I again tried to arrange something for birthdays of a few residents. "I can come deliver the gifts in person, in the evening like this, if that's the problem," I suggested. She blew me off, and when I said that at least next year I'd see her for Sinterklaas again, with my kids that time, she said, "Oh that's a whole year away - who knows what may come up between now and then."

I came home trying to figure out what I'd done wrong. Was this a strange or even wrong gesture to make? I know that as much as we managed to visit my grandparents in their nursing homes, they still would've loved a bit of extra attention on their special days. I just thought that since I missed out on doing that for my grandparents, maybe I could bring a little smile to someone else's grandfolks.
posted by mainely stitching at 6:22 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ |


  • At Monday, 05 December, 2005, Blogger Von

    Oh Barbara, what a dear you are!! I can see nothing wrong with your idea and do not understand the coordinator's uneasiness. Is there another nursing home you could work with? Maybe they'd be more receptive to you and work with you.