Time out

I will be taking some time off during December to focus on other matters than blogging. First, as I mentioned (elsewhere?), I bought a paper journal, last month, and I am working on writing more and more often by hand, rather than by keyboard. I am enjoying that, but want to get into the habit of writing on paper first, rather than “taking notes”.

That’s been reinforced, this week, by the hard drives on both of my laptops developing fatal errors that the recovery routine can’t repair. The newer laptop was injured on Wednesday in an encounter with the floor. I didn’t come into the room in time to discover which dog knocked it over. The second, the older one, had been developing problems years ago (which is why I quit using it so much), and it entered a death spiral earlier today.

I expect that I have all of the passwords, and I plan to get back into my email during the coming week. (I believe I have the essential accounts working.) The tablet (2-in-one) is awkward for writing and has no backlit keyboard, which lately has become a necessity. Using a USB keyboard in the interim. Not fun, but I can see these larger keys a lot better. 😀

Too, as you might recall, there were seven deaths in the family between October 2016 and September 2017. Both of my parents, two aunts, and three uncles. This week, we lost an uncle from Al’s family, and I lost a cousin with whom I had become reacquainted after 48 years, when we met again at her mother’s funeral in September. Which took place in old home town close to here; their family was established in the Seattle area, where I visited for some weeks, just out of college. I was so happy to see her (and her brother) again after all those years. I am so glad that she and I remembered each other—and fondly—and we enjoyed what time we had to be together, again.

I have not been sleeping well, recently, and I am quite tired. Looking forward to meeting with the bereavement counselor again between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We can talk about the continuation of deaths in the family and how I am coping. Not comfortably, but instead trying to be present to the pain and loss. Part of life…part of the richness in the tapestry of memories.

Best wishes for the holiday season!

Much love,
Elizabeth

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Thursday – Before Friday’s Rain

I don’t know how we have reached the end of this month already! Today, we went shopping for meat, fish, and salad greens. Then Al started work again on the workshop, calling upon me sporadically to lift, steady and hold siding while he measured the boards for cutting and then trimmed and nailed them in place.

Yesterday, I got a couple loads of laundry washed. Still trying to make inroads into the dish-washing. The dogs are asleep on the sofa, right now, and looking so very peaceful. Charlie did find something inviting to roll around in, in the back yard, but I never did figure out what it was.

My current bed (recliner) is on its last breath of life, and I am still waffling on how I want to replace it. Al’s fell apart, last weekend, and so at the beginning of the week, we went shopping and found one that he likes. We’d thought to get mine at the same time, but I’m not feeling decisive, this week.

I did sign up for the 20-day Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration course at WordPress. That’s at TheWrittenWord.net. Also, I have made private the posts at TheArtOfDisorder.net before the summer, mostly. I am hopeful that I will begin using that domain (another WP blog) for challenges and such. A lot of that blog revolved around trying to cope, and then getting organized, and then tracking my health, and such. I decided to put a lot of that aside for the time being, as far as topics go.

The pollen season is back in full force. Spring = tree pollen, Fall = ragweed (and nettles and sagebrush). I long for the first snowfall!

snow piled on tree branches
Snowfall

Post-Christmas

We are enjoying a very quiet holiday weekend, thanks in part to having taken part in the family Christmas celebration last Tuesday to accommodate travel schedules. Today we still are trapped at home with a blizzard warning stretching into the early evening. Yesterday, there was rain, followed by snow, followed by mixed precipitation. The Interstate is now closed down across the state, from here at the eastern border to Montana, and also from Grand Forks up to the Canadian border.

I took no photographs, Tuesday evening.

While waiting for my first appointment with the dietitian, I have been more adventurous with my grocery shopping. The scheme seems to be three meals and three snacks at approximately the same times each day. I cannot imagine a world in which this could happen. In order to increase the variety of the menu, since I obviously am going to be eating more, albeit smaller, meals.  For breakfast, this morning, I added fresh asparagus:

Today’s Breakfast

The Scampers are now a year old. Thaddeus is still on a high-fiber diet; he’s eaten two more dishcloths this week and also a dishtowel.

And there was ice on the front window during the earlier cold snap. Speaking of which, our temperatures are going down, now, but we’re expecting a high of 30°F and snow on Wednesday. Some places, this weekend, there was snow thunder.

Changes No Longer Pending

My garden will be in a new section of the back yard, next year, and so I will have no more flower photographs from my back yard, this fall. Al has decided to build a workshop that will impinge on the garden and also some of the area that holds my gazebo. I do wonder what that will do to the pattern of snowdrifts, come winter.

I thought to share a few of the photographs that I took yesterday. The puppies are nine months old, now. They’ve had their first trip to the groomer’s, and we are late on getting them in for a second cut.

My mother entered a nursing home under hospice care, last week, and the first care planning meeting is to be next week or the week after. Between the ER, hospital stay and move to the nursing home, along with Al’s cataract surgeries and the permit for Al’s hobby outbuilding, there has been more excitement than I’m comfortable with.

On a brighter note, the pollen index has sunk much more rapidly than I had expected, and I am doing well with breathing. I am pedaling the exercise bike more consistently and with more tension, so that my muscles have more resistance. Thought that would never happen!

The construction folks are not to begin work before 8 o’clock, but I expect that I should now get up to feed and “out” the puppies, before any excitement begins. We didn’t find out until late yesterday afternoon that the work would be done before the end of the week. Weather permitting. And so I also have to get to my appointment for a haircut (rescheduled from the first of the month because of changes in Al’s surgery schedule) and visit with my mother in the nursing home afterwards. Al is dropping me off there, and then returning home to interface with the construction folks.

I am not good at being around people for extended time periods. Argh!

And life goes on…

Life with two new puppies has been hectic. In the midst of the potty training, we also are dealing with the on-going downsizing efforts, ripping out the carpeting, stripping extraneous books from the shelves, trying to find a new home for the piano, cornet and trumpet, and coping with the hospitalization, this week, of a parent.

In addition, I have been trying to rework my mother’s computer to accommodate her failing eyesight and come up with a way to simplify the interface. Just got Win 10 installed and am now trying to reorganize the START page so that the tiles she needs to use are at the top of the page (and nothing else!) I am so happy that there are family members in the home town to help them with daily and weekly chores.

With ongoing health issues (contact, respiratory and food allergies; low blood oxygen levels; MCS/fragrance sensitivities, &c.), I have had to give up on handling more than one “event” a day. Yesterday, a visit to the hospital, today the appointments with the veterinary for the dogs. Computer installation and visit with Mother, keeping track of Father’s treatment plan (as communications center) in hospital, tending to the dogs and trying to fit in naps and self-cares here at home. The house training of the dogs has left me with chapped, bleeding areas on my hands, which has kept dish-washing to a bare minimum. I do so miss the woman who previously (before her death several years ago) came in to help with the housework.

Last night, after we’d gotten the dogs into kennels for naps, we went out to eat and blew the remainder of our “entertainment” cash card for the pay period. It was worth it. And I brought home a left-overs box of food to heat for today’s breakfast.

I have not remembered for many days to take the camera with me when I go out-of-doors. (This morning, it was/is raining, which made collecting samples for the vet visit lots of fun.) (I do so need emoticons for my blog posts!)

Not enough spoons [Spoon Theory, by Christine Miserandino].

Going back to sleep, now, if I can manage it.

Recent publication

Pleased to announce the publication of one of my short genre poems.

Race to the end
Last galaxy in gets to start
the next Big Bang
 —Elizabeth Bennefeld
Star*Line 38.4 (Oct. 2015)

Lizl's Coffee Breaks

I am pleased to announce the recent publication of one of my short poems by Star*Line.

Race to the end
Last galaxy in gets to start
the next Big Bang

—Elizabeth Bennefeld
Star*Line 38.4 (Oct. 2015), p. 15

-~*^*~-

Star*Line is the official newsletter and quarterly literary magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. The Archives of previous issues include links to the texts of Editor’s Choice poem selections.

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Monday Flower Art

Monday was a good day, here. Samantha is now allowed in the back yard without a leash, but still accompanied by one of us. The bunnies haven’t made an appearance for a couple of days, now. Last spotted, they had moved to a protected spot under the gazebo.

Samantha without a leash
Sam and Flea

I am still having trouble breathing, and so have limited my activities. I discovered when I went outside to photograph flowers, that I have much more difficulty arising from a kneeling position. I must get try again to use the exercise bike, I think.