A bit of nostalgia associated with May: Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Both meaningful times in our family. Place and time are closely associated in memory. Returning home. The sounds of squirrels and birds. The rain and running water. The familiar smells. But that home—the home that we remember—is not there, anymore.
The cold weather last night was hard on the tulips. These photographs are from last Monday. I did get outside for photographs, also, in spite of the winds. Not all of the tulips had opened up, yet, and so I am hopeful that the next batch will bloom and be photographed in turn.
Lemon Enough to Eat
Lemony with Pollen Sprinkles
Today I am engaged in sorting, tossing, shredding, &c, to regain enough bookshelf space that I can organize and put away at least the books that have migrated to my bed sitting room. Before I get on my exercise bike, which lives in the gazebo (which is now minus Al’s mother’s one-seat balcony swing, having gone off with a sister), I must remember to turn on the space heater for half an hour. Otherwise I might freeze to death!
P.S. I really do enjoy the sorting/tossing…but I don’t think I’ve done a thorough job of it since we got married, twenty-five years ago, and I moved from apartment to the house.
I have been taking a lot of naps, this past week. I also have not slept well during the night. Not sure which is the cause, and which is the effect. Sunday evening, I went to bed before nine o’clock and fell asleep directly. While I did wake up around two o’clock in the morning, I managed to sleep again until eight-thirty, when Al woke me.
May we go outside, please?
Transitions: It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
A Week Ago
The weather has been quite warm, this week. For a while it looked as though there would be snow accumulation by bedtime, but I don’t think it ever got cold enough. Mostly, there was light rain to help melt away the edges of the remaining snowbanks around the yard. Except for the north side of the garden shed, where because the sun never hits that side, the ice keeping the door from opening is the last to melt away in the spring.
I have been concentrating on not concentrating on anything other than chores and minding my diet. Saw the dentist, last Wednesday, and have to go in next week for fitting the crown and taking filling a small cavity. The numbness is only now fading from the local anesthetic. May try having the cavity filled without using the topical or local, since the cavity is small. Goes much better when it can be managed.
Saint Patrick’s/Gertrude’s Day 2018
Charlie, Taking an Evening Nap
Tonight I am up late, once again. Reading, this time. The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, a change of pace, having reread The Others series (Anne Bishop) from beginning through Lake Silence.
Too much to think about, the lot of it distracting me, when I would rather relax and recuperate. And so I seem to be managing that. My last BG reading was in the 90s, BP 109/61, and my blood oxygen level is at 97% and holding up without breathing exercises, for a change. I even spent twenty minutes or so on the elliptical machine, this morning. (That would be Monday morning.) The day blends into the next without my noticing. Before I married, when I started freelance editing/writing, I would sleep when tired, work when not, and eat when I remembered to do so. Totally unstructured. It was so much easier, all boundaries but the walls, floor and ceiling of the apartment and contents seeming amorphous.
As during my college years. I wonder if I will attend the 50th class reunion events, come autumn. I floated through those years, also, and many years after. Unstructured. Absorbing. Writing poetry, constructing crossword puzzles, journaling…reading everything and playing the piano a lot. I think I didn’t pay attention. Not to the outside.
I ask myself if I would change that, were I able. And I think not. I have arrived here, and I like it.
I will like it if I go to sleep before two o’clock. That would be about twelve hours since I started writing this post.
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.
A beautifully cloudy day, but naught to catch my eye but fallen leaves, and those are not covered by any snow at all. The weather has been dry and windy, and I despair at keeping the floors clean, since dust blows in each time the doors are opened.
Against the Wall
Beyond the Fence
Rabbit Escape Route
During November (2017), I took part in a “poem a day” activity with the same group who got together for NaPoWriMo in April. I still am working on a few that need more attention; the remainder are on my Quiet Spaces journal, The Written Word at Home (the “posts” link).
… and some favorite photographs from September 28, 29 and 30.
Black-eyed Susan with Painted Lady
Flower and Seed Pod
Upper and Lower Flowers
I am now in the last week of the four-week “Introduction to Japanese Poetry” workshop that I’d signed up for in at the beginning of August. This week I am to write tanka every day and read essays that I am finding quite helpful in understanding the underlying rationale (?). My understanding of haiku has changed a lot during the course of the workshop, also. Very happy that I signed up for it, and I will have a lot to carry forward after the workshop ends.
I find that my joy in writing poetry is expanding.
These weeks have been, as I had expected, quite difficult to get through. My youngest sister died on September 30 in 2014, and the anniversary of her memorial service is Tuesday. Last year, these two weeks included my mother’s transition from the family home to hospital and when a bed became available, transfer to a care facility under hospice care. The feeling of loss contests with my joy in their present joy. And yet it’s not the one against the other, but both emotions, each a legitimate recognition of reality, coexist. Life’s texture becomes deeper, more intricate. Things are settling inside me. I think that’s a good thing.
The new garden plot is now in place. It is four feet by twelve feet, which means that I should be able to weed it comfortably. I am considering ordering seed packets for fall planting of wildflowers. We have already had frost/freezing weather here along the Red River. I must find out if I have missed any deadlines and what planting conditions should be, given the early cold, this autumn.
We got the concrete slab poured for Al’s workshop, and the skid-steer driver, seeing Al digging the plot with his shovel and fork, volunteered to remove the sod for him. The equipment is now out of our yard, and the fence is in place, so that the Scampers can have free run of the yard.
Next came days of rain and mud tracked into the house. Thaddeus (the buff and cream Scamper) had massive clumps of mud dried into the hair on his feet and legs and between his toes. He had his first half-bath experience, last night, to wet and wash out all the dirt. He was not impressed by the operation.
Myself, I am still processing my mother’s going into the nursing home under hospice care. The brother next to me in birth order is certain that she will not make it to the end of the year. Me? I would not venture a guess without hearing a doctor’s evaluation. My father is doing well at home; family live in the same town, and so there is someone to visit every day.
The other re-organizations are still up in the air, here at home. We have yet to put the waterbed back together in the basement bedroom, where the egress window was installed over a year ago. I still need to throw out or otherwise dispose of perhaps a thousand paper books and take down more shelving, so that there will be room to move. In the meanwhile, I am still sleeping in my recliner, which I have been doing since I retired. My office has turned into a bed-sitting room. I have box upon box of papers and miscellanea to go through and toss.
We have had quite a number of heavy rains, spread out over days and shorter, and there has been no seepage into the basement. It appears that banking around the house, replacement of the rain gutters, and adding a new downspout have handled the problem. We are talking about adding more dirt, next summer, just up around the house and in some low spots. The fourth (westernmost) cotoneaster shrubs did not survive, and so Al finally sawed off all of the remaining branches and dug up the roots, this past week. The other three clusters are doing well, and so we still have shade along the south side of the yard. When Al gets his workshop built, next year, we will have shelter along the north side of the back yard from the winter winds.
The currently former wildflower bed has been trampled down, run over and munched on by the Scampers. I will be surprised if much has survived of the wild flax flowers. I did save some seeds in an envelope for the new garden plot, once it’s raked smooth. I also will try to find some to purchase via mail order. I am considering re-adding vegetables to the list of seeds. I have enjoyed the cucumbers from the family across the back fence, but I do miss the zucchini and summer squashes.
I continue in my attempts to lengthen my time on the exercise bike. Some setbacks, but I continue in my efforts. Also, while I am not managing to play the piano every day, I am getting to it perhaps three or four times a week, and I can tell that the dexterity is coming back. I do need to re-learn the written notes, rather than just trusting that my fingers will find the correct keys.