So far, this has been a quiet month…sleeping in, recovering from the latest bouts of respiratory unrest and colds (perhaps, mild flu symptoms?), and a disinclination to do anything.
Enjoyed a long telephone call, last night, from a friend who moved to the Southwest U.S. some years ago. Fun to visit with someone, again. Also enjoyed getting a haircut, exchanging stories with my stylist. They gave their young child a live chicken for Christmas! So far it’s living in a coop in the garage and laying eggs. They’re contemplating (rural setting) expanding the chicken population, since it seems to be a great hit. I got to watch a couple of phone videos of the chicken recipient singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” to the chicken.
My morning alarm has rung, and I must get out of bed and heat breakfast. (I cooked a tilapia fillet for the first time, last night, and it turned out well. Thinking to reheat the remaining ounces and call that breakfast.)
When I got outside, this morning, I took both cameras with me. The new one, also an Olympus (Tough T-4, with micro and ‘microscope’ settings), has a learning curve, but I am having fun experimenting with it. Fortunately, the last camera I got is still working pretty well. When I drop it (in the garden mud, a water puddle, &c.), it’s hard to get the lens cleaned off and everything wiped and dried. The Tough is better in that regard, and I don’t suspect that I will quit dropping things as time goes on.
May 1-5 is Spring Clean-up Week, and I am hoping that the large rummage sale at the duplex, three lots away, is in advance of that, rather than a weekly event. I dislike having cars parking and then moving on, again, with great frequency, from in front of our house. The Scampers go wild with barking, and my face mask does not help that much with exhaust/hot oil fumes. It is, however, fun to watch people on our block’s pick-up day, which will be this Tuesday, as they spot something interesting in one of the stacks and start looking through for similar items in deeper layers.
Only two more days to go in the National Poetry Writing Month exercise. I have two more to write, today’s and tomorrow’s. Technically, I did not write a new poem for each day. On a couple of days, I had a previous poem of mine that I posted instead. Something that fit the topic particularly well. One prompt was fitting in is hard to do. My favorite, however, was on Day 28, with the prompt ‘silence of falling snow’: “the lake in winter”.
Enjoyed cooking, this morning, and then taking a nap with the Scampers.
Leftovers for Breakfast
This photo, however, was taken a couple of nights ago, when the Scampers fell asleep next to Al. That brown board to the right is the edge of his computer lapdesk.
Still low key around here, adjusting to my parents’ deaths and the activity and people exposure involved with funerals and two “meetings of the clan” within such a short period of time. Avoiding activity in general except as amusement. I’ve started doing some exercising again, and I haven’t quite gotten back on my diet, but it’s pulling together. I’ll know that’s working when I actually start writing down the foods with their calorie and carbohydrate counts.
In the meanwhile I am continuing to think about what I want to do with the resurrection of two of my discontinued domains. I had thought to construct a writing/photo collection to complement the blogs where I put up anything and everything. I’m still too much in slow motion to make that practical. It will go faster when I dig out my old website backups and use some of the pages as templates.
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:
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.
The milestones in life, birth, adoption, birthdays, illnesses and death. My mother’s move from hospital into a nursing home under hospice care on Tuesday, and I find myself returning to the sorrow and leavetaking from my puppy Samantha in February. I have photographs of her in my lap at the veterinary hospital when we brought her in and decided to have her euthanized.
Warm, here in my lap
I held her tight,
letting go forever . . .
Mother and I were quite close before I left for college, and then starting again perhaps ten years after my graduation. Restaurants, plays, lectures, faculty recitals, orchestra concerts, telephone visits once they were no longer metered. After I married, she and I spent much less time together, which was inevitable. Now, over the past five years or so, as her eyesight failed (which fact she did not share with me until earlier this year), her loss of hearing increased, and she isolated herself, so as to remain with Dad in their home, and I no longer see the person that I’ve known all of my life. She did not say until just a few months ago, and much more as she more quickly fades: “I am changing, now. I have been changing. I have changed and cannot be the person that you thought you knew. All these things about my past, I am telling you now, so you will know why I am leaving with so much pain, fear and regret. So much rage.”
After my husband and I returned home, the next evening, we talked openly about our experiences of growing up, our decisions and transitions, our self-understandings and our separate but parallel growths of who we are. Our turning away from “career”, “ambition”, plans and goals very early on, to more immediate living of our lives. Al deciding that he did not want to be an electrical engineer, but instead applying his knowledge and genius to his love of computers, after discharge from the Air Force, and taking a field tech job with Burroughs, much sought after by the local office. My epiphany came earlier, my sophomore year in college, when I asked my organic chemistry teacher to help me find a way to explain to my parents that I had no desire to spend my years doing research in a corporate laboratory, but instead absorb the humanities. No goal but learning how to learn and continuing to do so and expand, not narrow my experience of and involvement in the immediacy of the world. As our own lives become more intimate with old age, they do not become less rich. They gravitate toward each other and toward the many activities and interests that still are well within our reach. Al’s family is long-lived, barring illnesses. His mother died only a few years ago, enjoying life until perhaps the quick decline during the last few months. My father’s still living independently, pursuing quiet interests and activities at age 99. I expect that I am more like my mother and will start to fail more rapidly as I approach my 90s.
And so, as we have already been using our parents’ lives as general guidelines, we continue the process of shedding what no longer works, expanding into new interests and activities and relationships that are closer matches to who we are now and are becoming. Discarding personal possessions that have become burdens. Spending more time with/on our latest pair of dogs. It is much more difficult to housebreak and see to two puppies at once, rather than having an older dog to mentor the incoming puppy!
A more recent change, also, is the return to waking in the middle of the night and writing, returning to sleep, and then taking a nap in the late afternoon. Which I now will do, since I have to get up at eight o’clock to out and feed the puppies.
In the first snowfall we’ve had in weeks, the Crowgard gathered in a nearby tree to watch the Scampers in a foot race. I believe this is the first time they’ve been out during a snowfall. They spent much time chasing each other while we stood out in the wind and the wet, watching.