Busy

Orion – you should make this your new profile picture!

Everywhere Orion and I went this week it was busy.  Maybe it was my timing, but busier than what I usually find all the same.

I took Orion to get his haircut and we waited a good 1/2 hour on a walk in appointment.  Now, I could have “checked in on-line”.   I could have gone earlier in the afternoon.  I could have gone during the week and not on a weekend.  Sometimes I do.  Often I don’t.  This week, things were busy.

We went to the movies, afternoon matinee.   I was hoping for Christopher Robin thinking we might be hitting the “naptime” show.  Things never bode well when ALL the accessibility spots are filled.  When that happens I’ll often say, “forget it.”   But I really wanted to be out and about with Orion.  (Dinner at the theater rather than cooking was also a bonus feature.)

I didn’t get into the movie I wanted.  All the accessible seats were filled.  In a matinee for Christopher Robin!  I guess nostalgia goes a long way.  There was another movie on my list screening at the same time.  We snagged the some of the last seats for Mama Mia 2.

Even after the credits were over the theater was still busy.

Because we stood in line for food and read the tickets wrong about which theater we were going to, we missed some of the previews.  Not only that, there were people in our seats!  An elderly couple, who needed accessible seating and were hoping to sit together.  Guys…..

It all worked out, kindly and peaceably.   Minnesota nice does occasionally help.  The movie was not as much fun as the first, but still a summer romp.  We went home and listened to ABBA for the rest of the evening.

Even the grocery store (co-op) was busy.  There it wasn’t so much the volume of customers in the store. It was more the staff desperately trying to restock from what looked like hoards of shoppers we’d just missed.  Still managed to find what I was looking for, pretty fresh vegetables!

Hoping Karina cooks up a lovely dinner for me with these!

I guess I just wanted to be a grasshopper this week and everyone else decided to be ants.  busy busy.

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Happy Blog-versary to me!

“show your work” The cook is taking the creamy yolk photo. Duck eggs, poached.

I got a notice from Word Press congratulating me on my blogging anniversary.  Go figure.  I can’t imagine going into this with any hope of writing for 7 years, this is my 338th post.  Funny how time flies when you’re having fun.

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To celebrate, I had coffee and scones with a friend rather than actually posting this.  Hoping when I do get around to it it’s still Monday.  Lol

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Eating well at Mom and Dads. The pesto with scallops leftovers was the perfect side dish for the lamb chops.  https://lisaspiral.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/summer-holidays/

I’ve been doing quite a bit of out and about in the last week.  Karina had me over for breakfast.  I spent the weekend with my parents.  Did some cooking and shopping with them.  The cooler weather has made a difference.   They get the new furnace/air conditioner in later this week.

This time I made the salmon on the stove. Not so far to carry it without dropping.

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It’s felt a little like fall in the air.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about Lammas.   I’ll refer you to past posts and take a little anniversary vacation.    Thanks for reading!

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Sacrificial King 2017

Ducks Geese and Corn 2016

Bad Example 2015

Corn Mother 2014

First Fruits 2013

Lammas 2012

Corn on the Cob 2011

 

Step by Step

I’m tired.

I’ve been writing this blog in my head all week.  I just can’t seem to find a theme I can stick with for more than a paragraph or two.  Or, if I’m honest with myself, a sentence or two.

Cynthia Wallin in Memoriam

Regular readers will know a friend of mine passed away and her memorial service was this last weekend.  I’m in the second or third tier of mourners.  Tier one – the decision makers and those truly being overwhelmed with waves of grief.  Tier two – the organizers.  The ones asking the decision makers what they want and striving to make it happen.  The people whose grief makes them prickly, rude, short-tempered, unclear and perfectly sure they have everything in line because keeping things in line is how they cope.  Tier three – the support system for the first two tiers.  The listeners.  The worker bees.  The one’s who are distant enough to put off their mourning until it’s convenient (at least a little more effectively).

I helped prep and man the buffet table. Yes, I have trays… and coolers.

Having the memorial made it real.  That’s part of the point of course.  Being gifted some mementos makes it real and personal (which it has always been, but denial is so convenient).  Having nothing left to “get done” means there is no longer an excuse to put off the emotional response.

Cancer Sucks

I’m sure the death certificate doesn’t say my friend died of cancer.  But it is certainly the undiagnosed and untreated cancer that caused the heart failure.

I’m grateful my friend didn’t die alone at home, but had people around her who cared about her.

I’m grateful my friend went quickly, all at once, rather than having to slowly and painfully waste away.

I’m grateful her very elderly mother dared to get on a plane and put herself in the hands of a community of her daughter’s friends whom she had never met.

I’m grateful for the presence of people who spoke about areas of my friend’s life that I wasn’t privy to.

One of the many, many things Cynthia made by hand were candles. We all took some home to burn in her honor.

I’m angry that a cancer that large and impactful goes undiagnosed for so long.  I’m angry that the complaints of a large woman (both exceptionally tall and not willowy) are dismissed by our medical community as always being about weight.  I’m upset that no matter how good the insurance you’ve got, unless you know what to ask for medicine is practiced according to the insurance company guidelines rather than actual medical need.

I had breakfast today at Gilda’s Club.  It’s a sort of monthly social event.  At Gilda’s I am surrounded by people living with cancer, many of whom know they have no hope of a cure.  I am always buoyed up by the spirit of care and acceptance.  I am reminded that there is pain and sorrow, but also hope and joy.

I met Gayle at Gilda’s Club about 4 years ago. She continues to smile through her cancer journey.

I’m putting one foot in front of the other.  Step by step.

Transitions

The only thing that is certain is that things will change.  When I was up at my parents (see last week’s blog) one of the things I did was help my Mother send sympathy cards.  Her brother’s father-in-law passed, not unexpectedly.  Thing is my parents actually had a relationship with the in-laws and my Mom still hasn’t quite reconciled with being unable to physically show up when these things happen.  And of course, given the age group, they happen with some regularity.

Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it’s not.

The other passing that warranted a response from her was the second husband and truly life partner of an old friend.  Again, this was not an unexpected death.  All the same it’s the first time I’ve ever heard my Mother admit, “I don’t know what to say.”  The reason she doesn’t know is because she’s not there.  My Mother always made a point to BE THERE for the people she cares about.

Last week another friend, my age, died suddenly and unexpectedly.  This has left many people in my community reeling.  I’m doing what I can to show up.

There have been plenty of times in my life when I couldn’t show up.  Sometimes I’ve been physically unable to.  I have lost friends because I didn’t show up when they needed me.  My physical limitations (up to and including being in the hospital) apparently were not an adequate salve for the feeling of betrayal.

Occasionally I haven’t been able to show up because some obligations trump others.  I’ve always been proactive about trying to make sure that there is either notice or some kind of substitute in place.  I’m sorry, sick kids and other family needs have to come first.  Everyone who knows me well has heard me bemoan being unable to hold a “real job” because I am on call to Orion’s medical needs.  Still they are surprised and hurt when that same issue comes up and impacts “sure I’ll help you with that project”.

The thing about showing up for other people is that when you do what you can, when you can sometimes you get lucky.  Grief is an odd thing, and it doesn’t just stop.  Sometimes that card that gets sent months later comes in at exactly the right time.  Sometimes the phone call, “I can’t be there because my own life is falling apart.” provides some distance, or perspective or just an opportunity for a friend to get out of their own head.  Sometimes not being there in the moment has made me available for the long haul.

Spirit offering for Frieda

Last week my women’s group did an honoring of Frieda Kahlo on the anniversary of her death.  That was 64 years ago and people are still being impacted.  People still show up when they can.  I believe it still makes a difference.

Summer Holidays

Family fun

We spent all of the 4th of July week (and both weekends) up at my folks house.  It was quite the event.  Small resort towns around the Brainerd Area do big celebrations.  We didn’t watch any fireworks, but we could hear them.  Every evening!

Opa and Jager on there way off to Waldsee

Because we came up, Dad got to get several things checked off his “to do” list.  He went to a meeting, got his snow blower tuned up, and put new tires on the car.  He also had his buddy Orion along for 3 parades and a trip up to International Day at Concordia Language Villages

Orion attended Waldsee, the German village, with his Opa as his aid for 10 years starting 20 years ago.  It was fun for the two of them to return to their old stomping grounds.  There were even several people there who remembered them from years gone by.   The old Dean, Karl, noticed them across the way and stopped what he was doing so he and his wife could catch up with Jager and Opa.

Mom usually makes us pick up the pizza and bring it home, but the promise of air-conditioning got her moving.

I kept Mom occupied while the boys were out and about.  Ordinarily we’d be taking things easy at home, but the air conditioning died the day I arrived.  So we had our own “out and about” adventures.  We decided it was too hot to be home and went out for a drive and pizza.

We had a great “girls day” and a beautiful lunch

We collected my sister, Andrea, and ran errands in Brainerd.  (That really meant lunch at Prairie Bay and Mom sitting in the air conditioned car while one or the other of us ran into the store.)

We ate pretty well at home too.  When I’m there I do a lot of the cooking, or at least the meal planning.  When I can stand it, I’ll enlist Dad’s help.

Dad does a great job on the grill

 

 

That’s especially true for grilling.  I’m more than happy to let him set up the coals and carry things back and forth, at least most of the time.  We’re still in mourning about that beautifully cooked salmon.

But sometimes the carrying is a problem

 

 

Dad did have a chance to redeem himself.  At my request he made mussels and a fresh focaccia to go with them.  Even Orion thought they were really tasty!

The baker with his masterpiece

It was a great trip.  We had a great time.  It was also pretty physically demanding.  The drive took at least an hour longer than usual – in both directions.  The heat and humidity was draining, and it wasn’t always easy to breathe.  General household chores (which I do more of up there than at home) take their toll, as do extra transfers with Orion and massage work on Mom.

Orion thinks seafood is pretty good stuff

Now I’m glad to be home, laying on my back on an ice pack.

Sorry about not being able to get the photos aligned properly.

 

Exercise

Exercise is a “bad” word in my book.  I won’t say it’s a “trigger”.  I don’t have a dramatic response to it.  But there is definitely a knee-jerk temper-tantrum, “NO!” that happens deep in my soul.

Sitting on a sailboat isn’t exercise. But it is definitely more physical than sitting in a chair in the living room!

I certainly have the trauma.  Years and years of everything from embarrassment, failure, and humiliation in PE classes take a toll.  I have more PE injuries (some of them quite dramatic) than success stories in my background.

Even trying to keep up physically with my friends has always been a challenge.  There’s the bike trip where the athletes were riding 12 speeds and I had everything I could do to get my 3 speed up the hills.  There were the tree forts I couldn’t play in because I have NEVER been able to climb a rope.  There was the ski trip where I finally told my boyfriend to go ahead I’d be in the hot tub when he got off the slopes.

Then there have been rounds and rounds of physical therapy.  Insurance is happy to pay for 6 visits of PT if you’ve got a joint issue, but they won’t pay for any kind of accountable follow-up program.  I’m good for about 3 months  (including the actual time in PT).  Then I feel better and stop.

The Stone Arch Bridge Band was playing during picnic lunch. Didn’t dance, but I did bounce along to the beat.

Unfortunately I’ve come to recognize that my sedentary habits are not helping me maintain all the gains I made from having the bariatric surgery.  My surgeon and my chiropractor agree.  Just because I would rather sit at home with a good book than do anything that might be slightly physically demanding doesn’t mean I should.  Of course recognizing an issue and actually dealing with it are two entirely different problems!

So this week I’ve parked a little farther out (except when Orion is in the car.)  This week I’ve made myself step out into the neighborhood for a short walk or two.  This weekend I scheduled “out and about” events for myself just to be a little more active.

Went “horseback riding”. This is actually the appropriate fitness level of riding for my back and hips right now.

We’ll see how long I can keep it up.  As long as it’s not “exercise”.

Social Media

I’ve been neglecting my blog.

Mom sitting in the sun (I’m reflected in the glass door)

There are a multitude of reasons for this, and even more excuses.  It’s summer, no one reads blogs in the summer.  I’ve been spending a lot of time up at my parent’s and they don’t have the internet.  I keep forgetting to take pictures.

The truth is that social media is a double-edged sword.  Addictive and depressing, narrowing the information bandwidth, and allowing us to pretend we’re connecting with people, creating an illusion of a network of friends.   At the same time it really does help keeping track of our loved ones at a distance.  It can be an efficient way to organize, or spread information.  It can be a meeting ground and a place to begin new, real, relationships.

Like most things, making social media work for us rather than against us requires work.  Hitting the like button and sharing the facebook generated and suggested birthday meme isn’t really work.  Counting how many “friends” you have and playing games across a social platform doesn’t build relationships.

My daughter (I got to hang with her friends for her birthday) doesn’t read my blog. Ever.

I have friends who read my blog.  I know this because they’ll comment, or call and ask for follow up.  (Or message me to alert me to a gramatical error.)  When I see them they’ll be fairly up to date on what’s been going on in my life.   I have friends who don’t read my blog.  They are surprised at old news and entirely unashamed when I comment that I talked about it on my blog.  (If you really wanted to keep up……)

I also have regular readers who feel like friends.  I’ve read their blogs, and made comments.  They’ve read my blog and made comments.  We have some things in common.  We keep track.  But it’s hard to read all the blogs and maintain all the long distance, never met you in person relationships.  Bloggers come and go, getting caught up in other aspects of their lives.

Orion is really good about liking and sharing my posts. But I suspect he just reads them to see what I’m saying about him. 🙂

I am truly grateful for all the people who take the time to check in.  I am delighted by the little likes and shares, and genuinely appreciate the support.  I am thrilled and if I’m honest intimidated by the comments.  I try to check in and respond back.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in my social media outpourings.  Thank you for being that oddity that is an on-line friend.  Thank you for your likes, your shares, your comments, your patience, your continuing checking in and checking up on me.

Memorial Day

National Cemetery at Fort Snelling MN

So many wars, so many lives.  Some were fought over an ideology, and won, and yet we still contest that ideology.  Some were fought over resources, because a desperate enough people will do anything to try and survive.  Most were fought because someone was afraid of losing something, and many who fought lost everything.

I have mixed feelings about this day.  I appreciate the sacrifice of those who have fought for my freedoms.  But I grew up during Vietnam.  I understand war to be instigated by the wealthy and powerful in order to protect their wealth and power and fought by the poor and less fortunate.   Give us your life, we’ll give you an education doesn’t sit well with me.

I know we did not do well by those who fought in Vietnam.  We, as a country, had yet to learn how to hate a war and still honor those who served.

Is it an honor to serve in a war that was lost?  I don’t believe might makes right.  Just because you win doesn’t mean you are more just, or moral, or worthy.  But, for example,  I struggle to honor those who lost their lives fighting on the losing side in our civil war.  Their families, though, certainly believe them to be honorable and do not want them forgotten.

Is any war really won?  WWII, a war that had a clear moral victory, the war fought by “the greatest generation” we won.  Today we can have Nazi’s marching in the streets and our president insisting they are good people.  Is that what those lives were sacrificed to achieve?

As a Wiccan I do work with ancestors.  When they talk about fighting the good fight they are not encouraging fisticuffs.  They generally have a broader view in death than they did in life and would like to broaden my view as well.  They encourage me to understand better and more fully.  They want me to speak and educate and ask for what I desire.  Sometimes that’s scary for me.  It’s rarely easy.

That fear, of finding out that we are wrong, of learning that there is more to a situation than we thought, of admitting we don’t know everything, that is, ultimately, why we have wars.  If it wasn’t so scary to find a better solution, we probably would.  If a better solution than giving up your life was available, wouldn’t you take it?

So honor the ancestors this Memorial Day.  Honor those who have given up their lives in service to this country.  Honor them by demanding we find a better way, a real win.

Take 2

This is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Plant sale. Another gray day. But much more productive.

This is the third blog post I’m writing today.  The first one was lovely, until it wasn’t.   I started somewhere and ended up doing a writing catharsis exercise.  No one needs to read that.  Self indulgence happens sometimes.  It generates ideas sometimes.  It generates beautiful tortured poetry sometimes.  This time it needed to be put aside so I could move on.

Blog post number 2 was perfect.  I took my theme and ran with it.  I had photos all cropped and pasted just where I wanted them.  I had a message, love, family and all that.  I also somehow managed to create it as a page rather than a blog post.  I set it aside and ran off to a doctors appointment thinking I could fix it when I got back.  Nope.  Somehow I managed to erase all but the first and last sentence.  Irretrievable.

Mother’s Day at Eat Street Social. I didn’t think to pester the waiter to do it again after our surprise guests arrived.

So here I am again thinking it’s Monday after Mother’s Day and I really “should” put out something.  Orion promised me he was looking forward to reading what I wrote while he was at his day program.  Haha.  (I think he just wanted to see the photos he was in.)  But now I’m tired and crabby and the sun has disappeared behind the clouds.

In the post I lost I talked about gardening and spring and after I wrote it I was looking forward to getting my hands in the dirt this afternoon.  Given the sudden shift in the weather, and the fact I still have some writing to do, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Some days just go like that.  Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow.

Lot’s of herbs and tomatoes, eggplant, squash, tomatillo and a begonia. I’ll get to it eventually, honest!

Some Assembly Required

I went to the car wash. Then I parked outside under a tree. Now I need to go again.

We went from 2 feet of snow to 85 degrees up here in Minnesota.  It’s crazy weather and has me behind in the yard.  I’m always behind in the yard, but this year that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.  The consensus up here is that it’s now summer and we had 1 beautiful day of spring.

Some of the season’s work isn’t actually in the yard at all.  I took a load to Goodwill.  I took my car to the car wash.  I’m trying to figure out what to do with all the “stuff” I’ve brought back from my parents house.  It’s not easy keeping motivated.

One day this weekend I threw my hands in the air and bought one of those outdoor storage benches.  I wanted to get the yard furniture cushions out of my dinning room.  I expected to shove a bin in the back of my car.  Silly me.  Instead it was a box, and directions.

This is before I realized it was supposed to be a 2 person job.

Apparently the current world view is that pictographs are much easier to follow than words.  That’s only true if you’re in translation with a bad editor, but hey.  I was more than half way through the project before I got to the step that said, this step requires 2 people.  I DON’T HAVE 2 PEOPLE!   But I am determined and managed despite having “inadequate tools” for the job.

I seem to be in the one step forward two steps back mode.  (I know, it’s supposed to go the other way around but it sure doesn’t feel like it.)  I did 5 minutes of trimming brush before I got wacked on the head with a buckthorn.   Little branch, hit me just right.  Thorn cut the skin, head wound, lots of bleeding but actually no big deal.  Still, it made me much less ambitious about the project.

Gardening is dangerous work!

I did give myself a reward by making a lovely dinner.  If only I could figure out how to use the grill….

Dinner was lovely though.

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