Monthly Archives: March 2016

Miss Minnie

20160325_121041I spent much of last week babysitting my “grand puppy”.  Karina had a little vacation and I got the dog.

Like most things in life there are good and bad parts to having Minnie around.  The hardest thing to deal with is that Minnie doesn’t like Orion.  Perhaps it’s more accurate to say she doesn’t like it when Orion has my attention.  She’s also a little scared of him moving about in his wheelchair.

bunny

One night Minnie was barking, pulling tightly on the run. I went out to see what she was barking at. The bunny (not this one) that was tormenting her ran off when I triggered the motion detector. We grow them big and bold in this neighborhood!

Of course there’s another side.  When Orion is planted in place eating Minnie is right underfoot.  She is very much aware that the person most likely to drop food on the floor is Orion.  She’s pretty sure once it hits the floor, it’s hers.  (Minnie is a very food aggressive dog.)

I’ve got a dog run set up out the back door, so the whole in and out thing isn’t difficult.  Timing seems to be challenging.  Minnie has her moments when she’s in 15 min, out 15 min, in 15 min, out 15 min.  She also sometimes waits a little too long to ask to go out (and I’m not always quick to get to the door).   I mopped up a puddle or two over the course of the week.

On the positive side she and I took a walk every day she was here.   I like being out.  I like walking.  I just don’t, unless I have a good reason.  I’m not fond of walking aimlessly through the neighborhood, and I’m not motivated enough to go to a park or the lake just to walk.  It didn’t hurt that the weather cooperated.  I bundled up a couple of times, but we never had to walk in the rain (or snow).

walking the dog

walking the dog

When I look at the exercise I get when Minnie is around I think about how beneficial it would be to have a dog.  Then I remind myself that I’m trying to reduce my ties to external responsibilities, not add to them.  I could walk to the coffee shop (and write).   I could walk to the grocery store (as long as it was just a few items I needed).  I could walk to my volunteer shift at Gilda’s Club (even in dress shoes).

The thing I miss most when Minnie leaves is the company.  She goes and I find myself looking for her every few hours.  I miss the cuddles.  I miss her sleeping on the couch while I read a book.  I even miss the evening, going to bed, routine.  But not enough to need a dog of my own.  I am reminded that the best part of being a grandparent is that you get to send them home.20160325_071029

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Paganicon Weekend

Still bad at selfless. Trying to find the next workshop

Still bad at the selfie. Trying to find the next workshop

It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend and it may take me a bit to come back into my regular routine.   Paganicon happened, which was fun and exciting. I did a presentation on Friday.   It was well attended and I got some very positive feedback.   I have to think it went well.

Ran into Sandy in the vendor room. I knew her from the Priestess Show on Blog talk Radio. We finally got to meet in person! (she took this one)

Ran into Sandy in the vendor room. I knew her from the Priestess Show on Blog talk Radio. We finally got to meet in person! (she took this one)

I spent plenty of time socializing on Friday.  This is a local convention, but it’s getting some buzz on the National scale.  Some of the guests and folks coming in from out-of-town are good friends.  It’s always nice to have the opportunity to touch base in person with those long distance relationships.

Saturday was our political district convention.  Both Orion and I were delegates.   This year Orion is excited about politics and I’m feeling fit enough to make it possible for him to participate at this level.  We struggle with accessibility in these venues.  On caucus night it was the crowds.  For the district convention it was the convention set up itself.

I don't have photos from the political convention but here's Orion at dinner with one of our long distance friends Crystal Blanton.

I don’t have photos from the political convention but here’s Orion at dinner with one of our long distance friends (and also from the Priestess Show) Crystal Blanton.

The building this district historically uses for its convention is technically ADA accessible.   There is a ramp and an elevator.  There are handicapped stalls in the bathrooms.   However the signage is horrible.

To make matters worse the convention was in the auditorium.   You may know most auditorium seating has a small designated area to accommodate wheelchairs.  Depending on the auditorium they may or may not have seating near them for companions.  But at a political convention the rules require that delegates sit in their precincts – not in the special seats on the other side of the room.

We found a spot in a little used aisle.   Little used because the door to that aisle was locked the entire day.  Every time we left we had to get someone to go around and let us back in.   The lighting was horrible.  I had eye fatigue and a burgeoning headache from trying to read the amendments.  Orion is legally blind.  He can read, but he needs good lighting.   I drained my cell phone battery using the flashlight.

I begged someone to take this for me. Not sure I've had my coffee yet!

I begged someone to take this for me. Not sure I’ve had my coffee yet!

In spite of being worn out we swung by Paganicon after the political convention.   It gave Orion a chance to visit with some of his friends.  He picked up a beautiful drum that he’s enjoying.   Orion has an inherent sense of rhythm and perfect pitch.

Sunday morning I was back at Paganicon to do a book signing.  It went pretty well for me after one of the organizers kindly found me a decent cup of coffee to get me through.  I spent the afternoon actually attending the convention, going to workshops and participating in rituals.

It was a good weekend.  I couldn’t have done so much, and at that pace, 3 years ago.   I am so grateful to be able to do these kinds of things again, and to be able to do them with Orion in tow.

Great panel on social justice and systemic issues!

Great panel on social justice and systemic issues (like accessibility)!

 

I was talking about my bariatric surgery and the outcomes with some folks I hadn’t seen for awhile.  These are people who have been in that internal debate about their own weight issues.  I said that I think part of my success is because I’m not focused on the weight or the numbers as much as I’m focused on the things I can do.

I can get down on the floor and up again.  I can go up and down the stairs.  I can walk from one end of the convention to the other and not sit down.  I can stand for my entire presentation and still manage to pack my stuff up when I’m done.  Gratitude keeps me on track.  Excitement about what I can do keeps me pushing to do more.

 

Packing and Unpacking

They're falling off the walls AND falling apart!

They’re falling off the walls AND falling apart!

As I pack boxes, clearing out my kitchen so that “someday” I can get those cabinets replaced (and a few other things taken care of besides) I find myself disheartened.   There is so much to do that it can seem overwhelming.  There isn’t even a start date, much less and end goal in sight.

I’m talking to contractors, talking with bankers, packing boxes and still the day-to-day life goes on.  I have a lot to be grateful for.  Many of my friends have been sick with the spring crud.  Several families I know are experiencing the family member in the hospital in critical condition trauma .   It’s not as though my kitchen is entirely worthless.  I’ve managed to deliver a few meals since I started packing things away.

I’m grateful that I have the time to be helpful to my friends in need.  I’m grateful to be healthy enough to face the tasks of the day.  I’m grateful it’s not Orion in the hospital this time, or me.  I’m grateful for the unseasonably warm weather.  I’m grateful for the blossoms on my jasmine plant.

I have a blooming begonia too!

I have a blooming begonia too!

As I go through my things and pack them away I find myself unpacking old issues that I apparently still carry around.  There have been moments where I’ve caught myself in a memory vortex.  I’ve run into out dated cans and remembered my parents moving out of their “forever” house into their retirement home in the North Woods.  I’ve come across baby spoons and sippy cups and remembered both the child who used them and the one who didn’t.   I dug up cookie cutters and remembered back when I’d bake for large events.

Packing is bittersweet.   I’m trying to keep it reasonable with a one box a day goal.  I’m trying to remember this is an opportunity to declutter.   I can use this to bring more tranquility into my home.  But right now it doesn’t feel tranquil.

Except boxes.  I could bring home more boxes.

Except boxes. I could bring home more boxes.

I’m shopping this week with a friend of my parents.  I chauffeur her around to run errands.  Occasionally I pick something up for myself along the way. Now I have to resist.  I can’t be bringing new things in, knowing I’ll just be packing them away.  New things are for later.  Right now it’s time to pack up the things I’m keeping and to unpack the things it’s time to let go of.

March is a long month, and this week is only half way through.  Best wishes for more sunshine and spring awakening!1

Spring Fever

Anticipating the equinox

Anticipating the equinox

I don’t want to sit inside and write.  It’s been unseasonably warm these past few days.  Sunny and up into the 50’s!   That may seem entirely reasonable, but typically we would expect another 3-8″ of snow in March not greening grasses.

Many of my friends are throwing open windows during the day just to air things out.   I’d like to do that as well, but then there’s that little allergy piece.  The warmer weather brings out all the mold.  I’m not miserable yet, but I can feel it in the air (and in my eyes and in my breathing.)

I’ve been out and about quite a bit in the past week, birthday dining.   I went to tea with a good friend.   My kids took me out to dinner.  There were seasonal rituals with much feasting (not really birthday related, but this one happens every year in competition with my birthday weekend so I’ve adopted it.)

Dinner with Karina and her boyfriend and Orion. They put candles on desert.

Dinner with Karina and her boyfriend and Orion. They put candles on desert.

I picked up some tulips at the grocery store to brighten my inside.  Since the kitchen is becoming more and more useless I need the “pick-me-up”.  I’m anxious to spend another day buried in seed catalogs and garden designs.

The spring thaw is an important lesson in balance.  It’s easy to pick up a cold when the allergies are threatening the immune system.  It’s easy to dress too warm, or not warm enough.  It’s easy to put off the things that need to be done and just sit in the sunshine.

A few spring flowers brighten up even the cloudy days

A few spring flowers brighten up even the cloudy days

It’s too early to be out planting the gardens yet.  Patience is part of the lesson here.  It’s probably fleeting.  Chances are very good we still have some freezing days ahead.  Theres an unsettled feeling.  A sense of growth, bursting forth that isn’t quite ready to happen.

The equinox is still a few weeks away, so spring isn’t officially here yet.  Even when it comes, experience tells me that it won’t necessarily feel like it.  Still the sun is shining, the days are longer and it doesn’t hurt to enjoy it while it’s here.

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