Friday, July 03, 2015

day 6 Friday




Chorus contest tonight. The Alliance placed 7th. Everybody seems happy with the score. I'm just happy the contest is over with. I've had enough barbershop singing, but still have tomorrow to deal with. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

day 5 Thursday



We wandered the Strip today, then watched the semi finals in the evening. The Core didn't make the cut tonight, though we hoped. Had a great Polish meal somewhere in the strip. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

day 4 Wednesday



We moved from the Day's Inn to the Wyndham. Got in early, but they found a room. Perhaps its more like a closet, but oh well. Also, the free wi-fi? What a laugh. But quarter finals were today, and we got to listen to Core sing and make the cut. Good! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

day 3


What a glorious hoot! We drove through the tunnel and over the bridge to get to the downtown portion of Pittsburgh. George mapped out where the parking garage was...supposed to be. It wasn't there. Well, actually it was, but it wasn't public. See what happens when maps aren't updated? So we spun around the block for maybe a dozen times trying to get it figured out. Drove into a couple of garages and immediately backed out. Just don't ask, OK?  We eventually drove back over a bridge and landed in a more residential area where we actually found a place where we could pull over and look at the maps on paper, rather than on our cell phones. Then, refreshed, we drove back over the river and tried again. Finally after pretty much giving up, and knowing we'd have to bleed a bit with the high parking rates, we actually found the garage we were looking for.

We met our friends and walked over to a hole in the wall pizza place. I love these local places rather than the sterile franchises. We had a few laughs because one of the men thought he was being charged for having sauce on his pizza. He was in a quiet snit, and we three ladies were not being very kind about it. Our basic response was "just deal with it. Pay the price. It's not worth the trouble." And then, when he got the bill, it turned out he was wrong. He was charged for extra pepperoni. Oh well. We had fun with it for awhile.

We parted ways. George and I went looking for a place I'd remembered from years ago, a plaza surrounded by beautiful buildings with many wonderful windows. Back then it felt like I'd been standing in the middle of a diamond. Well, we found it. It wasn't the best time of day for the reflections I'd yearned to see again, but nevertheless we found it. And then, after schlepping around that part of town, it started to rain. We didn't have umbrellas. We needed to get to that parking garage a few blocks away. So we hopped from one sheltered overhang to another. At one point we waited inside a convenience store where there was an argument heating up and we sort of felt like we should get out of there, given the insane violence always making the news.

And so here we are. Back in our motel room. It may be a two glass of wine night. But what an adventure! And I love an adventure.

Monday, June 29, 2015

day 2



Wonderful boat ride on the rivers. The sky was delightful, the temperature was just right, and there were so many bridges! What fun to take a series of pictures approaching a bridge, then going under. Can't post them now, don't have the capability to put photos on my laptop.

And then off to "The Strip". I could have stayed there all day and gone back again the next day. Kinda hippy-ish.

Pittsburgh is hilly, so driving is an adventure. So is sitting in the passenger seat...
Scary times.
But good times.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

day 1



In Pittsburgh. Not much to report. Tomorrow we take a boat ride on the river(s). We drove around a bit and got as lost as you can get with a gps in the car, which isn't very lost. S'ok. With all the hills, I can't imagine driving around this city in the winter. But for now just chilling in the motel room, drinking wine out of a Day's Inn plastic glass. Plastic glass? Is that a thing? Should I call it a plastic tumbler? If nothing else, it's kinda nice to just be chillin with no chores and responsibilities staring at me.

Friday, June 26, 2015

just another day in this amazing universe



Life is such a patchwork!
One patch: awaiting an important SCOTUS decision today, one that will affect the lives of my gay friends.

Another patch: awaiting President's Obama's eulogy in Charleston. Historic.

Another patch: watching and listening to my son's quartet. They make me cry (in a good way.)

Another patch: watching and listening to my 14 year old grandson singing solid bass in an adult men's chorus, plus having quality front row moves.

Another patch: how do you communicate to the guy front row center that his zipper is down? Without causing him embarrassment?

Another patch: sitting by the kitchen window listening to the owl behind our house plus the hawk calling overhead.

Another patch: another day of weaving a very large and beautiful patch; woven of both burlap and silk; the patch of our love for each other.

Monday, June 22, 2015

choosing how to die



Ania was telling me about her cancer. She was young, strong, and hadn't lost all of her hair from chemo. She actually kept about 50% of it. She cut it short, but she kept getting hairs in her mouth. And then she cut it all off. Why? She said if she's going to die, she'd rather die of cancer than die of a hairball.

I'm still laughing. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

an answer



One of my former students (from 30 years ago) asked me publicly (on Facebook) to come back to the Church. The Catholic church. How did he know? And yet, I don't hide it. He's a fine young man, but not deep into introspective thought. I want to answer him honestly, but in such a way that I don't diminish where he is on his own spiritual path.

Here is my answer. Did you ever have a set of nested boxes given to you as a gift? You unwrap the first one to find another smaller box inside, also wrapped. You unwrap that one, then there's another. And another. And so on. Well, the church, for me, was the first wrapped box. Eventually I found another wrapped box hidden within and unwrapped it. I'm not opposed to what is good and true about the church. It's just that, for me, I've found a treasure within it that speaks more to my yearnings. And those nested boxes that keep getting smaller and smaller? In this spiritual journey, it seems like each nested treasure is larger than the box it was within.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

today



Well, that happened.
Today was my annual visit to the oncologist,
and I was so sure it was the 10th year
and he'd say I'm fine, don't come back.

But he didn't.
It's my 9th year.

Ya, so all the tests came back good and all, but what happened????
I asked George why I might have thought it was my 10th year. He said it was because that's what I wanted it to be.  So. "Create your own reality" doesn't always work, it seems.

Having said all that...
I'm doing just fine, thankyouverymuch!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

happiness is



...as happy as a snake soaking up warmth in the compost bin.
????
really?
I suppose that's better than the very fat wolf spider in the compost bin...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

distant horizon



There is no better phone call than the one I got yesterday. The cardiologist's office called - the nurse wanted me to know that my heart is very, very strong. She was impressed.

You see, for so many years I've dealt with cancer diagnoses, gall bladder complications, vision concerns, and just the aging process in general, enhanced by some pretty grueling chemotherapies. But yesterday? Your heart is very healthy, she said, especially based on your medical history. Keep riding your bicycle.

Yes, I know my cycling has improved, but there's been this undercurrent...time is running out, and I don't know when the final curtain is going to drop. Fact is, I still don't know when it's going to drop, but on my bicycle, looking into the distance, that horizon is now very, very far away.

Life is good. It always is, no matter what.
But sometimes life is even awesome. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

feathers on my mind



I pulled a feather out of my down pillow.
A chicken gave its life (unwillingly) so that I could have a chicken sandwich in the daytime
and a comfy pillow at night.

I wonder if that chicken had a name known only to its mom.
Did that little chickie even know its mom?
Or was it taken from her as soon as it left the cramped comfort of the egg?

Do chickens recognize each other? Seems to me they do. And do the hens recognize their chicks?
Do hens grieve the absence of chicks that are taken from them?

Etc.

We are such relentless omnivores.
There are times I get really tired of being a sentient biological, thinking I'm a higher life form.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

amazing grace



Amazing grace
how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
but now I'm found
was blind, but now I see.

What is it about that song?
The haunting melody, the deep feelings when both listening and singing.
I cannot deny the feelings on one hand. On the other hand I recoil at the words.

I never was a wretch.
And what was I supposedly saved from?
Nobody saved me.
When I was lost, I found my own way back.
Yes, of course, with some help.
Help I asked and paid for.
Blind?
Yes and no.
Our vision expands as our heart matures.
So yes, in a sense, I was blind...
and now I see.

Which is why the words bug me.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

la la la I'm not listening



It was a very good ride. The weather was cool, I concentrated on staying hydrated. We rode 11 miles to Granville, had a decent lunch, then another 11 miles back. Though the return ride was a bit of an uphill grade, my new bike handled it quite well, as did my legs. Not a problem. I was tired at the end, but it's that good buzz tired. Every time I have to get on and off the bike, my awkwardness decreases just a bit. All in good time, I say. Life is good.

And then. I'm resting in my chair, he's at his computer looking at the numbers. Telling me that I won't be happy with the numbers. I did worse today then the other two times we rode the trail.
Two things: his numbers were wrong
and
it wasn't worse for me. Because it's not about the friggin' numbers.

I just hate how numbers can do that. Although I loved the ride, the numbers tried to tell me I was inferior to whatever I was before.  Sigh. Just another voice I have to ignore. Seems like there's a lot of voices to ignore these days. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

just don't get caught



I can talk about it now.

Yesterday I had a med check with my doctor. I told him about my somewhat minor bike deal last Friday. I wanted him to confirm that I was correct in deciding dehydration and a bit of a panic attack were to blame. He wouldn't give me that. He ran an EKG. It looked good. We talked a bit, I told him I had a goal of doing a 50 mile ride before the year was out. And then he said he wanted me to see a cardiologist.

What? Why?

His words...heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. I have two risk factors. I protest, saying these two things are managed with relatively minor meds. (which is why I was in for a med check in the first place, dammit.) No matter, he says. Let's just get you checked out so we can be a little more comfortable with your goals. He says my assessment of last Friday's event is probably correct, but he can't confirm based only on heresay. So ok, I relent. Yes, I'll go.

For the rest of the day I was depressed/pissed. I'm just about to have my medical file closed from breast cancer, and now we have to open another one? Seriously? Am I ever going to be able to get to 50 miles? Do I spend the rest of my life guarding against a heart attack? Bummed.

But today the sun rose, I got a good night's sleep, and I can look at these things with my normal philosophical, attitudinal, humorous, life loving heart. The doc didn't say anything was wrong. He actually said many things were right. He's with me, glad I'm active, wanting me to get those 50 miles. But I'm also 71 and have some medical shit in my history. He's actually my advocate, helping me reach my goal. A good doc, if there ever was one.

Our final conversation, on the way out:
"Stay out of trouble, Pat."
"Awww. Do I have to?"
"Then don't get caught."


Sunday, May 31, 2015

riding stupid



It was a 20 mile bike ride, which isn't even difficult. I did it last year on my "little" bike, which is harder to ride than my new bike. But 3/4 of the way through it I dropped. Not literally. Absent blood and broken bones, dropping off your bike just requires getting back on and carrying on. But my energy bottomed out, and that was worse. Why! My new biking companion, who is still building up endurance, sped past me. I struggled. Pedal once. Pedal again. Repeat ad nauseum. Speaking of which, nausea introduced itself. The last half mile I just got off my bike and walked. It was easier.

We packed the bikes back in the car, stopped locally for something to eat, then came home. I crashed in my recliner chair until bedtime, then crashed into bed, where it seemed like I might be having early heart problems. And yet, my respiration and heart rates were the same as they've always been, and I've always been declared healthy.

So. Next day. A call to my young professional bike fitness friend. We discussed hydration, electrolytes, calories, yoga, core strengthening. She explained that yes, dehydration can do that to you, and, if you don't drink something until you feel thirst, you've already waited too long. Unfortunately, I never really feel "thirst". And yes, I was dehydrated. And electrolytes. She explained that if I ride hard enough that conversation is difficult, then I also need to pay attention to electrolytes.

Bottom line? I'm fine, now. I have a scheduled doctor visit tomorrow anyway, so will mention this event.
But here's what I know for sure: I'm too damned old to be riding stupid.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

see you on the other side



Sometimes the only thing worthwhile is the cup of coffee in the morning and the glass of wine at night.

No, nothing wrong here. Just tired. A good night's sleep (which didn't happen last night) cures all kinds of minor complaints. Tomorrow I put the finishing touches on our next bike ride. Xenia to Yellow Springs. A nice ride, and I especially like oh, all of it!

On our last bike ride, she and I looked at the bike bridge that arches over Rt. 33. It would be a push to get over it without walking, so my parting comment was "see you on the other side." I've thought about that phrase, thinking it's a bit like what we'd say to each other when one of us is dying. See you on the other side. Not a whole lot different from contemplating the bridge. Effort, but the passage would take place one way or another. By the way...we both were able to pedal to the top. It was effort. But so what. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

not much to say



I'll just say this...

I'm glad I don't live in a family where the parents hire a stripper to appear at their son's graduation party. And then I hear the stripper drove up to the house, saw the condition of the party goers, got back in her car and drove away. Wow. I'm glad I made the obligatory appearance early, ate some food, chatted with a couple of folks, and returned home.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

oofy stuff



I was at a party - celebrating the high school graduation of the son of  one of our neighbors. I don't speak much to the younger set living around me, mostly because I'm not good at sitting out in the evening discussing sports et al. But we all get along, so it's all good.

Anyway. One of the neighbors asked me to say "hi" to Mr. Denino. I corrected her by suggesting she can call him George. She responded with words to the effect that she wanted to respect us as the matriarch and patriarch of the neighborhood. Yes, we're certainly the oldest. But I suggested that if she wants to respect us, then respect our wishes to call us by our first names.

Oof. We're the old farts of the neighborhood. A generation older than all the others. Oof.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

magic


a magical day
clear skies
trees in early leaf
a bicycle path

the love of my life
he'll ride ahead
and always know where I am
keeping tabs on me
with his rear view mirror
counting the miles
noting and remembering the details

and my sister soul friend
new to bicycling
stops
breathes
gazes
proclaims this as sacred

Sunday, May 17, 2015

renewal





A writing assignment on renewal and home...

Where is home for me?
Where do I go to renew my spirit?
Sure, my house, shared with my husband,
provides a place for rest and renewal
in a temporal kind of way.
And it is good.
Very, very good.

But sometimes "things" invade this house,
this shelter of roof and walls and favorite things
and the arms of my lover.
Things that generate sorrow,
or anger,
or fear,
or any number of other difficult feelings.
His arms
give me comfort and strength
while I ride out the storm.

My soul needs more, though.
And so I go out to the universe itself.
Out to where my understanding of  divinity resides.
Out there,
in here,
everywhere.
Because in the beginning...God.
Or the big bang. Same thing.
And in that beginning,
even if it wasn't the first beginning,
God created the universe.
Since there was no other "something" with which to create,
 God created the universe from Herself.
In fact, my mythology says the Goddess and the universe are the same thing.
Science informs us that all the subatomic particles
that exist today
were formed at the time of the big bang,
and I am made up of a portion of those particles.
So in one form or another
I was present
at the very beginning.

How does this renew my spirit?
It reminds me that I'm part of All That Is.
I am part of the Goddess.
And, since the universe,
or the Goddess (whichever mode you prefer)
is without boundary,
then wherever I am
I am in the center
because the center is all there is.

Here I am!
Part of the Goddess,
residing in the very center.
My current pain,
or sorrow,
or anger,
or jubilation,
or tenderness
are opportunities for the Goddess
to experience Herself
in the human form.

And so. While I experience those difficult things,
I also willingly offer them to the Goddess within me,
adding to the fullness and creation of the universe.
My home.

I remember who I am.
I am renewed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

stormy weather


A powerful spring storm blew though yesterday; possible tornado in Pataskala. Not like the storms in the plains, of course, but damage is damage, regardless. Fortunately, no damage for us. But tomorrow's bike ride should probably be adjusted to accommodate any flooding.

The storm was good, though. It blew away the heat and humidity, and probably cleaned the air of pollen, at least temporarily. I mention this because it seems both weather related storms and emotionally charged storms both clear the air. Good.

As my son says, "fractals be".

Sunday, May 10, 2015

pain revisited



That familiar pain came for a visit again today. I've written about it before; the pain of feeling like I mean nothing to somebody I'd like to be close to. And again, I've had to accept that it is what it is.

But this time another voice joined the conversation, a voice of power. It reminded me of a quote, that it's none of my business what somebody thinks of me. True that. And besides, I don't really know what that person thinks - or doesn't think. I only know what I know based on my own perceptions.

But that voice of power...I was admonished to fill that hole I feel with a focused passion of doing what I love. Steeping myself so deep in that passion that I have no room for perceived hurts.

I can do that.
I should do that.
Anyway.
Thanks for the kick in the ass, muse.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

passages



prom dresses
graduation gowns
graduation robes
wedding gowns

rites and apparel of passages

for the rest of our lives
we bumble around
doing the best we can
learning
observing
doing
until our final passage
in our last bit of apparel
a burial shroud

and yet...

Friday, May 08, 2015

prom girl




I get at least one of these every year...

Prom girl comes in with dress and shoes. Dress must be hemmed.
Prom girl stands on the platform so I can mark her hem.
Prom girl then takes off her shoes, because for most of the prom
she will have kicked off her shoes.
Did I mention her shoes?
1.5" platform plus 4" heel.
And now the dress is all over the floor.

Dear prom girl; you get to decide when you want the perfect look. Either with shoes, or without.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

turtle whisperer



Why did the turtle cross the road? Or did it?

We came across a turtle on the bike trail today. Me, being who I am, talked to it. He stuck his head out just a tiny bit, knowing there were big moving critters (us) nearby. But I complimented him (her?) on her beauty. She had lovely markings on the side of her head, so I asked her if she could show us more. And she did. She stretched her head and neck out as far as it could go, apparently, and showed us her beauty spots, the yellow and red ones. I thanked her, and we returned to our bicycles so she could return to her own adventure. That's all.

I wonder what a turtle blog would look like, and what she would say...

Monday, May 04, 2015

pain



pain came flying in a couple of days ago
pain and anger and hurt
sometimes words hurt, but this time it was silence that hurt
exclusion
information was not shared with me
by someone I care for
about something I care about
it wasn't malicious, just...thoughtless,
or so I assume

it spoke to me of this...that I don't matter to them, to her
yet when the silence was delivered, I was doing a favor for her,
because I care about her

unbalanced relationship, yes?
unreasonable expectations on my part?
and on her part?

well, it is what it is

I held the pain, quietly howled my hurt
and gave pain a voice that also spoke from my past
when I felt like I didn't matter to anybody
even to myself
at a time when I didn't recognize the pain
and just swallowed it

but not now

the pain has now receded
my eyes are more open than before

and new adventures await

Friday, May 01, 2015

joy


Joy snuck in first thing this morning.

My 82 year old friend, caregiver, tired, cranky, my friend. We laugh together once in a while, have lunch together less often.

This morning we talked a bit, and next thing we knew, she decided to get out her bike, look it over, and bring it to my house so we can ride together on the local trail.

Joy!

And then I looked at Lady Joy a little more closely, as she began to sing to me...

joy
joy when you wake up in the morning
because it's better than not waking up

joy
joy when you go to bed at night
because sliding under the blanket and closing your eyes
feels so good

joy
bigger and deeper than happiness
sometimes even in the face of pain and sorrow
simply saying yes to life

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

there's no wrong way



We have another kind of bicycle adventure in the works. My very dear friend is now retired, has bought a bicycle, and loves riding as much as we do. So now we have to get her up to speed (actually, endurance) to ride with us on our longer journeys. She even bought a bike rack for her car! Wow!

She came over today and the two of us rode the kitty bench trail. It's a nine mile ride, and was the longest distance she'd attempted so far. We made a couple of stops to shake out our legs, and on the trail I cruised slowly so I wouldn't tire her out. Actually, that's rather nice to know I have to slow down for somebody else. With George, he has to slow down for me. It was enough of a ride for her.
But we'll keep doing this as long as it takes.

She was concerned that she was "slowing me down" and being a burden. No. You're not. For me, there's no wrong way to ride a bike. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

contrasts




A day of contrasts.

We rode the Kokosing Gap bike trail today, and I soaked up the beauty of early spring. The air was still a bit chill, the sky was blue, and the cycling itself was divine.

And then, home, resting in front of the television, watching the news reports about the rioting in Baltimore. I am angry that the violent protestors are called thugs, but the powerful manipulators of our society, those that make the playing field grossly unfair and unsustainable to the poor, are not called thugs.

And the contrast between the righteous protestors and my own life dampens my joy. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

mirroring



I suppose it's human nature to (sometimes) take definition of ourselves by what other people think of us. So in a perverted way we are mirrors for each other.

Yet when we are looking at imperfections in the reflections of ourselves in the mirrors of others, are they actually our imperfections? Or are they imperfections in mirrors?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

bonehead



She brought me a dress that needed to be taken in. It had a zipper in a side seam, which makes taking in the seam more of a hassle. In addition, the dress had horizontal stripes, which must be lined up accurately along that seam. In addition, the stripes alternated as fabric and lace. It really doesn't get more complicated than that. At least there wasn't any bling on the dress.

First, the zipper must be removed. Carefully, especially difficult from the lace stripes. Then, the new seam must be pin marked. Next, the zipper must be pinned in place. Very carefully, being careful to not stretch the fabric, because that's when the stripes won't line up. Finally it was ready to sew. The first line was a basting stitch just to make sure I got all the alignments correct. That done, the serious sewing began. Sewing slowly, removing each pin as I got to it, carefully, carefully.

And then, done.

Except I forgot to check for enough bobbin thread. All those pins removed...argh!!

Starting all over again, measuring again, pin marking again, cursing my most boneheaded mistake I've made in a long time in my workroom.

Yet, if this is the worst problem I have today, it's nevertheless a good day. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

not as hard as chemo

 






It was cold. I didn't care. I wanted to ride my bike. So I studied the weather forecasts and cherry picked the best parts to convince myself and them that we could do this. I ignored that a high of 49 means it's more often colder. I ignored the fact that just because there isn't a wind advisory doesn't mean it isn't windy. And, I ignored the fact that my favorite weatherman said that maybe we'd even see a few snowflakes.

We drove to the Kokosing Gap trail, hoping to log at least 20 miles on it. that would be 10 miles in, have lunch, 10 miles back. Well, a little more than 3 miles in I stopped to take a couple of pictures. While stopped, we got a bit of rain. Then we got a bit of hail. then we turned around and rode back to the car. Note the gloves and ear warmers on my two companions!

Will I be trusted again to assess the weather forecasts? Who knows. but at least we have a baseline of what is acceptable...and what is not.

It was a great ride with lots of good conversation and laughs. I explained that if it's not as hard as chemo, then it's not too hard.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

what Peter said



If I look at human beings through the lens of evolution, and at the same time look through the lens of the "peter principle", then, well, I think we've reached our highest level of development, which is also one of incompetence.

I think I'm glad I'm as old as I am. When I die, there will be some who will feel sad for me. I, on the other hand, will feel sad for them because they have to continue to endure the incompetence of their chosen (and unchosen) rulers.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

family



I get a kick out of this photo; my brother, my hubby, and me. Of course, you can't see me. I'm very happy, maybe lucky, to have two such good men in my life. And, when you add our three sons, I've got a whole pocketful of good men in my life. Let's add in the grandson, approaching manhood.

What about women in my life? Well....I've got two daughters-in-law, a granddaughter, and possibly maybe probably another daughter-in-law in the wings.

Family. We don't get to pick our family, and in my youth I remember wishing sometimes for a different batch of family members. I'm guessing we all go through that.

Some people think we choose our family before we are born. If so, I chose well. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

what next?



I'm not mentioning names, obviously.

A couple, both of us are friends with both of them.
And they are getting a divorce. 75 years old.

I understand their dilemma. It may be the best practical solution to a difficult situation. But, it's a hell of a way to finish out one's life. Pain all around.

Which makes me think of the old time traditional understanding of death. The pearly gates. We make an assessment of our lives, face our personal grief, profess our faith, and hopefully gain admittance to heaven. But what then? Do we forget who we were? Do we relinquish our memories, wipe our brains clean, and start all over again as "babies?" These were always such puzzles to me.

Not now, though. I don't know what happens next, if anything, and that's ok. I do know that much of what I "believed" was actually an accumulation of myths and stories, well intended, perhaps, but not actually the kind of truth I yearn to understand.

Truth. In my snarkiness, I sometimes, when considering close minded bigots, will say "You can't teach algebra to a goldfish. Stop trying to get them to think rationally."

Truth. Are more evolved beings, in their snarkiness, considering our failings, saying "You can't teach love to homo sapiens." ???

Friday, April 17, 2015

changing times



She is 80 years old or close to it. She is now caring for her husband, who is going down the altzheimer's hole. He is still at home, not terribly lost yet, but she is becoming less able to leave him alone except for a very short period of time. She is trapped and becoming angry. She loves him and doesn't want to put him in a home, but she is trapped, and she is angry anyway.  It's just the two of them, in a good sized house and a good sized yard. It's all on her, now.

Tough decisions are in her future. At least there are family members to lend a hand, though the closest ones are maybe 15 miles away. They aren't young, either.

It's just tough. But nothing is forever, right? Not the good times, not the bad times.

Monday, April 13, 2015

a good weekend



We traveled to Cincinnati to hear the barbershop quartet and chorus competition. George's chorus out sang the others, Steve's quartet qualified for international competition later this year. There are stories within those facts, and perhaps one day I'll write about them.

This time the simple journey to Cincinnati became a more complex and interesting journey as I lingered a bit on other folks' paths.

The woman who has been caregiver for her quadriplegic husband for twenty years.
Another woman shared with me her story of finding the love of her life.
And another, a friend. A journey of deep sorrow and spunky attitude, one who fully embraces the "mother bear" who protects her cubs. Even when they're grown.
And, my artist friend. A new friend. I don't know his sorrows, but I do know his art.

It was a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

family time



We've been down this road twice before. We've cared for both mothers until their time ran out in this particular incarnation. Are there other incarnations? I don't know. Maybe I hope so, but that's not the point of this small bit of writing.

Aunt Florence is 93 years old. She has no children; never did; she sees us as her children. She lives in a senior facility in another city, and she senses her time is running out. At least, she's now starting to feel old. Ya think? age 93?

We've done the search, and found a good place for her in our town, 15 minutes away from our house. But can we talk her into coming down here? She didn't say yes; she didn't say no. She cried a bit when she came to understand more deeply our love and concern for her. I know change isn't easy at here age. Hell. It isn't easy for me at my age!

So after some deep conversation and a good lunch, we had to drive two and a half hours back to our own home, giving her time to think things over.

I left her with my most powerful shot: When your time is upon you, do you want to face it alone, or do you want to face it with loving family members holding your hands?

I really hope she chooses family. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

today



today
today is the first day of something
I'm not sure what
but surely it's somebody's day one of something
maybe it's mine
and I've already forgotten?

it's also day #572 of somebody else's something
or other
not mine
I don't normally try to count that high.

life is good, even when it doesn't make sense
even when I don't make sense
but you're the one who actually came here to read it.....

Friday, April 03, 2015

bike



Perhaps now, at last, I can relax. Got my bike ordered, and then helped my friend find the bike she wanted.

Buying a bike is a lot harder now than it was 50 years ago. I remember walking into Central Hardware, where bikes were sold. Men's or women's. Racer or not. adult or child size. And that was it. I bought the one on the floor and walked out with it. Nobody made sure it would fit. It did. If it could have fit better? I have no idea. I rode it for about 15 years. Then put it away as work and raising kids just took all the energy I had.

Now? Lord have MERCY!! So many sizes, functions, constructions. So much to learn so I could make good choices. Actually, that's a good thing. I couldn't ride a normal adult bike these days. So I will be getting a 26" 21 speed Townie. When I can't ride that, I'll have to go to a recumbent, and I'm not gonna do that.

A couple of salesmen told me a Townie is made for 10-15 mile rides at most, and in my mind, I was thinking it was something about the construction that might not be good for longer rides. Finally I asked what they meant by that. They said because the rider sits upright and isn't aerodynamic. I had a lot of fun standing on my toes so I could look one of them in the eye and state: I'm 70 years old and I've ridden my 3 speed Townie 40 miles.
And their eyes got big.
So take THAT, you whippersnapper!

But on a different level, this is pretty significant. It's been ten years since my cancer diagnosis, and when I see the oncologist in two months, he'll cut me loose. So this bike is a bit of an early "birthday" present. One evening I imagined that I have finally grown up and arrived. Healthy. With a 21 speed bike. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

concert



Junior high spring concert. The grandson was in three of the four choral groups. Two of the three groups were typical junior high conglomerations of kids; some still pre-adolescent, some had reached their adult height. A few were really out of control, most were pretty decent. I'm glad this is the last junior high spring vocal music concert I will ever have to attend.
Also: the sound system was terrible with the electronic piano way too loud, and the microphones were giving more feedback than the kids could possibly sing over.  On the other hand, I suspect an  overly loud piano and microphone feedback may have sounded better than junior high kids trying to sing harmonies.

Ok. Got that out of my system.

The grandson was superb. He comes from musical families on both sides, both vocal and instrumental. He's sung with adult men's champion choruses. Very very few other kids ever get that opportunity. And he knows it. His voice is deeper than his dad's, and he's 13 years old. He sings not only with his vocal chords, but with his eyes. He has presence. How could he not? Afterwards, people came up to him and said they imagine they'll eventually see him on Broadway.

He wants to be a music teacher. He'll be a good one. He shares his skills freely. He has the right blend of pride in doing something well, and the humility to recognize he's part of a group, and that teamwork matters.

I had goosebumps. I'm guessing I wasn't the only one.

spring's arrival



Spring arrives in my world. Lightning punches through my closed eyelids, thunder roars outside my bedroom window. The sound of rain is soothing, and would sing me back to sleep if the early morning wake up call didn't bring to my attention a full bladder. Damn.
My day begins.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

49



He finished the taxes.
I finished a wall hanging.
That's how we celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary.
It's all we need.
We still have each other.
Every day is special.
Every day is a celebration.
The only moment is this moment.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

bummer



It takes him several days to do the income tax report on Turbotax. You know the drill...collecting all the forms, tallying things that need to be tallied, complaining to me about how I keep my business records.

And then. Tonight. Almost done. Every single damned number entry turned to zero. All the work lost.  About the only good thing about this? At least he isn't starting the taxes in the second week of April.

Sigh

Monday, March 16, 2015

a good day



Some days are all-around good days. Our firstborn celebrated his birthday, today was the first warm day of the year, we took our first bike ride. Planet Earth provided us with a spectacular sunset show (to be shown at some later day).

And I forgot about a bridal appointment. I forgot to look on my calendar, and got back from the bike ride to a phone message that I wasn't home. Oops. But she had just called, and was willing to turn around and come back. She was ok with it, and she's just the kind of bride I most like working with. Practical. I read a report that the average wedding costs $30,000 these days. That is not practical. On the other hand, I'd want to know more about the population that was surveyed to compile this particular figure.