13 December …

 

Another week gone.

Life adjustments are never easy, but trying to make as few ripples as possible while adjusting is a real challenge.  Even when doing your best …

If you goof and don’t succeed … try try again.

~~~

Last week John returned “Grandmother” clock to me.  She needed work but it hadn’t gotten done over the years.  John took her and did the work.  Now she is next to my bed singing on the quarter hours and marking the hours !!!

Maybe I should explain her name.  She was given to George’s maternal grandfather in lieu of payment for some work done and he gave it to George’s Grandmother.  Hence the clock is called “Grandmother”.

She seems to be a bit temperature sensitive (after all she is 110 years old), but I don’t care.  Just having her with me is a blessing.  The fine tuning can wait for Spring.

~~~

Weather has been not-Winter … cold but no new snow.  Morning frosts.  Sunny days.  Not at all like last year.

~~~

Short post this week.  I am making headway in whatever, but there are the inevitable set-back days.  I am learning the backstory for “widow” behavior I didn’t understand before such as just sitting and gazing off into nothing and the tea and toast diet and empty morning time between 0300 and 0500. 

As long as the two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back routine continues … I’m okay.

 

After all …   

 

Success is a matter of attitude and appreciation. Every day you look at the grass from the top down, you are a success.

 

So … ‘til next week …

 

6 December …

Well, I’ve been a widow for a bit over two weeks.  I am gradually piecing “me” back together as I start the third part of my life.

One thing I learned for sure is that all the ideas, thoughts, assumptions, hopes, desires, anticipations, plans, etc. I had for this time in my life were all wrong, misleading, useless and that “off” days will catch you unaware.

I also learned that there is joy and laughter even in the hard times.

Case in point … one evening a couple of days after George died, Paul (who is nearly six) was doing his “homework” of reading to an adult before bedtime.  He was reading the children’s book “Are You My Mother?” in which a baby bird, whose mother has gone shopping, goes looking for her asking various animals if they are his mother with obvious results (i.e. “I can’t be your mother. I’m a cow.”). Paul reached the place where the baby bird asks a steam shovel which replies with a snort and Paul put everything he had into that reply …

*** SNORT !!!  ***

He then looked up at all of us and said “Well, that would have woke Papa up if he were still here.”

~~~

Both Mikayla and Tyler were here from New York.  Tyler took this picture while he was here.

Mikayla left last thursday and Tyler on friday. 

That meant the entire family was here with George for those last days and each got time alone with him.

It was great having them here, in spite of the reason, and I look forward to summer when we will see them again.

~~~

We have reached the time of the year when school kids leave home in the dark and return in the dark.  I remember those days very clearly from all those many years ago.  I worked weekend nights and so slept weekend days.  That meant for a few weeks each year I didn’t see the boys in daylight.

Oh well …

Fortunately, this is also the time of year for the most holidays  and “No School” days, so Paul spends more time at home.

The tree went up last week and the living room is now colourful.  George and I had reached the point of a small tree up on a table.  But there is once again a child in the house so this year it is a seven footer on the floor with a roundabout train.

~~~

Sunday morning was the first more-than-passing snow. There were still patches on the firewood at nightfall.

~~~

My first day away from the house (“to air off the stink” as per my Grandmother Tyler) in nearly six weeks was yesterday.  I went to Medford with John and Mike. 

It was a mixed day.

I got my sewing machine back from the repair shop so I will be able to make a pinafore for Brenda (Kamille’s teaching aide doll) and get started on the dream pillows for holiday gifts.

The hard part was saying goodbye to Jeff, the server at Sizzler in Medford who has been taking care of George and me each month for nearly four years on days when we went to the retinologist.  George always liked going to Sizzler for the salad bar.  Without him, I doubt I will be going there again.

I did enjoy the trip.  Watching the seasons change … the madrone trunks are now bare, even of shreds of old bark, and a light red-beige in colour … and there was hoar frost on trees, bushes, and rooftops all the way into Ashland.

~~~

Things are moving forward … slowly.  I am not yet ready to talk with folks.  I still cry too easily.  Even answering cards and emails is difficult.  But that too shall pass. 

 

 

How lucky I am to have [had] something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ― A.A. Milne

 

 

So ‘til next week …

 

17 November …

 

 

While doing this blog over the last few years, I have endeavoured to share all the wonderful, beautiful things in my life. I have enjoyed sharing them and can only hope you enjoyed sharing as well.

But … now seems the time to share some unwelcome information which will explain why, if in the future, this blog is missing or drastically shortened.

George is failing.

 

It is a real roller coaster and it is all happening so rapidly.

There had been the really tiny changes we all experience as we grow older.  Changes no one but a life partner would notice.

 

Then the 30th of September, while working the Headwaters Trail Runs, something changed.  George and I were working Net Control, he on the radio and me transcribing, when I noticed he was unable to repeat information to the stations.  Then he told me he couldn’t remember what he was supposed to be writing down on the communications log and was unable to read what he had written.

After that, things settled into a new pattern.  He no longer argued about me doing all the driving.  He did what he could around the farm and that was enough.

 

Mark and his family, except for the older children, have been living here since summer, so I have good support with John just a few miles down the road and Mark right here.

 

George and I went to the radio club swap meet and potluck the 28th of October (you saw the pictures) and he wasn’t too bad … a bit confused but still able to walk and talk.

Then suddenly, within a two week period, George’s right foot began to drag (it had been shuffling for some time) and his speech became almost unintelligible.

We knew of a similar situation, which happened to a man about George’s age, which turned out to be the result of an atypical geriatric urinary track infection, so we got George to the doctor and started him on Cipro. 

That was last wednesday.  He has had five doses of the antibiotic, two of which were never swallowed but dissolved in his mouth and drooled out, and things have continued to worsen.

He now tries to talk but ends up making unintelligible noises which angers him.  He walks only by being physically supported.  That too angers him.  He appears to have right-sided weakness with loss of control.

 

There have been funny happenings along the way such as when he was mumbling and the word “dog” came out very clearly followed by, also clearly, “Where the hell did that came from?”

And yesterday morning he greeted me with “Hi, Babe” and a smile.

So that’s where we are right now.  I don’t leave him for any extended period of time … hence no or late blogs.

 

I know you all wish us well and for that I thank you.

 

For now I must remember …

 

Fate will break your heart … and break your heart … and break your heart … over and over again … but things are as they are and will end as they must.

 

So  … ‘til next time …

 

8 November …

 

It’s been a fairly quiet week.

Soft rain began during the early morning friday and continued until it snowed.

The birch trees are nearly bare, and it had just occurred to me that I should rake and gather the fallen leaf carpet to spread in the garden when it began to rain.  Oh well … maybe next year.

Paul and I had gotten 30 out of the 50 narcissus bulbs planted.  John suggested I put some bulbs in the refrigerator to force bloom during winter.  As soon as possible, I will plant the rest.

And it is currently raining with a rather strong wind.

~~~

Here are some pictures from the swapmeet-potluck at the radio club house …

 

 

the cook …

 

 

                                         and some “elmers”.

The food was good and plentiful, and George didn’t buy anything.

~~~

Mark’s idea to offer an amateur radio class at the middle school is solidifying.  There are thirteen students signed up.  They will learn morse code and physics and math and who knows what else, and those who pass the exam to become amateur radio operators will be given a free handheld radio courtesy of one of our club members.  The textbooks were provided by members of the local Masonic Lodge.

It will be interesting to see how many make it all the way to the radios.

~~~

The time change threw me for a loop AGAIN.  I hate it.  The one clock at which I look first thing in the morning is the one clock in the house which didn’t get changed.

~~~

And time isn’t the only change.  George is having cognitive changes.  We first really noticed them the day of the Headwaters Trail Runs.  He has seen the doctor and they have done some tests, but we do not as yet have a diagnosis.

It is causing us to rethink chores and times.  So with combining the two households and now this … life is undergoing changes big time.

~~~

But there is still beauty in which to walk. 

John took this picture of a section of Old Stage Road just to the south of us.

The white winter cactus is in bloom.

Winter approaches across the meadow.

And the Mountain has donned her Winter attire.

~~~

 

So here’s something to remember …

 

Every life situation has been sent to you as a test and challenge to help you grow.

 

 

So … ‘til next week …

1 November …

 

Chilly mornings … still dark at 0700 and dark by 1800.  Must be getting close to the shortest day.

Fire in the living room woodstove mornings.

Soup more often than salad.

More trees going bare.

Yup … must be getting close to Yule.

~~~

George has been having minor aphasic problems as well as a bit of confusion.  It could be delayed concussion from when a tier of firewood fell over on him and he got a hit on the head, or it could be transient ischemic attacks, or it could be old age.  We went down to the VA clinic in Redding last Monday for a series of tests.  No results yet.

The trip down through the canyon was full of colours.  This was the only picture I could get.  Spring is pink and white.  Summer is greens (plural).  Autumn is as you see.

Then on the way home we got to see a bit of the Mountain.

~~~

 

Next to last of the “reading” pictures. 

Girl Reading, 1853, William Morris Hunt

Looking at art through reading has been fun.  And I learned a bit by looking closely.  Surprise …

 

~~~

Mark’s knee continues to improve.  The puncture wounds are nearly healed.

I have a bit of a time warp when I see the amount of surgery being done through punctures rather than incisions.  Time and technology moves on.

~~~

Hallowe’en began at breakfast when Mark appeared in a wig.  Kamille became a seasonal RN.  Paul was Vader. The front door jack o’lanterns were by Paul and John.

I had time out under the waxing Moon.

 

AC has resumed his place under the bell beside the boardwalk.

 

There is still firewood to be moved.

The spinning for Paul’s sweater is almost done. 

Tyler’s sweater is started.

All is right with my world.

~~~

As we start November know that …

 

If you are super brilliant, there is nothing holding you back from being silly.

 

‘til next week …

 

27 October …

 

I know … I know … I’m late. 

I’ve been busy. 

The big event this week was Mark’s surgery.  He has had a bum knee ever since high school football.  It has now been repaired. 

He is handling the no-weight-on-that-knee restrictions pretty well.  And as soon as it is completely healed, they’ll fix the other one which wasn’t as bad.

~~~

Tuesday was the monthly trip to the retinologist in Medford.

Weather was good so we didn’t need to bundle up.  However, as we left about 0800 it was still cool and there was mist over the spots where there is water … as in this picture where the Shasta River wends toward the Klamath northwest of Montague.

It was interesting to really look at the landscape.  This year we watched it turn from fresh green to thousand tint green to flowering to lush to beginning to fade to now …glorious colour. 

Frost and/or snow next month?  Won’t matter … we have plenty of firewood.

The madrones are part of the change.  Last month their bark was bright orange.  This month it is shredding and peeling off.  I had never before given a thought to the way madrones reproduce … but this trip it was very obvious that there are male trees and females trees … some trees with loads of bright red berries and other bare.

Nature never fails to amaze and entertain.

We did have some rain last week.  Not very much, but any is welcome.

With the rain came some gusty wind and overnight the red maple was striped nearly bare.  The leaves were blown all over and are a bit of eye candy.  Nice …

The clotie tree in the courtyard is eye candy as well …

~~~

At the radio club meeting last week the summer events were wrapped up and the year’s activities are drawing to a close.  Next event will be the swap meet and potluck tomorrow.

As Presiding Officer, I have never had a gavel.  Whenever the meeting threatened to get out of hand, I had to speak louder than the rest to get things back on track (the whisper ploy didn’t always work).  But one of the members handmade me a set. The gavel itself is of Port Orford cedar and the base piece (I can’t recall its proper name) is a beautiful piece of oak.  Now all I have to do is learn how to use it.

~~~

AC is not dead!  He came home three days ago … more rotund that he had been so wherever he was, he was eating well.

Our first encounter after his return was a rub-the-feet greeting with purring so loud you could hear it without bending down.

It is nice to have him home even if it is only until the next time he decides to roam.

~~~

Last Saturday I was able to plant some perennial bulbs to brighten next spring … daffodils and narcissus and fritillaries. I’ll keep an eye out for more bulbs, mainly lily-of-the-valley.  But no tulips.  The deer love them and will go out of their way to get at them to eat.

~~~

Events around here the last few days/weeks have led to the thought …

Don’t leave unsaid how you feel about those in your life.

So … ‘til next week …

 

 

18 October …

 

Fires are still a rather big problem in the middle of the state.  However, we in the far north continue to be okay and the winds are right so we don’t even have smoke.

We are truly blessed.

~~~

We are becoming quite the radio place.  Two new antennae have taken up residence.  Mark was the instigator since there are nets in which he enjoys participating.  Now we can communicate over a much greater distance.

Have I told you Paul is a good radio communicator although he does not yet have a license?  He can use the family frequency and his call is “P12”. He designated me as “Nuna22” on that frequency.

And as practice for when he will be able to get his license, he is a seasoned “third party” communicator.

The radio club meeting is this evening.  Items for discussion are reports on the last two summer events, the latest on the proposed radio class in the middle school, and planning for the winter potluck.  I already have the game planned for the potluck party.  Now I need to figure out what to do for door prizes.

~~~

Garden time is coming to a close.  Paul and I went to the garden at the elementary school last Saturday to help with the end-of-the-season clean-up. 

 

It was a bit nippy, but Paul kept busy harvesting the last of the cherry tomatoes.

Then Paul and I were out monday, after school, in our own garden gathering potatoes. 

 

 

The corn stalks have been harvested and there are some beside the front door.  We will add coloured corn cobs and pumpkins and be ready for Hallowe’en.

Hallowe’en advent begins tomorrow.  In the past, when Mikayla and Tyler were little, I would put together a box with tchotchkes, each with a string and date tag that the children would use to pull the whatever from the box each morning of the thirteen days leading up to the big night. 

Now, since Paul is living in the house with George and me instead of being clear across the country, I plan to just put something beside his breakfast each morning. 

 

Haven’t yet decided what I’ll use to start the countdown … maybe a drink container?

 

~~~

Sixty-five years ago tonight George and I went to the Biltmore Theatre in downtown Los Angeles to see the First Drama Quartet (Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Charles Laughton, Charles Boyer, and Agnes Moorehead) do a reading.  That night they chose to read the “Don Juan in Hell” scene from George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman”. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-MQsrp0ztg

It all started okay … until they reached the part about marriage.

In those days one really dressed to go to the theatre, so I was in heels, hat, and gloves.  But I forgot a handkerchief and wound up using my gloves to catch tears and wipe my nose.

And by three the next afternoon, we were married.

~~~

Autumn moves along.

The reservoir is all but empty. 

The wisteria and the smoke tree are still colourfully decorated … 

as are the maple and birches …

and the carpet along the center drive is building with maple and cherry leaves.

However, the catalpa tree is a seasonal novelty.  It is the last tree to leaf out in Spring, and the first to go bare in Autumn.

The catalpa now wears only seed pods.  Such a short time to be “alive”.

~~~

 

Closing thought for this week …

 

Always look for beauty and kindness around you, and if you can’t find it … be it.

 

So … ‘til next week …

 

11 October …

 

I need to start this blog with information in re the California fires.

News reporters keep saying they are in “northern” California.  WRONG.  The fires are in the center (both horizontally and vertically) of the state as well as to the west over the mountains (the arrow points to our area).   

Not to say it isn’t a disaster.  

But we are okay except for the smoke brought to us on winds from the south.

Thank you and blessings to all of you who checked on us.

~~~

Nights are getting chilly and the leaf carpet has begun to form under the red maple tree …

The trees are beautiful.

~~~

The visit with the family on their holiday from Peru was great.  It was a bit like stepping back in time … I felt the way I felt about thirty years ago.  At that time both Helene and I were young mothers with young children …

This time Lisa was Helene and her son (Sam) and daughters (Lillian and Eleanor) were Helene’s Lisa and Adam.  The resemblance is remarkable.

My heart remembers.

But in addition to that, meeting Lisa’s children and her husband Mark was a joy.

Wednesday we all (George, Mark, Kamille, Paul, Lisa, Mark, Sam, Lillian, Eleanor, and I) went out to dinner together.  Get acquainted time.  The Mishkin children warmed quickly to all the absolute strangers.  Paul and Sam hit it off in spite of the age difference. 

Then thursday, on their way north, the Mishkins stopped by Cold Comfort for a few hours. 

The “Korn-Dibelka” family picture album Barry (Lisa’s dad) created for George and my fiftieth wedding anniversary provided fun memories …

 

 

I was able to create a memory for myself by beginning instructions in spinning (it cost a bit of fiber and was well worth it)…

then we had dinner under the pergaze-bollis (sort of a rural sukkot).

 

Memories to file away for a rainy day.

~~~

Ever since the Headwaters radio event, I’ve been working on standardized tracking sheets for the stations.  There were a couple of items that caused some confusion in the to-each-their-own approach. 

I’ve taken the handwritten reports from the stations and tried to put them into printable files so all operators are sort of on the same page.  So far the responses I’ve gotten have been helpful.  Next years we will be more organized and tracking individuals, when requested, will be easier.

~~~

Eleven days into the month and here is the painting for the month …

“Mrs. Duffee seated on a Striped Sofa Reading”

1876, Mary Stevenson Cassett

~~~

I didn’t do as well this year for Spinzilla as I did last year …

4,562 yards as opposed to 5,662 last year.  But I did get about half of the colours done for Paul’s requested sweater.

~~~

It is with deep regret that I have to tell you AC seems to have disappeared. 

It’s been a bit more than a week since I saw him last.

He had reached the “adult” stage and had been gone before … a foray from which he returned with a torn ear. 

But he has been gone longer this time.  I hold to the hope that this is just another growing up trip incited by hormones, but this is wild land and it’s been an extended absence … so who knows.

I just have to be grateful for the time I had with him.

~~~

 

This coming saturday, my chosen sister will turn 75 … and she is as beautiful as she was when I first met her. 

 

Blessings …

~~~

Saw this on Facebook and found it appropriate…

 

 

So … ‘til next week …

 

4 October …

 

 My chosen sister’s daughter and her family were in California for the High Holy Days (they are stationed in Lima, Peru with the diplomatic corps) and plan to drop by to see us on their trek between LA and Portland.

They are due here early this afternoon.  Report next week.

~~~

The final radio event for the season was last Saturday.  It is a running event featuring 10k, 30k, and 50k courses through the wild back areas of southern Siskiyou county.  We had stations at three hard-to-reach sites (that means you had to have good 4×4 trucks and know how to drive narrow, rutted roads). One area looks like this …

and this …

George and I are the “elders” so we got to do net control at the start/finish line.

Last year the weather had been chilly so we dressed for it.  I had on a shirt, a sweatshirt, a jacket, and my communicator vest.  I stayed pretty warm except for my legs.  But George was a layer short and the chilly wind got to him.

There were about 150 participants overall, and because they are running in rough territory, we have to keep a pretty close check on them.  We had some interesting things happen. 

Two runners in the 50k decided they weren’t up to the long run and so were switching to the 30k.  We changed their numbers from one tracking sheet to the other.  Then they must have gotten a second wind and decided to switch back to the 50k, but didn’t tell anyone and for a time we had no idea where they were.

A young woman decided to run even though she had badly strained her knee two weeks ago.  She made the first 13 miles and then had to sit with ice on her knee until the station closed and she could hitch a ride back in a volunteer vehicle (the course is so bad and narrow in places only runners or bicycles can navigate).  Turns out her folks are the ones who run the ambulance service.

Campers with trash and a campfire were seen in a closed, fire-not-allowed area and we teamed with the USFS providing lat and long location.

Two runners got lost but made it back onto the course without help.

The lasagna served was excellent, but it was not gluten free so Kamille had to do without as did Michael who has been put on a carbfree diet by the cardiologist.  There was lots of crisp green salad with a dressing concocted by the caterer which was a basic creamy with basil and just a touch of wasabi.  No garlic bread this year and I had to skip the beer because I was driving.

But by the end of the day everyone who had started had crossed the finish line.  We did our usual competent job and have been asked to do it again next year.

That is the end of the radio events for 2017.  Next one?  Spring Equinox 2018.

~~~

I am still having a bit of trouble with my throat.  My vocal range and decibel level is inconsistent.  I range from silent mouthing to almost normal with no way to tell before I open my mouth what will come out.

My baritone is very reminiscent of the femme fatales of the 40s and 50s … Marlene, Lauren, Lizabeth, Veronica …

Oh well …

~~~

Our forest is mostly evergreen so the colour display is not as vivid as those in the upper midwest and the northeast.  However, we do have enough of a variety of deciduous trees to make a trip down the road a pleasure.  It is sort of like the winter holiday season when some houses are lit with decorations.

The maple in front of the house is vivid red,  The catalpa is sparkling yellow.  The birches are a mix of deep green and neon yellow. 

Out back the smoke tree is whispy greybrown.  The dogwoods are varied between soft green and bright red.  The oaks are just beginning to turn, and the roadside bushes are full of colour.

A really nice time of year.

~~~

Speaking of colours … I am three days into Spinzilla with a collection of vivid colours …

all drafted and ready to go. 

What with family rearranging and visitors, I don’t expect to do as well as I have in the past. 

Oh well …

~~~

And a piece of advice from a friend …

 

If you cannot find a good companion with whom to walk, walk alone.

 

‘Til next week …

 

 

27 September …

 

 

Later this morning I have an appointment with the surgeon for my pre-surgery workup.  I hope to have that out of the way before winter holidays. 

Mark is having his right knee repaired the twenty-fifth of October and we can’t both be down at the same time (we’re the cooks), so further plans will await his results.

~~~

Last Saturday was the next to last radio event for the year.  It was the Biketoberfest over in McCloud.

Mark was in charge of the club’s participation.  He had a full complement of volunteers and stationed George at the boat dock, Kamille at the Lake McCloud dam, and me at the “airport” as usual.  Then the calls began to come in.  One came down with something Friday night.  The other woke up saturday with a uncontrolled nosebleed.  So George and I stayed the same but Mark took over the station at the Lake McCloud dam and Kamille took on the SAG position.  It was Michael’s first event on his own as a new ham and he covered the Lakin Dam station.

Kamille had the most excitement with a drastic need for salt and pepper at one station, an over-the-handlebars accident needing as soon as possible dental attention, and an overheated, over extended participant needing a ride back to the city.  The rest of us just did the same ole stuff.  However, we did it well and there were no lost participants.

Paul spent the day with Mark.

There was fresh snow on the Mountain … and the weather went without incident except that the smoke’s effect on my sinuses and lungs was very evident.  I had been swallowing. spitting, and coughing for two days and went mute thursday and friday.  Then I was understandable on the radio all day saturday … although I sounded a bit more like a baritone than a mezzo. 

The weather held.  We were home (recuperating) by time for the evening news … and I was again mute.  There was no need to cook having been given food chits at the event which provided dinner.

Next (and last) event will be next Saturday.

~~~

Yesterday was the monthly trip to Medford.  This time John and Michael took us.

It was a lovely time of morning when we made the trip north … crisp with shadows. 

The madrones were beautiful.  They are shedding their bark and so the trunks and larger limbs are a very bright burnt orange.  I really wish I could have at least one on the property, but I’m told they do not transplant and can be grown only from seed so they are not something I can have.  Guess I’ll just continue to enjoy them on the trips north.  Oh well …

The crop of autumn calves seems to be early this year.  The fields were alive with baby animals.  Fun to see.

I saw only one alfalfa field still working.  It had been freshly cut, but the cut was not very tall or plentiful.

And no one seems to be taking in bee hives yet.

~~~

The appointment with the retinologist went much as usual.  They have switched back to liquid lidocaine from gel for numbing George’s eyeball. The reason was something about the gel preventing the disinfectant from being as effective as they would like.  But the liquid didn’t really work as well as the gel.  George seemed more uncomfortable this time than I remember seeing him since the first injection.

His eye is holding steady.  It would be nice were there some improvement, but at least things are not getting worse.

~~~

Last Friday I was to have gone to lunch with a group of the nurses with whom I worked so many years ago.  It would have been an eye opener.  As one said when she called me with the invitation, she had pictures in her head of each of us left from the last time she saw us … in some cases more than five, six, or ten years ago. 

Ones who were newlyweds when I retired are now grandmothers.

On Friday my throat was raw and I had no voice and so I didn’t go. 

I wonder how many will be left the next time someone decides to get us together?

~~~

Last week, on their way out to the school bus before dawn, Mark and Paul saw the mist/fog on the reservoir and in the swampy meadow.  Paul and I talked about it on the way home from the afternoon school bus and he now knows about warm water and damp earth when the air turns cool. 

Sort of spoils the wonder?

~~~

 

For Doug, here is this week’s AC picture …

 

 

and for all a final thought …    

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

 So … ‘til next week …