Saturday, November 21, 2009
Then, she tucked the blanket between her legs and started squeezing her legs together, and said, "Okay, you squeeze and hold, 1, 2, 3 and one. 1, 2, 3, and two. 1, 2, 3, and four. That's a bladder exercise. You might as well get started now."
Okay, mom, I think I will. Thanks for the tip.
Then she showed me an exercise to help her bone spur, which I discovered is the result of wrong walking. The occupational therapist is getting her to pick her feet up off the floor, and encouraging her to exercise to strengthen her muscles!
It's never too late.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Joy speaks of patience, and a book, Compassion, by Henry Nowen, who says, in the last chapter on patience,
"Patience means to enter actively into the thick of life and to fully bear the suffering within and around us. Patience is the capacity to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell as fully as possible the inner and outer events of our lives."
Joy says, "I hate being patient because it makes me feel powerless and trapped. Or when someone tells me to be patient I just want to slap them in the face because it seems like an answer you give someone when you want them to feel better or you have nothing else to say. Also, I really do enjoy instant gratification...even though I know that long-term stuff is usually better."
(I love Joy's honest writing and anticipate a book or two or three from her. I was her first editor many years ago when she was 13 and wrote a book.)
Later, she says, "...redefining patience in this way changes it from a virtue some people have and others don't into a discipline everyone can work for."
Ah, discipline. Over the years I have apologized to mom many times for losing my patience. One time she said, "Oh honey, you lose your patience, but you have been very patient."
The long-term stuff.
Like Joy, who in her blog says, "I'm a flee-er," I sometimes wish I could flee, that I didn't have the discipline so that instead of being here for mom I could be in Bamff, Canada for Christmas.
The trick is to recognize small ways to flee. There's nothing healthy about patience turned to martyrdom. With good boundaries, with a clear sense of my own priorities, that have somehow gotten lost in the ongoing drama, I can make it through this without attendant drama, guilt, and crisis. I pray that it is so.
Then it will be time for patience of another sort. Patience for what life continually brings, with or without centenarian mothers, who, when she is gone, I will miss.
To read more of Joy's writing, click on In Kairos in blogs I am following.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Finished "The Crying Tree," a book I would recommend. Great writing by Naseem Rakha, an award winning radio journalist, who wrote this book about murder, forgiveness, family secrets, capital punishment, redemption, pain. Doesn't sound like relaxing reading, but well worth the effort.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Doug, Scott, Nicole and Kevin embarked on what so many dream about: a family-run business. Each has contributed to making it a success. It has been so much fun to watch it come true for you.
Congratulations all of you. And thanks for a great wine!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
A wondrous November day. I was working in the garden! in my shirtsleeves. Wish I had a photo, but Ben was gone when I thought of it. I created a flower bed, built a rock border, and realized that my mind was at peace. It also occurred to me that it's really okay to be a gardener and not a professional woman in the work world, "contributing," and being "useful." I decided today that it was okay not to be involved in ministry, that there's nothing more useful to me or this planet, my husband, my son, (even though he's not here), my neighbors, and my mother, than to be working in the garden as much as possible.
Of course, winter is just around the corner, so not much more of this. But accomplishing this much in November was a thrill.
When Jared and I moved her 17 years ago, I was grateful to have a small plot of land over which I was the steward. Jared never got very excited about it because as an adolescent that is not where his attention was focused. His was music. And finishing school. And growing up. But I remember him helping plant fence posts, mowing, burning the tumbleweeds in the fall, shoveling snow. He was a big help.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Tonight we had the Community Garden Awards Banquet. That was after we did fall clean-up yesterday.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I saw Boston's skyline today from Hingham Harbor and the town of Hull, a spit of land jutting out south of Boston Harbor. Hingham Harbor is where my ancestors, John and Mary Porter, landed in 1635 to 1640, before heading north to the Salem area.
We spent two whirlwind days with Jacquie and Barry. We met them in Marblehead, Mass., at the site of Elizabeth Goudey's grave. It was a beautiful place, overlooking the ocean, Marblehead Bay and a rocky promontory. I envisioned Elizabeth, and husband George, arriving in 1735 from Ulster, Ireland. I'm not sure they were Irish, but perhaps English, who left England seeking more religious freedom. I don't know if that's true because they left 100 years after the first pilgrims. They were the first Goudey's in America on my line. Her beautiful headstone is made of a dark granite that seemed to hold the etchings from the 18th century much better than some of the 19th century.
Jacquie and Barry drove us around Marblehead and we had dinner at a pub. I had a rare low blood sugar attack, causing me to be a bit frantic. They were gracious and didn't act as if I was some kind of freak. The next day we went to Hingham Harbor and Scituate. Hingham is where John and Mary Porter arrived in 1635, the first Porters on our side in America.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Little more than half way on our trip. Drove up the South Coast of Nova Scotia on Saturday, seeing some beautiful fishing villages. We ate fish cakes and chutney at a tavern in Chester, and then drove through Halifax at night with a full moon above. We spent an hour trying to find the waterfront, just so I could say I saw it. I finally had to drive so Ben could navigate. We drove from there across the McDonald bridge. I tried to get Ben to take a photo of Halifax skyline over the water, but nothing doing. That's my job.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Made it to Yarmouth last night after a long day Monday traveling, a day in Bangor, Maine, visiting my old friend Surya (above). The two of us visited Fort Knox, in Maine, while Ben drove to Portland, Maine from Bangor to pick up a rental car. (Long Story). It was good to spend time with her alone, although the three of us had an equally great time together. We ate East Indian food the first night we were there, walked around town a bit, and sat at her table and drank tea. It was wonderful to see her after 17 years. We used to live next door to each other in Leucadia, California when her Isaac was a baby and Jared was about 8. I was a midwife at the time and helped with the birth of Isaac, who is no 21 (?) and living in Boston going to art school. We left Leucadia when Jared was nine to come to Washington. Shortly after that Surya and Isaac moved to Maine, where they have lived since then. I feel a deep connection with Surya, which I hope will last a lifetime.
The next morning we drove to St. John, New Brunswick, yesterday, took the Digby ferry to Digby, and then drove an hour and a half to Yarmouth. The trip over was exciting because it was when I got my first glimpse of Nova Scotia. I was driving the "boat," after a tour of the engine room and a trip up to the bridge. The first mate gave me brief instructions and took the ferry off auto-pilot and I steered toward the opening into the Digby Harbor.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
1. Stand in the squash/ pumpkin/potato patch.
2. Play your favorate boogie music very loud.
3. Stomp to the music for 15 minutes or until the last bug leaves.
4. Look to make sure that the neighbors haven't called the white suits.
This works, believe it or not. They may return after awhile but just repaeat the application until they get the message...
Friday, August 28, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
“Genealogy is interesting, but at my great age it gets confusing.” Sybil (Tyler) Sharp, age 100, August 22, 2009.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Those were the words of Arabella Hicks, protagonist in "The Fiction Class," a book I was reading in the waiting room at the Yakima Heart Center. Arabella was referring to her mother she visits each week in a nursing home. Arabella has a challenging relationship with her mother, but recognizes the love between them.
I was waiting for mom while she had an ultrasound to determine whether or not she had blood clots in her legs. The day before we were there to determine whether or not she was eligible for surgery to open up her arteries to increase blood flow to reduce swelling and pain.
Nothing life-prolonging, just comfort measures.
We discovered she does not need surgery, but should be wearing support hose, which she wore every day until a wound on her leg wouldn't heal. Her primary doctor had decided a vascular scan was important, which led to unnecessary speculation about the pros and cons of surgery for a 100-year-old woman and the advice to not wear her hose because of the vascular disease. We requested a consult with a specialist, thus the visit to the Heart Center to see a cardiologist.
The visit to the center the day before lasted two and a half hours, punctuated by brief visits, first from an intake nurse who mom couldn't hear, then a nurse who did a quick EKG, then a physician's assistant, who was in awe that mom was 100, and finally, the cardiologist who told her first about how Dick Cheney came to Yakima and the Secret Service interviewed him because he was on-call at the hospital at the time of Cheney's visit.
Mom interrupted him and said, "So, what about surgery?"
He first said, "I just want to say, 'it's an honor to meet you.'"
I sometimes feel like mom is a rock star and I'm her manager, orbiting around her little world, making sure everything goes as planned.
After he told us about the encounter with the secret service officer, who by the way, "was built like a fireplug," mom told him that a doctor once told her that she had "one of those hearts that would beat forever."
I thought, "really, I believe it."
The doc told her she didn't need surgery, but she did need to reduce the swelling in her legs and prescribed physical therapy at a lymphedema clinic (been there, done that, but here we go again). He also prescribed a medicine that he cautioned me about.
"If she gets confused, stop it immediately."
After I dropped mom off, I called my brother on my way to the store to buy a six-pack. I told him all about the visit and that the recommendation about surgery was off-course, that her problem was the lymphedema. I told him about the drug and we hung up.
A few minutes later I called back and said, "I forgot to tell you about the drug he prescribed for mom."
My brother said, "You mean the one that causes confusion."
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Beans. I don't really like beans all that much. String beans at Thanksgiving are great, with almond slices, just like mom used to make. But the rest of the year? Take them or leave them.
- Stake beans early. Ben came out this morning at my behest and made stakes to hold up the bushes. In another row we tied string to stakes and started training the vines. The bushes had already collapsed on each other and I was pulling beans out of tangled stems.
- Don't rely on the bush beans leaning against each other for support, and don't plant individual bean plants. They like company.
- Read the package.
- Don't plant carrots next to beans unless you wanted stunted carrots (that's my major lesson in this garden--three rows per bed next year, rather than four. I was greedy and suffering for it).
- Make sure you like beans before planting them.
- Make sure your gardening partner isn't on the beach in California at harvest.
- Give the beans away
- Feed them to the Mary's goats.
- Eat a few and make compost.
- Or, be a good friend and freeze Mary's beans for Thanksgiving dinner.