Saturday, November 21, 2009

Never too late.

When I went to visit mom on Wednesday she was sitting on the couch. Suddenly she became animated and said, "Oh, I have something to show you." She began wadding up her lap blanket. I was a little skeptical, thinking, okay, mom is having a senior senior moment.
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

Patience is a virtue, or something like that

In her blog, In Kairos, Joy McCracken spoke to my heart today. Joy is in Africa, learning about herself and passing it on to others, as well as simply sharing the adventures of four months in Uganda going to school.
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

The giving garden just keeps giving. Today I "harvested" seeds out of five pumpkins that I had set out for harvest decorations. I got two trays of seeds that I will dry for 24 hours before roasting them with oil and salt.

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

Release party for Southard Winery

Tonight we attended the opening of the Southard Winery. Below is a photo of their vineyard. Because I have walked by their property for years, it has been a treat to see their acreage transformed into a producing vineyard and winery. I wrote a story about the winery in 2007, a year before their first harvest in 2008.  And then I was able to participate in that first harvest which produced the grapes for the great Riesling wine we purchased tonight.

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

My neighbor's vineyard, post-harvest, and their beautiful Maple Tree

My contribution: a new flower bed

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.

A plot of land to steward

It never occurred to me when I used to grow gardens that it was a year-round task. You plant a garden. You harvest. End of story. Not so. Except here in Central Washington where the ground freezes in the winter, there's always something to do. Even then, when I'm sitting by the woodstove, there's the envisioning of next year's garden, looking at seed catalogs, and dreaming with the other community gardeners what we are going to eat come June.  By March, only four months away, we'll be able to plant seeds inside (if we are so inclined, which I have never been.)
In the meantime, I spent an hour in the garden yesterday cleaning out some of the dirt/grass clods that didn't get tilled and we had piled to the side of the garden. They are annoying, to say the least, and I will have to add dirt back into the area where I am removing the clods....taking a lot of dirt with them.
Then, I'll plant a border for flowers, a haven for the beneficial insects I'm just sure will want to hang out in our garden.
I'm thinking more about the flowers than I am the vegetables at this point because in a way they are just as important--not only for the aesthetics, but a home for insects. It's the same for big farmers. I've read that some farmers are beginning to understand the importance of bordering their large acreages with trees, shrubs, plants and flowers to harbor the beneficials, which seems odd considering how much spraying that takes place. What good is a border to harbor insects, if you just kill them?
Anyway, no spraying in our little plot of ground.
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.