Sunday, April 27, 2014

Still a Chill

Some of the trees are beginning to bud but it is still pretty chilly here, going down into the 30s.   Oh well, I don't have any warm weather clothing ready anyway.   And I still have my winter weight to lose before I want to show even the littlest bit more body.

At the suggestion of a friend, I read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer and World War Z last week.   Not my usual reading choices, but kind of fun.  Now I am reading Guns, Germs and Steel.   It's kind of fun to let other people direct my reading list instead of having to find things on my own.   Sort of like taking a class.   A pretty odd class, but still fun.

I went on the air last week (the 40 meter band) with my second attempt at Morse Code.  I was a disaster.   Terrible terrible terrible.  I had a heavy hand and made countless errors.   I was nervous the whole time and can't say I took any joy out of my second attempt at ditty bopping.   And yet I survived, and even had a pitiful little conversation with a polite 82 year old man (who also had a pretty heavy hand, unless he was just mocking me!)   Still, I'm no less nervous than before.   I find myself thinking that I should just give up, but the idea makes me sad.  Learning Morse Code has taken on symbolic meaning for me, although I'm not sure exactly what it represents.   I only know that I have to force myself to do it, but I will be sad if I let myself quit.

Friday I went shooting with a couple of friends, my first time to shoot outdoors.   We shot 9mm and I didn't do well, but did better than I thought I would.   Saturday I took a search and rescue management class.  Then the Grands stayed overnight at my house.   Junk food, DVDs, playing school and building fairy houses.    We had a lot of fun.    But I am exhausted.  Next week I am going to a three-day FEMA seminar that I'm nervous I'll flunk.  But the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and I have nothing to complain about.      I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Life is Good.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Loving to the End

She was almost 90 years old, and she didn't remember much of anything very well. She spent hours making “phone calls” on the television remote, talking happily to no one. But she remembered her boyfriend Bill, and missed him whenever he had to be away. He was about the same age as she, and toothless, but they found each other beautiful. He came to visit her at our hospice residence as often as he could, and they sat for hours holding hands and telling us all how lucky they were to have each other. Confused though she often was, some days she would look at me with clear eyes and tell me that she had never been happier.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Springing Forward

The temperatures are still below freezing most nights but it was almost 70 degrees yesterday, which made the piles of snow infinitely more bearable!  

The deer are grazing further back from the road now, but not yet staying in the woods where it is still slushy.    

My crocuses sprang up yesterday in what seemed like minutes.   I came home to pick something up yesterday and there weren't any.   Spent ten minutes in the house and when I left again, I had a dozen flowers.    Most of them are gone today, eaten, I think, by the bunny mob that gathers here.

My grief group made the cutest project this week, and I love to watch how crafting takes their minds away from their sorrow, if even for a little while.    My mother used to say that busy hands are happy hands, and there's some truth to that.
I went shooting with a friend yesterday, which always make for a fun day - we work different schedules and shoot together when we can, but not all that often.   He just got a new gun and his wife has no interest in shooting, and he wanted to show it off so I was a perfect fit.    One of those wonderful situations, where I am good friends with both people in the couple, but I generally spend time with them as individuals and not as a couple.   So I had lunch with his wife and later spent the afternoon with him.    Once again, I got some great photos of the 'flash' from his gun.  
 He tried and tried to do the same for me, and we finally decided that my longer barrel just makes my flash less visible.   At least that's my public position.   Actually, I think I just got better photos!   I shot a little better than I do with my usual shooting buddy, but shot much better when I was alone than when he was with me -- performance anxiety?    He says he thinks I overthink it when I'm competing, so that's something to think about. 
I walked every day this week!!    Hold your applause, it isn't exactly a habit yet, and still hard to get myself to do it.    I've set the most minimum sissy goal, too.   I tell myself I only have to walk one mile, or if I have a few extra minutes, half an hour.   The big incentive is that my search and rescue group has set a new requirement that we be able to walk a mile, with full pack, in 20 minutes.   I am not sure I'll be able to do it, because it takes me about 17 1/2 minutes to walk my daily mile without  pack.   And really, I don't much care, because we can also just get a doctor's note and I know I can do that.    But I am trying to keep my eye on the big picture, my own improved health, and this goal at least sets a standard to aim for.

She's not fat, she's fluffy

 This story may not be politically correct but it is true. He was only 40 when he was told that there was no cure, and he was worried about his mom, because his older brother had died a few months earlier and his dad was terminally ill. He told her that he would go to a hospice residence because he refused to burden her with his care. But, he told her, don't write me off just yet. I intend to live as long as I can, and it's not over until the fat lady sings. At our hospice residence, he was an interesting guy, and the staff got to know him, and of his love for music and books. He and his mom visited together every day and they laughed about his “fat lady plan” a lot, with that grim laughter that sometimes comes with terminal illness. In fact, they decided that at his funeral, when the day came, she would play “His eye is on the sparrow” by a particular favorite singer, whom they thought of as “the fat lady.” One night, as he was growing weaker, he asked his mom if she thought it could be almost time for him to go and she told him yes, she loved him and would miss him, but she understood and would be okay. His mom left for a little bit and when she came back, one of the aides told her that she didn't know why, but she had felt led, almost compelled, to stop by his room and sing “The eye is on the sparrow” for him. He went to sleep then and never woke up. And yes, the aide who came in to sing . . .  . well, not one of us would have said so, but she would have readily admitted that she pretty much fit the description.