Tag Archives: NaNoPoblano

They also serve…

Note: I started this post on Veteran’s Day, but struggled with it.

I always think about Grandma when I see veteran’s memorials…

In her later life Grandma always sold poppies, until she couldn’t drive any longer (due to the diabetic ulcers mentioned in Carpe Diem).

She was a die-hard VFW Ladies Auxiliary member. She ran her local group with an iron hand from the secretary-treasurer position that she held for probably about 20 years. I still have several photo albums and a rules book somewhere in the garage. It’s hard to know what to do with them.

Within the VFW her particular cause was disabled veterans. She put on many a spaghetti dinner to raise money to help them.

Continue reading They also serve…

The waiting is the hardest part

I am a rather intense person. I like to focus in and do things from beginning to end, and I really like to have a final product. Elder care does not lead to that.

When I realized how much of my life was being there for people, I knew I needed to have something other than “fixing things” or I would either go insane, get very mean, or both. Also, it is very hard to live a depression-free life when anything you want to do is less important than a dog sniffing a light pole.

I decided that I was not going to wait for grandma to die to live my own life. I didn’t want to poison our relationship with that sense of waiting. I did a few things that I really think helped me.

Continue reading The waiting is the hardest part

The Final Countdown

There is a group called “cheer peppers” that has a challenge called “Nano Poblano”. I never did figure out what the Chemistry formula-like acronym stood for, but the challenge is to post every day in November. I know that some people post everyday and don’t think anything of it, but for me it is difficult.

I am a disorganized rebel who likes to do things start to finish. The idea of posting everyday for a month was intimidating. For some reason I was intrigued, especially after reading this article: Why Blog Every Day in November? I had a backlog of thoughts and images from my travels this fall so I thought “maybe I can do this”. Since I am a bit superstitious I didn’t say anything about the goal publicly and I didn’t do any of the signing up, because I really didn’t think I could do it.

Good thing since I didn’t quite pull it off: I missed three days. Of those two were because I did not have internet access for my PC over Thanksgiving and I haven’t figured out the smartphone app, the third was because I lost momentum. However, With this post I have published 30 posts in the month of November. I am a little proud because the month included my grandma taking a fall and spending a bunch of time at the hospital and nursing home (more of that to come).

I learned some useful things: one was how to schedule a post in advance. I was planning to use that to get through the holiday week without a hitch, but Grandma’s fall meant that I didn’t have time to set that up.

One other thing I did was to explore and create a list of several challenges that I can use to figure out what to post. I call it my “Post  It Notes“. It contains links to the websites with the challenges. I print it out each week and use it to track themes and make notes so I can see how I am doing. A cool thing about these challenges is to see what other people are doing with the same theme and connect with them. I don’t always use one of them but they are great if I am stuck for an idea. I am really grateful to the creative people who create and maintain these challenges. The cyber world is a much more friendly place because of them.

One thing I missed this month:  I have had less time to read other peoples blogs. Because of this I don’t plan to continue to post everyday, but using my “Post-It Notes” and scheduling I can do much better than I was doing before Nano Poblano.  Thank you, Cheer Peppers!


Himeji-jo Windows


Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Any geometric shape reminded me of a picture I took a long time ago in a place far, far away. The clean geometry of the cutouts in this wall at Himeji castle caught my fancy: they look so modern but are ancient. The cut outs are arrow “slits”.

It took me a while to locate it, these pictures were taken back in 2005, but they are in many ways timeless.



What is the correct opposite of Vigor? Lethargy?

For me it is slogging through the mud. Moving along, but without a spring in my step.

The mud this week is DSHS paperwork for grandma, walking her dogs, trying to get a Christmas package off to my son in China, and trying to get all the sh..tuff that got dumped in my living room put away. The stuff is due to hospital runs, Thanksgiving at Dad’s, and life in general; I (we) get home tired and dump stuff down. I can never work up a sense of vim, vigor and vitality for dealing with this stuff.

In the midst of this past week of insanity, a friend sent me a note that was essentially a sermon about endurance. I think the point of the missive was to remonstrate me for leaving the parish I had attended and participated in with vigor for about 25 years. The problem was, and still is, that the place sucks the life out of me. Everything one gave was met with “give more”, sometimes they said “thank you” first, but mostly not. Most people recognize others efforts with a litany of reasons why they couldn’t spend 8 hours on a Saturday working on the grounds, giving or attending a class, planning an event…Some of those same people had no qualms about adding big, new projects; claiming that they would inspire people to be more involved…they never did. I love many of the people there, but now only go for funerals. When I walk through the door it still feels like a huge weight drops down onto my shoulders. The place will, or maybe won’t, muddle along as it has always done, and no amount of energy on the part of one person is going to make a difference. I don’t need that. Sorry, Dick.

I do have endurance, probably to a fault, but what I need in my life is some vigor, a spark of inspiration, hope for the future. It is hard to see that right now in the day-to-day. Even Christmas feels like one more thing to deal with. Fortunately we have what I expect to be  a supercallifragilistic (spelling? my spell checker doesn’t know this word) vacation planned for January. To get myself going this morning I started to pack.

How do you cope when life is dragging on you?

Puppy Love

It has been a stressful week. Grandma’s dogs, however, are resting easy knowing that they are so cute they will be well cared for. We took them in to visit her last Friday. As always they spread cheer among all who saw them.

Every time she has been in a skilled nursing facility (this is the third different facility she has been in) they have allowed pets to visit. It is pretty cool that places recognize the value of wagging tails and puppy dog kisses.

Just FYI: we don’t allow dogs on the couch…Richard caved first. A little puppy love and his heart melted.

Yesterday’s Post-Calm After the Storm

Thanksgiving was stormy. Yesterday dawned clear and gentle and a little lazy.

A lovely pause after the storm, and the busy rushes of being present for my grandmother after her fall and feast preparations.

A walk on the beach before someone had to drag the branch  off of the driveway so I could get out…what luxury it would have been to be stuck in that peaceful morning! I’ve never had Paris, but at least I had Vashon.

There is snow on the Olympics that wasn’t there before:


Winter peace to all.

Liminal Conversations

I’m not sure why but I always seem to have my longest conversations over a doorway. Usually as I leave. I know this bugs some people, but others are like me.

I did not used to know Liminal meant. I first heard it in a sermon by Marilyn Cornwell (currently she is rector at Ascension Parish in Seattle). It was about embracing the time and space between. I don’t remember the details but the word and general concept have stayed with me.

Some people are movers and some are settlers. Movers choose change and are more comfortable with doorways than settlers. I tend to be a settler. That means I usually wind up with transitions thrust upon me instead of choosing to move on on my own. Those long conversations might be a way to prolong the settled feeling. They might be because there are only things you can say when a relationship has ended. They might be because the doorway itself triggers ideas that the room doesn’t.

Are you a long goodbye-er? Do you think it is because you like to settle-in?


The main way I use the word Elicit is in the phrase “elicit a response”. I wonder why that is. It’s a pretty good word. I should probably try to use it more.

I’ve had a bunch of responses elicited these past few days. Medical emergencies do that to a person. Panic, general stress, relief, frustration, relief, did I mention general stress?

The uncertainty about the future is the hardest part. I like to solve problems. But some things can’t just be “fixed”. Healing takes time and effort. All I can do is to stand by and encourage…did I mention frustration?