About Karen (formerly kcinnova)

I'm a 50-something former SAHM of four now-adult kids, happily married for 34 years. For 21 of those years, dh was a soldier in the US Army. Together we've lived in 4 states and traveled all over the US and part of Europe. Now that my husband is retired, we are in a new chapter of life: he is the one preparing supper and for 5 years I worked part-time as a church administrator. After breaking my ankle to smithereens, it became too difficult to keep my feet on the floor all day; I retired in 2018. I enjoy photography, writing, crafting, hiking, camping and --most of all-- time with my incredible family. "Girl time" with friends keeps me sane. Jesus keeps me grounded.

Turn off the TV — Teri Carter’s Library

The noise is so loud. The raging, angry voices hurt hearts and lives.

Grandma Ann and Grandpa Red When I was little, Grandpa Red got addicted to CBS soaps because CBS was the only channel that came in without static. He would park himself in front of the old Magnavox, with its tin-foiled rabbit ears, and watch The Young and The Restless, As the World Turns and The […]

Turn off the TV — Teri Carter’s Library

Pre-Easter Tidbits

It’s spring, which means there are snow flurries happening during Holy Week and I’m currently roasting a turkey.
What? You don’t have turkey dinner on the Monday of Holy Week? Why not?!

Yesterday was my uncle’s birthday, and today is SuperDad’s uncle’s birthday. At 78 and 88, respectively, they are our oldest living blood relatives for each side of the family.
Their birthday cards remain unsent because, while I do make cards, I seem to have trouble actually sending them. And yes, I need to rectify that ASAP.

This is the first year I can remember being truly relaxed during Holy Week without being away on a trip. For many years I sang in a choir and for five of those years, I also worked in a church office, so it was especially busy with multiple worship services and rehearsals. Some years, I would feel guilty for missing those services and rehearsals (small churches need every body) because we would be traveling to or from visiting my dad, but I’m glad we had those times since he has been gone for over 3 years now. Then the pandemic hit and we were locked down at home. Last year we listened to the Easter Sunday service while driving on our annual spring trip. But this year we are home and the only responsibilities I have on Easter morning is bringing a breakfast egg & potato bake and ringing 3 handbells; it feels like very light service compared to years past.

And yet… I overscheduled my Tuesday (tomorrow) with multiple events: lunch meet-up and walk with Side-by-Side, a dentist appointment, dinner with Side-by-Side home groups, and then handbell rehearsal before the end of the dinner group. Except for the teeth cleaning, those things are all enjoyable, but it’s a bit more than I can handle in 8 hours with a smile on my face.
It wouldn’t be too much for a normal, healthy person but I am abby-normal and cannot be upright for more than a few hours at a time without paying the price in pain. Luckily, Wednesday has less happening before Holy Week heats up with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.**

**Our pastor pointed out yesterday that Christians have weird names for things. While the Good Friday/Tenebrae service is a favorite for some of us, it’s also rather dark and depressing; however, it makes Easter Sunday that much brighter and joyful.

UPDATE: February 2022

My beautiful blue bottle bush

I’ve started multiple drafts over the past year but only a few have been published. Video might have killed the radio star, but social media sites like FB and IG have really dealt blogging a major blow.

There are plenty of updates I could give, like how last summer my youngest adult child came out to her immediate family as a transgender woman and how we shared that — with her permission, of course, and when she was ready — with her grandparents and later to the extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins — and how she chose to become publicly known as herself. In my old blogging days, when she was a child, I probably would have documented some of that here, albeit with her permission. But that’s not exactly my story to tell, especially now that she’s a 22yo adult. I am putting it in writing here because there has been enough time for the people in her life to digest this new information from her, and I’ve been waiting to let the rest of you know that this Mama Bear has a beautiful daughter. The wistful half-smile of my youngest child is now a beaming grin, and that has been the biggest change of all. Yes, she still has struggles that come from post concussion syndrome after more than five-and-a-half years, but the stress she was carrying by not being who she really was — that stress has been lifted. She is so much happier now, and I am grateful.

If you want to understand more about how to support LGBTQ+ young people, please check out The Trevor Project. If you have questions for me after you’ve visited that link and read the guide, please ask them respectfully.

Global Pain

Dying sea stars, August 2014, Cannon Beach, Oregon

I remember seeing starfish on the Oregon coast, splayed in amoeba-like positions, looking like they were attempting to climb out of their tidepools. Docents on that beach explained to scattered groups of people that large numbers of starfish were dying and no one seemed to know why. Climate change and the warming ocean was one theory.

Wildfire smoke is in the air, its acrid scent assaulting nostrils and at-risk lungs. It’s our fifth season now, following autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Being outside means breathing dangerous particulates into our lungs, yet being outside is a safer way of spending time with people during a pandemic.

It’s too hot to sleep at night. Summers were not this hot, not for this long, twenty years ago. We use machines to cool the air, but the noise of the fans competes with the noise of the thoughts in my head. All of those noises – the literal and the metaphorical – keep me from sleeping.  

Covid-19 rages on. People already divided by politics are divided even more by personal feelings about disease management, risk tolerance, and public health measures during a pandemic. Families are being torn apart by death and lack of civility.

Several times each week this summer, I read the words “water rescue” combined with the name of a landmark in my city. There are increasing numbers of people climbing onto the thick cement walls of the bridge, desperate to escape the pain in their lives.

Nearly twenty years ago, two airplanes crashed into twin towers in New York City, and desperate people jumped to escape the Dante-esque inferno. My brain cannot erase the horrific images of individual people falling to their death.

A plane takes off from an airfield in Afghanistan, desperate people running alongside — some clinging to the outside edges of the giant machine. My brain cannot erase the horrific images of individual people falling to their death.

Living Life Ruled by a FULF

Today marks 19 months since I underwent ankle fusion surgery, a procedure that is supposed to bring 8-20 years of relief for most people.

I am not most people.

My FULF* is an overachiever, proven by the 6-month post-surgery X-ray where additional traumatic arthritis was already visible. The surgeon was very surprised to see it. That was 13 months ago.

I wasn’t expecting a miracle. I had decided that if I had a 50% reduction in pain I would be happy, and I did get that 50%. Score! Unfortunately, the pain level has been creeping back up. The doctor told me to not wait as long to come in for help because it had been so bad last time. But at what point to I go in again? When I can no longer sleep at night because of pain? That’s what I did two years ago, because there is the rest of the family to think about, especially my husband (a.k.a., my live-in nurse) and any travel plans. The surgery itself takes significant recovery time — last time was around 11 weeks non-weightbearing, after which I used crutches and slowly added percentages of weight on that foot. There was a lot of time spent lying in bed with my foot in the air, trying to keep swelling down to allow the incision to heal. The scarring isn’t pretty and more surgery means even more scarring.

*FULF is a term coined by a blog friend who also has struggled with a “flubbed up left foot.”
It’s more than just my left ankle and the traumatic arthritis brought on by the trimalleolar fracture of November 2015, although the ankle and resulting surgeries is the worst of it all. FULF encompasses everything that has been dealt with over the past 10+ years and I’m grateful to Barb for the easy moniker.

Welcome 2021

I admit there is relief in sending 2020 off in smoke last night.

It’s not that our family has had a terrible year; we’ve all remained healthy, those who have work have been able to work. At the same time, the isolation grows both too comfortable and irritating. Living with introverts during this time is fairly peaceful. They are content. I’m learning to be content in this new world and, I suppose, learning how to be an introvert. But I hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is real, that a year from now we will be spending time with friends and extended family, attending worship services in person, planning vacations, fully immunized.

It’s 2020 in America, but maybe it’s really 1961.

As I was reading the news over the weekend and into the beginning of this week, I couldn’t help but recall our visit to Alabama last year. We spent several days in Montgomery and one day in Birmingham visiting civil rights museums, monuments, and memorials. When I read about and saw the video clips of the Biden-Harris campaign bus being surrounded on the highway in Texas, forced to slow down to 20 mph, my mind went to the Freedom Riders bus that was attacked by similar means.

The Greyhound bus on exhibit
photo of burned-out Greyhound bus

Of course, the Biden-Harris campaign bus did not meet this kind of ending. They were able to call 911 for help. However, the lack of law enforcement on Highway 35 is telling. This wasn’t West Texas (miles of nothingness); this happened on a busy stretch of highway. The parade of Trump supporters, with their vitriol and hatred of anyone not just like themselves, reminds me of other parades.

Civil Rights for everyone offend some people

It’s 2020 in America. I’m trying to hold onto the hope that we can be better and do better, but this past week has me hanging by the tips of my fingers. I cannot understand why so many of my fellow Americans voted for hatred, disrespect, and cruelty.

4 more years of this? — Teri Carter’s Library

___________________________________ In the final days of presidential campaigns, it is American tradition to ask, Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago? This year, how about we add a few: Are you happier than you were 4 years ago? Sleeping well? Getting along with your neighbors? Confident in the health of your […]

4 more years of this? — Teri Carter’s Library

Teri Carter asks excellent questions. I hope you read her post.

Saying Goodbye with Grace

On Sunday afternoon, we gathered in a circle outside his house — not arm in arm, but masked and standing apart — to pray and sing one of his favorite hymns. Tonight, our friend and Pastor Emeritus is in a hospice house.

He was still downhill skiing at 85 when he retired for the second time. This summer, at 87, he was still riding his bicycle, and three weeks ago he was driving his car around town. Just 10 days ago he was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.

I’m grateful he is not suffering a long illness, and I’m grateful his family could gather and surround him and one another with love over the past week. It won’t be long now until he meets his best friend, Jesus, face to face. He is ready.