Manic Monday

Another Monday, another brief message from the barefoot backpacker — this one to tell me he’d made it to Crater Lake and “I have more that needs to be said than can be said in a voice mail so… I’ll call you back.” That his voicemail message two three hours ago… from a pay phone that doesn’t take incoming calls. My stomach is in knots.  I think I just sprouted a dozen new gray hairs.  This particular son is the cause of more than a few worries over the years.
It doesn’t help that I’ve been awake for the past 37 hours.
Did you know it gets light here at 4:30 AM?

So… how about some good news! Well, the heat wave has subsided and it’s been downright pleasant outside — a little too warm, because it is summer, but it’s cooling down at night again and that makes all the difference.  The Scout has assured me that his paperwork for Eagle rank has all been turned in.

Speaking of scouts, I spent 4 hours driving out to summer camp and back home again last night because SuperDad had inadvertently left several Very Important Items in the back of his car… in our garage. BFF rode out with me and got to see their campsite and the upper portion of the camp, and the scouts explained what they would be doing for the week. Possibly more importantly, we got to use the toilets at the beginning of the week instead of at the end of the week.*   And most impressive of all, we saw an adult female moose just before we reached the camp. Sadly, there is no photo proof because we didn’t have a camera with us.  And before you ask why I didn’t snap a picture on my cell phone, #1- I was driving, and #2- I accidentally left it charging on the table at home. We were supposed to be back at home being outdoorsy on the patio, but I was interrupted 5 sips into a nice cool lime-and-agave beverage.

To summarize: no moose picture, a rather different sort of outdoorsy experience for several of us, and no details on the barefoot PCT hiker (although we do have indication that he is alive and somehow ahead of schedule).  The northern lights were supposedly visible last night but it’s too light here in the city to see them, and I’m going to head to bed and pray for sleep — with the phone next to me, volume set to stun.

How is your summer going?

*I’m full of strange fun for her: as a birthday gift, I took her to an alpaca ranch — and now she’s had the experience of visiting a Boy Scout camp.

Your long-overdue update, or: “At least I’m not 241 years old.”

This evening marks exactly one year since my youngest son fell 23 feet out of a tree and landed on his back. He still suffers from post concussion syndrome, with an inability to focus and function for very long — or sometimes at all — and the same headache he’s had since he fell is still present.  The Scout turns 18 and therefore will age out of scouting before the end of the month.  His Eagle Scout project was completed last summer; however, he has limited ability to work and there is much “paperwork” (computer work) still to be done to achieve the rank of Eagle.  He has already had so many disappointments over the past twelve months, so many things he’s had to give up and no end in sight with his PCS, that I really want this honor for him to carry forward for the rest of his life.  It would be a bright spot in his craptastic year.  His senior year of high school is yet to come.

Humorous-Juniorous had landed his dream job at one of the university laboratories a few months ago, only to lose it due to immaturity. Showing up on time, asking questions and communicating are important skills to learn. He’s now working at a cafe, because understandably he was not hired by another lab boss — and food, rent, and utilities still need to be paid for on a regular basis.  H-J is coming home this weekend for a short visit and a large extended family get-together, so at least we will get to see him for the first time since Christmas.

In answer to our consistent pestering about applying for a job, The Barefooter announced to us less than 2 weeks ago that he had decided to go hike the Pacific Crest Trail north from southern Oregon. His original plan was to leave last Thursday but then I reminded him of the aforementioned family get-together (based upon a wedding) so he’s now leaving on Sunday.  True to form, The Barefooter is not yet prepared for this venture but committed to going because once he gets an idea, he is tenacious.  I shake my head and bite my tongue often. He tells us that he’s taking 2 months to hike as far north as possible before getting off the trail on September 10th (the day before his 25th birthday) and then switching his studies from horticulture to firefighting.

IMAG0529_1The Engineer and The Author continue with their jobs and the fine work of parenting Little Foot, who is now one-and-a-half years old. SuperDad and I visited them a few weeks ago (I had him playing in the sprinkler and his clothes were drying on the deck when I took this picture) and they will be coming here this weekend for the wedding/extended family extravaganza.  I’ve already told Little Foot‘s mama that if they want to stay and dance after dinner, I’ll take this sweet boy home with me. Grandmothers with bum ankles do not do much dancing but they do enjoy playing and cuddling with babies. No doubt his uncle The Scout will also be ready to go home early.

If you had heard, yet doubted, that Pokémon GO is an exercise app, I can assure you that is correct information. Not only do I see and talk with folks who would otherwise be holed up indoors out in front of the building at work (our site is a Pokémon gym), I am married to a level 35 trainer. SuperDad continues to need additional calories to ensure that he does not lose weight from all of the exercise he gets running, biking, rollerblading, and more. He also does the majority of our shopping and food preparation; basically, SuperDad has been the glue holding us together.  And I need someone to hold me together these days. There’s an unquantifiable toll on a mother’s heart as she can do nothing but watch as her (17yo) baby suffers or her adult children make mistakes. It doesn’t help when the prescription for antidepressants runs out prior to a holiday weekend and the regular pharmacy claims they cannot get it. (In truth, someone higher up has chosen to not obtain it; Rite-Aid pharmacy has come to my rescue with the very medication I need although it requires additional hoops and jumping through them without medication helping my chemically-challenged brain is… well, challenging.) As for the ankle, nothing has changed: it swells with use and weather patterns. I try to exercise in the pool several days a week for strength and balance, and I adjust my activities to match my capabilities.  Some days that translates to sitting on the sofa with my feet up.

As I look back over my writing tonight, I note that it lacks cheeriness and for that I apologize. It’s hard to be cheerful without my usual dosage of antidepressants, especially when anxious over a few of the circumstances described above. The biblical mandate to be anxious for nothing and pray about everything doesn’t always get me through. Tomorrow should be better thanks to the “emergency” dispensation of 3 days worth of pills from the nice pharmacy up the road — enough to tide me over until they can speak with my doctor and get the renewed prescription into their files. And baby snuggles, which always improve my mood and general outlook on life, are a planned part of my weekend.

Happy birthday to the United States of America. May the temper-tantrum toddler days soon be behind us all.

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A visit from Little Foot

It is still winter here where the snow falls like powdered sugar.

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Little Foot arrived at our house on Saturday evening. His mama and daddy both caught the stomach bug he’d just gotten over, and Oma and Opa were happy to have him here so his parents could rest.

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The resident uncles pretend it’s not a big deal to have Little Foot here for a visit but given the opportunity, they are happy to interact with their nephew.

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It’s hard to focus the lens on a moving toddler!

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This boy is amazingly mellow. This is the first time he has spent extended hours in our house without his parents here with him. He has asked, “Mama, where you? Dada?” a few times. However, most of the time he is content to play. Opa’s meatloaf, Oma’s pumpkin pie, bananas and peanut butter toast have been the favorite foods for the past day, along with muffins and breakfast breads at church on Sunday morning. Green beans were decidedly “meh.”

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Oma, why is there only a tiny bit of sparkles on this toenail? 

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I’ve been taking advantage of his nap times to get some rest myself, even if it’s just reading a book. And really, who could resist just watching him sleep?

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This nap, however, is coming to an end. Time to get back down on the floor and play!

We’ll be heading home to his mama and daddy this afternoon. They are feeling better and I have work tomorrow.

 

 

MTM: Soggy

Rain has been a near-constant companion for the past week, helping to thaw two months worth of icy, dirty accumulations of snow.

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It’s not pretty — and not just because it is a cheap cell phone picture.

All that rain is also raising the level of the river, which has been running three times above normal at 16,000 ft. per second. I’d share a picture but this weather has also affected my ankle; the hardware (or maybe it’s arthritis?) does not let me get out-and-about easily when it is damp and cold.

We’re down to 8 inches of soggy snow in the front yard, although it’s much higher wherever the shovelfuls landed or the snowblower blew it. The dirty snow at the edges of the street is ugly, but it’s nowhere near the danger level of the many potholes that have become evident now that the streets are no longer covered with several inches of compact snow and ice. Commuting to and from my exercise class (and yes, I know that is a silly thing: driving in order to workout elsewhere) I’m one of many drivers zig-zagging in and out of the lanes to avoid becoming a pothole victim.

Days like this are good reminders to “unplug” so I went to the public library after church and returned home with a stack of books.

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The two items on top are DVDs about Ellis Island: one is an overview from the History Channel and the other is a PBS documentary about the hospital on Ellis Island. Three out of the five books are stories of immigrants. I may be unplugging for a bit, but I am not ignoring what is happening all around us.

MTM: Local Events

SuperDad trains all year for his favorite event, the Langlauf 10km Nordic skiing race on Mt. Spokane. In 2016 he took 3rd place in his age group, which only encouraged him to train harder. The extra training he did (some in thanks to Pokémon GO) paid off in yesterday’s race. Congratulations to the first place winner for his age group!

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This, of course, begs the question: will 2018 bring him more cowbell?

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too cool for sitting around the fire

Winter, however, is far from over. I snapped these two pictures prior to leaving for work on Thursday morning. The school district had to cancel classes and after school activities due to weather. The main roads were okay but we had received a fresh load of snow followed by a layer of ice and freezing rain.  It was the first day that The Scout felt up to going to class all week; he learned his lesson about checking his phone for messages after he got the the empty school parking lot.

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This is the kind of ICE we like best.

After church yesterday, I headed over to one of the university campuses here in town for a #RallyWithRefugees. The large room was filled to capacity and overflowed to other places where people could watch on screens, thanks to use of Facebook Live. The event had been pulled together with 3 different groups sponsoring it — Whitworth University, Gonzaga University, and the World Relief office — after the immigration fiasco at our nation’s airports. Those who attended were given the big picture of what is happening, the intimate look at what refugees go through to resettle here (the personal stories were eye-opening and inspiring), some details on how local officials are dealing with it here in Spokane, the legalities facing everyone (but especially refugees), and concrete suggestions on how we can help others. The event was worth every minute I spent there.

We had just finished hearing the story of one young woman’s quest for education when a city councilman got up to speak. He was showing his emotions not only because of the personal stories that were being shared but also because he’d just gotten word that ICE was currently doing sweeps downtown and that other city council members were hurrying to the main bus station and train station to question them. Having leadership in our city and state that support humane treatment of others is priceless.

The tactics used by the administration of POTUS45 are fear-based and education-deficient. So let’s combat those two issues (fear and a lack of education) with some information from the World Relief office:

“Under both international and U.S. law, a refugee is an individual who has fled his or her country of origin because of a credible fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, political opinion, national origin, or social group. This definition of a refugee does not include those who flee their homes but stay within the boundaries of their country (“Internally Displaced Persons”) nor does it include those who flee a situation of poverty, national disaster, or violence, unless the violence was specifically motivated by their race, religion, political opinion, or one of the other grounds under the legal definition.  The U.S. government admits individuals for resettlement within the United States only after a thorough individual screening abroad to ensure both that they meet the legal definition of a refugee and that they in no way pose a national security or health threat to the United States.”

The current screening process for all refugees involves many layers of security checks before entry into the country. In addition, only the most vulnerable are referred by the U.N. for refugee resettlement (less than 1 percent of refugees worldwide). For more, read this New York Times article.  It’s not a rapid scenario — vetting a refugee takes approximately 2 years with multiple background checks, interviews, and approval processes. Syrians go through additional layers of checks. Some people spend years waiting in refugee camps. They don’t have a home to which they can return.

As a person of faith, being concerned with how my country and fellow citizens treat others is not just a matter of personal opinion; the Bible is full of scriptures relating to how I am to respond to refugees and other migrating people, regardless of whether you read the New Testament or the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures. Even for those who do not profess faith, the Golden Rule makes is clear how we ought to respond to the crisis of refugees.

 

Riding into the Sunset

Two weeks ago we loaded up men and beast (and me) and drove several hours for a weekend celebration of my dear mother-in-law’s 80th birthday.

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I drive myself about our own city, but for trips beyond that I ride in the back seat with my foot elevated.

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This explains the presence of a rearview mirror and The Barefooter’s glasses.

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The photos here aren’t of great quality but the sunset sky was amazing that evening.

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Tomorrow my dh and I are taking a day trip to visit Little Foot and his parents. This Oma needs some baby hugs!

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Check out more Pink Saturday pictures at How Sweet the Sound.