Brrrr…

 

DSCN3169 Brrr... websized

This was our view on Monday morning.

DSCN3172 websized

We were not prepared.

DSCN3171 unprepared, websized

Advertisements

Too much, too soon

IMAG1018_BURST002

We received a few inches of snow on Sunday. It seems like a cruel trade for that extra hour of sleep. I’m currently vehicle-less while the hardworking minivan is getting winter shoes put on her feet. For the fun of mixing metaphors, I suspect she’s waiting in a long line at the farrier today — we aren’t the only ones caught off-guard.

There will be no NaBloPoMo happening here. If they scheduled it for February, then I would have a decent chance of being able to participate, but work plus family in November is simply too busy.

I’ll try to post more later this week.

Glum

Leaf in Puddle 4x6, resized

Puddleglum is C.S. Lewis’ Eyeore.

After the rain 4x6

I’m trying hard to see beauty in the world today, but my heart is heavy and my mind finds it all rather futile. Fall is my favorite season, yet so far all I see is death and destruction… and the stubborn will of some to keep going despite the odds, to find beauty, to bloom where they are planted and to do so in adverse conditions.

4x6 garden rose, resized

Keep championing the cause for the downtrodden. Give hope to those who have no hope. The one who receives your encouragement might be struggling more than you know.

Even Eyeore and Puddleglum need a pep talk now and then.

October Surprise, square

MTM: The streak is over

How do you describe
the sound a raindrop makes
as it filters through the leaves
from the sky to thirsty ground
after 80 days without moisture?

The musical notes
of a babbling brook in the gutter
The percussion
on the roof (almost steady)
like the snare drums
of a 6th grade band

And the hollow emptiness
when those sounds slow to stillness
in the pre-dawn quiet
until all you hear
is the clock (tick, tock) calling
Autumn, Autumn

 

August

Charles Dickens could sum up the month of August in one phrase, but I owe you more than that.  For now, here is a summary of our most significant events…

Dh told me to cancel all commitments for a weekend and we escaped to the cool WA coast (high of 69 degrees) in the midst of a 100 degree week here at home. Cold ocean waters numb ankle pain and there is nothing quite like sitting in a beach chair, watching the waves and letting the wind whip your mind clear of stress and worries. Sometimes I wish I lived at the beach. There are photos to share in another post.
We paused to pick blueberries on the way home, and I regret that I did not pull out the camera. The bushes were laden with ripe berries and the hardest part was stopping when our bag was full, because there were so many more berries to be picked.

___________________________

Dh again told me to cancel all commitments on August 21st but not in so many words and not for an escape to the coast. That morning during the eclipse, he suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. He never hit his head, never blacked out, but sudden intense pain was not a good thing and even though he didn’t present typical stroke signs like you would see with a brain aneurysm,  he knew where he needed to go. If you ever suddenly find yourself with the worst headache of your entire life, get thee to the ER immediately! In his case, SuperDad had been exercising with a CrossFit maneuver — jumping rope with “double-unders” — and apparently tore a vein in his brain.  The brain bleed was diagnosed by CT scan at the ER, and the staff began making arrangements to transfer him to a neurological ICU; however, there were no open beds in this specialty in our area. Instead, we found ourselves on a Life Flight to Seattle and ten nights at Swedish Medical Center, with 8 of those nights in the Neuro Critical Care Unit. (Fun times. NOT.)  Honestly, I lost count of the number of CT scans, although I’m sure our insurance will be getting a detailed account for billing purposes.  Two angiograms. One MRI. Daily Doppler ultrasounds to track blood flow changes while on vasospasm watch.
When the high danger of repeated incidents passed, we were sent upstairs to a neuro floor (not ICU) for our 2 final nights of the 10-night stay. While there his medications were adjusted so he could go home (no more IV rescue meds for pain control). We were able to return home on the last day of August.

How anyone goes through such an event without incredible support from others — support in really tangible ways, like deliveries of food and clothing, toiletries and prescription medications for the caregiver (me); support in less tangible ways, such as prayer; the downright drudgery support in making sure pets at home are fed and watered, garbage and recycling cans dragged to the curb — I will never be able to understand how anyone possibly do well in recovery and healing without that support on many levels.  I didn’t even consider work, aside from letting people know what was happening; others took care of getting the job done in my absence. Family and friends ensured that we had what we needed, including the 5+ hour ride home. There was no way I was in any shape to drive, not withstanding the fact that we’d ridden in a small plane to Seattle ten days before.

At this point, the headaches have lessened as the blood has been moved away from the hemorrhage site. Thanks to efficient cerebral spinal fluid, his lower back, hips, and hamstrings are tight and painful (blood anywhere it shouldn’t be causes nerves to freak out) but this also tells us we are nearing the end of needing pain medications.  Once he’s off the pain meds, we hope the brain processing and vision issues clear up. (I had this experience while on strong pain medications a few years ago.)  His prognosis is very, very good. If you have to have blood in your brain, this was the very best option: no aneurysm, no clots, no visible damage via scans.

_______________________________

In other news, our PCT hiker is now in his final section of the trail (the penultimate section for those who have the time to go all the way to the end) and I expect to be able to pick him up next weekend. We saw H-J nearly every day while in the hospital; he is content with work while waiting for his final 2 classes to be offered in the spring. School started on Thursday when The Scout began his senior year (no first day photo because he was here and his parents were in Seattle at the hospital). His head still hurts after 14 months; he’s currently undergoing a series of acupuncture treatments.
Since it is fire season, our air is tinged (and sometimes filled) with smoke and the light is filtered through the haze.  I cannot see the hills in the distance this afternoon; we are enveloped in a white cloud of smoke.
I return to work tomorrow, although I may be splitting my time between the office and home (via my laptop). I’m grateful for that flexibility.

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.

MTM: The Heat Is On

If the weather app on my phone is to be believed, today’s and tomorrow’s respite of 82°F [28°C]  is a brief interlude. Electronic readerboards around town last Friday were showing 103 degrees (the actual temperature away from asphalt intersections was closer to 99°F) but I’ve seen 106°F  predicted for this coming Sunday. I’m hoping — really, REALLY hoping — that is a sensationalist number.

Meanwhile, I’ll have this song from Glenn Frey running through my head:

 

My Town Monday: March

It rains. And it rains. Soon, the weatherman tells us, the snow will be gone from our yards and gardens, slowly whittled away by pelting water that falls steadily from the bleak skies.

Spokane River in March, rain and melt

The river roils with energy, its power unleashed and clearly visible.

March River, strength and energy

The water pushes its way through town, tumbling toward the lower (but truly higher) falls where it hurtles over the edge and drops to a wider and more peaceful valley flow.

From above the falls, Spokane River

This is not the highest it has been in the past five years; there have been times when to stand on the suspension bridge meant getting soaked from the spray. However, more rain is expected over the next two days, with temperatures that will encourage continued snowmelt.

 

Downtown was quiet this afternoon compared to the noise of Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. We avoided the crowds and noise then (sorry, no parade pictures due to our 5th year of not going) but today SuperDad and I had a late lunch/early supper of corned beef sandwiches at the Irish pub. The taste was so rich and flavorful that I had to close my eyes and focus on each bite. As I write this, four hours have passed and I’m still smiling — this is what good food can do to a person.

The view across the street from the restaurant, however, is different story.

farewell to the old carrosel building

I’m not smiling over this scene, despite it being positive progress; this structure that was erected for Expo ’74 — and has housed the 1909 Looff Carrousel since 1975 — is being dismantled, torn down after 42 years. The carrousel itself, with its band organ and wonderful painted horses and other animals, is safely in storage (and/or being restored) during the time needed to take down the old building and put up a new one. The park feels achingly empty without the carrousel. I’ll have to wait another year to have that space filled once again.

MTM: Exhibit at the Brewery

1475880014812You could call it “stepping out in fear and trepidation” or you could call it “making the leap”  — or any of a number of other phrases — but last fall I committed to being the artist of the month at my favorite local brewery.

After much thought and procrastination, I chose the photos that I wanted to display and then had them printed and matted. A few were from (or will be on) the walls of my own home.  All of them are for sale.

DSCN3048 Websized, Multnomah Tree

This picture of trees in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon (above) normally hangs on my living room wall. It was the only one that I had already shelled out money for — the rest of them (twenty-nine 8×10 prints, plus some larger pieces on canvas or metal) were paid for over the past two months in the hopes of recouping at least some of the cost in sales.

DSCN3041 WEBSIZED, clothesline, pink floral

These photos of my artwork were taken prior to adding labels with the title and price of each piece.

DSCN3046 Websizedm bird house, hummingbird wings

For the 8×10 photographs, I had them printed at a local shop on metallic paper and then a local gallery matted them and added hanging hardware on the back.  I’m really thrilled with the results!

DSCN3049 Websized, Palouse Barn and grain display

I spent 4 hours hanging out at the brewery on Friday evening. Two friends from Canada drove down to surprise me, and my good friend ~A~ stopped by for an hour after work.

DSCN1659 websized, first Friday at Bellwether

I’ll be popping in to visit off and on all month. While I hope to sell at least a few pieces, it’s exciting to just see my photographs hanging in a public space.

________________________________________________

Your turn:  What’s something you’ve done lately to step out of your comfort zone?

 

 

A visit from Little Foot

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

dscn1641-watching-the-snow-4x6-webshare

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.

laughing-at-silly-uncle-webshare

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.

dscn1617-reading-4x6-webshare

dscn1597-links-4x6-horizontal-webshare

dscn1606-prince-webshare-4x6

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

dscn1584-little-foot-webshare

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.”

dscn1647-reading-books-4x6-webshare

dscn1651-oma-why-do-you-only-have-a-tiny-bit-of-sparkle-on-your-toenail

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

dscn1626-napping-4x6-webshare

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?

morning-nap-webshare

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.