MTM: Forever Winter

It snows and thaws,
snows and thaws,
snows and thaws.
DSCN3905 cropped


Like Paris, only different

My go-to website for news is the BBC [dot com] and I’ve been following the flooding in Paris with a mix of horror and fascination. Whenever the Seine River floods, I worry over L’Orangerie and Monet’s Water Lilies in the round being swamped.

Tonight there is a warm wind blowing and when The Scout returned from a walk, he said it felt like mid-March. The wind arrived with plenty of rain to swell our river, although being “still January” and normally cold with a decent snowpack on the mountains, we don’t have to worry about flooding here… yet.

Photo of mural taken on a sunny fall day last year.


Women’s March 2.0

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My friend ~A~ and I marched this afternoon.  Our city had its march on Sunday, on the one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March. There were people of all ages, families spanning generations, males and females.  There were strollers and walkers and wheelchairs.

Since we were lucky enough to be near the front of the parade of marchers, we were able to station ourselves near the end and take photos after we were finished marching.  I was lucky enough to have such a good friend who made my sign for me; I gave her the words and she took care of the artistic part.

I didn’t march last year; I’d scheduled that day to visit our grandson. This year, we’d just seen them 2 weeks ago and it was past time for me to put my body and voice where I might be seen and heard because silence is not golden.  Love trumps hate, and I choose to persistantly stand on the side of love.

My feet hurt tonight but it was worth it.


MTM: Tracking Autumn Views

On my way to work one day last month, I was stunned by the view of fall foliage looking toward downtown.

DSCN3455 Spokane vista in autumn, north hill looking toward downtown
DSCN3460 NettletonI knew immediately where I would go the next chance I had a few free hours with my camera — and then I cleared my schedule for the next afternoon.

There are a few places around town that still have streetcar tracks visible.  This part of the West Central Neighborhood includes Doyle’s Ice Cream Parlor which I’ve blogged about before. It’s been 28 years since I lived in this neighborhood but I remembered the amazing canopy of leaves and the streetcar tracks.

DSCN3461 overcast, websizedThe sun was alternately shining through and obscured by the clouds.

DSCN3463 sunny, websized

I had to drive in circles for a while, but I found what I was looking for — before the incoming storm brought wind and rain enough to bring down the leaves.

DSCN3469 West Central streetcar tracks







DSCN3169 Brrr... websized

This was our view on Monday morning.

DSCN3172 websized

We were not prepared.

DSCN3171 unprepared, websized


Too much, too soon


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.



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




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.