Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Iris, Spring Everywhere

The title is a misquotation from an old Zen master, who said one flower blooming is spring everywhere. No need to abundance, just the token flower will do it. And sometimes that's what I have to hang on to.

The iris in the picture was a gift from a friend clearing up an old garden. She assured me it was a gladiolus, and that her sister said it was an iris but she was sure the sister was wrong! either way, it's beautiful, and very welcome. I have three little clumps of these which will spread and help with the plantings out front. The more perennials get happy there the easier is the gardening if you're not into spending hours and hours on it, as I am not. I like to have gardened, is about how it goes for me.

Technology almost finished me off this weekend, what with losing an entire picture collection on a flash drive when I tried to add to it, I have no idea what happened, and most of the pix still exist in another location anyway, but it was certainly annoying. And now I have lost all the separate titles for the pix, and every one in the collection is now named "complete collection" I hope that what we get in this entry is what I meant to put there. Otherwise it will be a puzzling little read.

Then I installed an external CD drive on the new netbook, and then installed the camera software, bloated with pride over this achievement, and I love, in case anyone's wondering, the ASUS EEE PC, but I seem not to be able to maneuver the picture software the way I could on the old slow Dell.

It insists on transferring the entire collection instead of the latest pix. There has to be a way around this, and it's just ignoring my commands to use only the newest group, open them in their own collection, etc., and HS offered to help, but this is a nice day for him to go to the shore, and I insisted he go, after peppering him with emails in varying tones of despair and exasperation!

I keep remembering this is supposed to be FUN, that it should ADD to my life, not shorten it....I have to keep on running out to look at the iris to remember that.

But anyone who follows Yarn Harlot's blog will know that my woes are as nothing to the woes of someone who tried to register a big knitterly convention on a giant new server, which crashed when 30,000 that is not a typo, knitters attempted to register all at once....her anguish was matched by theirs in full measure. At least I don't have 30,000 angry people around here! talk about drowning in your own success.

My success would barely fill a teaspoon at the moment, so drowning is not a likely fate. Unless I apply it to the hardware....nah, we'll fix this sooner or later.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Charlotte and Caretaking

Two things seem to have happened, two corners turned: One is that I actually started to feel the way you have to spin using a drop spindle, spun about eighteen inches of yarn, then put it away while I was ahead, figuring that a bit of practice each day will add up faster to expertise than one massive effort now and then.

This in fact was great advice given years and years ago by my first recorder teacher, the late beloved Jenny Lehmann, who said to us beginners "Play for no more than ten minutes each day, and you'll see. But don't wait till the night before class then play for two hours, it won't work!" so true.

So I'm applying this wisdom to my spinning life, and it really was nice there for a minute or two, actually not panicking over where the spindle was going or what was happening, and starting to feel the stuff in my hands with a life of its own.

The same idea, that you can do a heck of a lot in a few minutes also applies to jobs you don't like, such as organizing the medicine cabinet, or wiping the counters or other menial tasks that always seem to fall to you, sigh.

Anyway, the diagonal scarf picture, ha, gotcha, is NOT my product, at least I didn't spin it -- just my ambition! it's a scarf I made from many chunks of yarn left over from other projects, and done in very few minutes at a time. Still on hold is the lambswool yarn I harvested from thrift store sweaters, which is still waiting for its eventual destination. As I pointed out to a friend asking about this recently, I have been a bit busy for the last few months. And there's always the ambition to knit a nice little animal from my homespun, like the ones in the other picture.

Which brings me to the other corner: I finally managed to get transportation in a wheelchair van service arranged for HP so that when he eventually needs to get to a doctor's office, we can do it. Huge relief. Big piece in place. It's not urgent, but there's nothing quite so awful as knowing you simply can't do a thing to make it feel very urgent.

But that corner turned, a lot of other things are starting to feel a bit better. The workload is still huge, but I'm getting some help organized bit by bit. The agency finally managed to round up a very nice aide who came for a shift on Friday and damn nearly died of her allergies to our kitties. Nobody had mentioned them to her, evidently, though I'm always careful to make sure people who come know about them. So the agency has to go back to square one, and we loved her, too bad, but they can not rustle up another aide in time for Monday, are hoping for Tuesday....we'll see.

Just knowing that some help, though it's very expensive, is on the way, is good.

And finally cheerfulness is breaking through! not an easy life, but I've learned such a lot in the last month, not quite as frantic an amateur as I was, and we're just seeing the beginnings of how to live this way. So this is good.

One not so good thing though: please send powerful get well vibes to the friend who lent me the shore house, thereby saving my sanity a few weeks ago, and is now quite under the weather and in a specialized hospital, which we fervently hope will fix her right up and get her home quickly. What little I can do I'm doing, but anyway, vibes, please!!

Oh, the reference up there to Charlotte? Why, it's Charlotte the spider from Charlotte's Web, who, as the writer truly said was not only a good spinner, well, in fact writer, but I added in the spinning part, but also a good friend. A nice goal to aim for,I'd say!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Stealth Gardening and crafty practitioners thereof

I visited a place I used to live yesterday and noticed that the little corner of the development that I had rescued from disarray and neglect is now flourishing. Big treat, since I had forgotten it was even there. When I bought the condo, this was the point at which the landscapers got tired and stopped every time. So it was a little jungle of cotoneaster, unpruned and home to many paper bags and other blown papers and garbage, various weeds and was in urgent need of something.

Over the years I lived there, I brought in daffodils from a friend's garden, daylilies from the place I now lived, sedum from the same friend, pachysandra from my other garden, all easy and trustworthy perennials which choke out weeds and look good almost all the time. Crocuses, too, in a nice curve -- I saw them again this year, after they recovered from the landscaper's cutting off all the foliage and putting the crocuses out of business for several years.

There's a stand of iris there now, which has a nice history: many years ago, we bought a house with a lot of iris around the foundations, overgrown, you practically needed a chainsaw to separate them, and I gave a lot of them to the daffodil friend, a neighbor and keen gardener, who loved the old yellow iris. Then we moved away, in the fullness of time, and I lived in an apartment, no garden, left the plantings for the next owner.

Later when I had a gardening spot at the condo, friend returned some of the iris to me, and they, being tough as old yellow boots, have come up faithfully ever since. I think they must be at least 75 years old, judgimg from the gardening history of the original owner of the old house we bought.

Since my old computer is now refusing to upload pictures of what I just described -- I need to get the picture software installed in this computer, and will do so as soon as I can get it in to the shop, no CD drive on this one -- it made me wonder about other stealth gardens, which means unauthorized gardening wherever it seemed like a good idea.

And realized I've done quite a bit of this one way and another, what with giving other people's gardens some of my own stuff, inviting apartment dwellers to come grow veggies in my big back yard, and then our family daffodil planting in the little belt of woods behind our current house, as a 9.11 memorial. If I can get my
external drive to respond, I'll show you pictures of these.

I met a nice Polish woman recently busily digging up a little plot near the condo, and with no common language other than mime and arm waving, understood that she too was a stealth gardener and I indicated I wouldn't split on her!

Most of the work I've done in our current home is stealth, such as the daylilies now coming up all around the dumpster area, so that you will see flowers not a garbage area when you drive in! and most of the planting out front is a crafty way of replacing the ugly old yews and privet the developers originally, and cheaply, put in. And I've given pachysandra and daylilies and spearmint to people wanting to beautify downtown Trenton, which certainly could use it. I'd say that's stealth gardening by remote control!

And if you read this and suddenly have an urge to plant stuff where you want to, and just have the satisfaction of leaving the area a bit nicer than when you found it, then I will have craftily succeeded once more, in gardening by remote control. It's a whole lot easier on the gardener's back than the direct method!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

High tech, low tech, past and future

After lengthy struggles with this laptop, which is old enough not to support modern browsers without crying and fussing and crashing, I finally got brave today and am the proud new owner of a netbook, an ASUS something or other, I did a lot of research, checked with friends not much more computer literate than I, and with HS who knows a lot more than I do on this subject, and played my role in improving the consumer economy by springing for it.

Currently it's in the shop having various security features installed and firewalls and new boots and mittens and whatever else a new little netbook needs before it comes home, which will be tomorrow. This one will have a lot more memory, and a lot less weight and will be much more portable than the current laptop, which will certainly remain in a place of honor as the word processor of choice, and for various other non internet tasks.

So, with any luck, this is the farewell post on this system, and hello to ASUS tomorrow.....

So, on the way back from buying the latest high tech thing, I got lost, of course, getting out of the confusing parking lot, where the arrows sending me to the highway actually sent me in a circle. The second time I passed the same store, I just plunged off at an angle, to escape!

and found myself on Province Line Road, ancient historical road originally dividing the state into two, and leading to an early Quaker Meeting House, still, after centuries, in regular use, and Princeton Battlefield, where Washington repelled the Hessians during the revolution, a true turning point in the emerging of this country.

So, history having met accidentally with high tech, I stopped and took pictures of the Mercer Oak (around here everything has Mercer somewhere in its name),where General Mercer is said to have been fatally wounded in the battle, and taken to a nearby farmhouse, still in existence, to die.

The current Mercer Oak is a baby sapling, an offspring taken from the original one, which was finally blasted by lightning a few years ago, having been shored up, and lightning rodded and generally preserved as long as possible, it being a mature tree even at the time of the revolution. It was cared for in a local garden, until it was needed, and when the old Mercer Oak fell, the baby was planted in its place, with a protective fence around it, which you see in the pic.

The colonnade picture is of a memorial to the dead of the battle, complete with poem by Alfred Noyes before he became Poet Laureate of England.

So, without planning it, I seem to have created my own remembrance in honor of Memorial Day. I'm not big on honoring battles, since I have a nasty suspicion that honoring them and dramatizing them just encourages people to have more of them, but this kind of happened to me, so I'm sharing it.

The woods in the background of the Mercer Oak are the Institute for Advanced Study woods, attached to Einstein's stomping ground, and wonderful historical places in themselves, home of all kinds of birds and plants and stands of virgin pines, incredible that they should exist in the middle of this busy state, and a testament to a good use of wealth, that the owners over the centuries have preserved, not exploited them.

So, after all this high minded history and observation and plunging into cutting edge technology, we plan to have Bad Food.

We do this about three times a year, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Bad Food is hot dogs and rolls and pickles and potato chips and beans and mustard and all the things we don't normally eat, not wishing to get our full quota of additives all year round! but what fun it is to do it happily now and then.

I wish you a happy holiday weekend, if it's your holiday, and if it isn't a holiday in your country, a good weekend anyway! and I attach pix of spring flowers at the Preserve taken yesterday, too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Updates and more updates

Jewelweed, an unexpected treasure at the roadside. Life has quite a few of these, one way and another.

Several people have asked how things are with HP, and I have to say, not very good.

He has started to develop the typical problems of paralyzed patients -- pressure sores, allowed to be sitting in the wheelchair only briefly now, not all day as he could before, need to be turned and rearranged in bed frequently. Lucidity fading as the day wears on.

A lot of physical needs, a lot of support from medical people, including the saintly TH, the occupational therapist who knows who she is, and kept my mind in one piece this afternoon, with intelligent and sympathetic listening and advice. Her advice to be careful about throwing money into service that may or may not be helpful was worth anything. As was her demo of how to reposition HP in the bed safely. And her encouragement to, despite all, have a life.

And wonderful HS who showed up last night, after we had a terrible day, with a trip to the wine store for a bottle of white wine, knowing I love one glass a day and had not been able to shop recently! sometimes that little glass of wine is huge, in importance, I mean. Not an outsize glass. And the willingness of an HS who is coming home late after a long day at work, finds a message on his voicemail, turns around and shops for his aged mom! what a prince.

Updates on other fronts: I have succeeded, on the spinning front, in totally chewing up a length of starter yarn, and breaking several pieces of fleece, having got all cocky about spinning about six inches of yarn, then the spindle suddenly took over, spun backwards and got me all confused! this is so fun, though, because IT DOESN'T MATTER! it's just a fun lovely thing to do, to connect with people back through centuries, long before the wheel was invented for spinning.

And I don't need to make a living at it, a blessing in itself, since the original spinsters were unmarried women who paid their room and board in the family with endless work at the wheel or drop spindle, as the case may be.

And sooner or later I will enter their hallowed numbers, of accomplished spinners, that is. Meanwhile the lovely brown fleece (haven't ventured on the snow white fleece yet, since I know it will be dark brown before I finish with it, poor thing), is so good to handle, just lively and friendly and soft. Exactly like a new pet!

My big ambition is to spin the current supply and make a knitted animal from it! talk about an endless circle....

So the mantra remains, a bit ragged and torn itself at the moment: what was good about each day, what can't be helped, what might be better tomorrow, and who are your real friends who come through.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sayen Gardens, more hectic than expected

Yesterday I had a couple of hours' free time, owing to the generosity of HS who stayed with HP and helped him with various tasks including keeping track of the big golf tournament, the Sybase Classic, a NJ big event on tv, and I sallied out to various places to play.

First stop: the thrift store where I scored a wonderful Irish linen apricot colored jacket, perfect fit (amazing in view of my steep weight loss over the last weeks of crisis) dry cleaner's tags still on it, and found out it was half price, and a cotton hiking hat. All for the damage of about three dollars....

Then for the spring visit to Sayen Gardens, a well kept secret and wonderful location not far from here. It was a private home for most of the 20th century, the house being only a pretty modest kind of bungalow deal, but the garden, not very big but wonderfully gardened and sculpted and made to look like many many acres of winding paths, lovely shrubs, sitting places, a gazebo (about which more in a minute), a pond with water plants and fish and other wildlife.

It's amazingly beautiful. When the original gardening family members died, if I have the story right, the family simply opened the place to the general public, and the gardens and house continue to be tended.

You can book the house for weddings and other parties, and people wander about all the time on the grounds taking pictures and just sitting and enjoying an oasis in the middle of the Trenton action. Well, Hamilton Square to be technically accurate, but Trenton tells more people where it is.

So I thought I'd wander around on this cloudy warm day, watching birds, taking pix to show at home, and generally have a peaceful time. Not knowing that there were not one but TWO weddings taking place at the same time in this tiny place!

The gazebo where I planned to sit and watch the fish was draped in white tulle, many little white chairs in rows there, LOUD music very reminiscent of the Godfather blasting away, guests beginning to arrive, hobbling in their best shoes on the endless gravel paths. Then I though oh well, I'll take another walk instead, and ran right into the wedding party organizing ....the bride busily assembling candles and candlesticks on the tables.

Then I thought, hm, no place to walk, I'll just withdraw. and found my way to the parking lot, the only exit, a kind of covered bridge thing, very pictureskwee, totally mobbed with -- the other wedding party trying to pose for pix! they let me through then decided they'd better find another location.

I heard the bride say, oh, I know, there's a lovely gazebo near the water and she picked up her train and veil, and started in a brisk march, followed by bridesmaids, like a high speed wedding processional, in the direction of -- the other wedding! I just wondered what was going to happen when they encountered the other party. Holy Gridlock, Batman.

But I couldn't resist a picture of them hotfooting across the parking lot, among cars coming and going, bridesmaids in the seafoam green required dresses complete with butt bows, and they would never be able to wear them again, you'd never put these on except to please a bride..

So what was planned as a peaceful and renewing afternoon turned into a Laff Comic Relief Riot. For me, at any rate. History does not record what the two brides had to say about the day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Golden Lads and Lasses

In between the endless parade of medical personnel through here, and HP is doing okay considering, we're redesigning our daily life around a whole new reality, I've been planting the spring garden and reading and studying spinning....

But one book I really recommend, and which incidentally marks HP's entry into the 21st century in that he listened to it on CDs (!) a major first for him, and which I had loved listening to while out walking, is Bill Bryson's Shakespeare, a terrific, very readable and listenable account of the history of Shakespeare's time and what we don't actually know about it.

Some of the most interesting parts, aside from a whole long passage about the folios and how they were messed around, changed, copied, shared out among a lot of printers, and a ton of fascinating stuff about the theater business of Shakespeare's time (and he wasn't considered a big deal then, unlike Marlow and Jonson and Kyd and various others), is the general indicator that he was a countryman, not a noble, judging from the homely details he comments on, about crops and country trades, such as leather tanning,that kind of thing.

My post title refers to the quotation from, I think, Hamlet, "Golden lads and lasses must, like chimney sweepers, come to dust." And to my surprise, Bryson found that it's a reference to the "golden lads and lasses" that was the country name for -- dandelions!! and in view of my recent paean in praise of same, I was tickled to discover that.

So that's my current big nonfiction pick.

And then there's a new discovery, for me anyway, Ayelet Waldman, who writes detective stories in the character of a stay at home mom with young children who has given up her law career for the moment while the kids are young, and finds herself being a crime investigator.

Good dialog, great reading for people who either 1. have been sahms and fervently rejoice that that period has ended (!) or 2. people who are currently sahms and need all the amusement they can get about it or 3. current sahms who really like the job and still want a detective story to enjoy and 4. people who have never been sahms and wonder what it's all about....also people who like a good detective story with humor and crime mixed in together with highly creative little kids hampering every move in their parents' careers! anyway, a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, back in the garden, radishes are starting to come up, and I now have a slew of herbs set out -- mint grows whether I want it to or not, and I give it away apace, lemon balm same, then I plant on purpose oregano, rosemary, thyme and two kinds of sage, the purple kind and the green kind, both of which are flourishing shrubs, no need for any help from year to year.

And there's scented geranium, which I love to pinch and sniff, sometimes use in drinks. Other foods I planted this year: cherry bushes, blueberry bushes, Cumberland raspberries, upside down Roma tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries. You'd never think all this mad activity takes place in an area smaller than most people's bathrooms....I also grow potatoes in a planter! just shove in a spud and let it alone, and a few weeks later dig up a nice dish of new potatoes, enough for a meal.

And then there's the ornamental garden, daylilies, impatiens, nierembergia, iris, petunias, hosta, sedum, all sorts of other annuals and perennials, all mixed in with the food stuff. We won't mention poison ivy, which also tries to get a foothold each year.

The micro gardener speaks! small is not only beautiful, around here it's inevitable..

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009. Long may she sail!!

HS offered me the usual Mother's Day gifts: card, flowers and the blessed gift of his time that I can use as I like. Some years we have gone on a hike, or hung out at a nature center, or just at home depending on the weather.

But our lives are different now, and I asked HS to spend the afternoon keeping HP company, taking care of him, so that I could go out for the afternoon in joyful frivolity, no worries.

Bright day, very windy, but lovely to be out and about, so I headed directly, do not pass Go, for Mazur's the best garden center in the world, where they never put out plants too early for them to succeed at home, are cheerful and knowledgeable and the whole family works there, including a very old grandmother who still works on the plants.

So I lugged a cartload of flowers, herbs, the usual suspects, away, and took a couple of pictures before I left. No those are not my palatial gardens, they're the garden center!

It's a great place for hummingbirds a bit later in the season, when they have hanging baskets all over the place, but lovely at all seasons. Their herbs are great, and now I have a new bunch of rosemary, thyme, oregano and something else whose name escapes me. And impatiens -- always buy a whole flat of these to put in all over the place as white sparks in the flowerbeds, and petunias for hanging baskets. And tomatoes, of course, Roma plum tomatoes, the best for sauce and eating and just why bother with anything else, really.. and peppers, the bell kind.

I should explain that I have limited ground area, but I hang a lot of containers overhead from the tree on the patio and the hooks out front. This year I'm trying upside down tomatoes and peppers. I got an upside down kit thing, and, having studied it, have decided I can improvise more of them using giant coffee cans. Anyway, that's the plan. We;ll see if it's like the pictures on the kit, or if it's a rain of earth and plants on the unsuspecting passerby.

Then, having blown my plant budget wide open, I went off to hike the Preserve, in the beech wood and beside the lake. Both the garden center and the Preserve were full of families dragging elderly moms with them, feebly complaining that it's WINDY, it's messing my HAIR, I want to wait in the CAR, oh MOOOOOMMMMM, etc. I guess the idea is that you came to enjoy the outdoors, now get cracking and enjoy the outdoors..I wonder if grown kids who were always being shoved out to play as little kids are now reversing the procedure, shoving their mothers out to play.

Notes from field, fen and preserve: hearing then sighting of redwing blackbirds, sure sign of spring to hear that rusty shout, like a referee's whistle with a loose part, and first sighting of a black and yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly, and a comma butterfly.

It's official. Spring is here. I realize I've said this before but it keeps on surprising me anyway.

And then a wonderful surprise in the afternoon just a couple of minutes after I got home: a beloved friend showed up, despite feeling physically rotten, to deliver a great present, a spinning kit! complete with drop spindle, lovely fluff, wrong term, but I have to study the right term, wonderful colors, dark brown and pure white, I've been petting it like an animal, how-to book, what a total and wonderful surprise.

My new art skill for this year is to learn to spin, and dear C. is putting me squarely in the path of this new artform. The spindle is a work of art itself, wonderful to handle and puzzle over what to do next..

That's my low tech ambition. My high tech one is to install a flash drive and move my blog onto it to preserve it (heh).

So, one of the better Mother's Days I've had, oddly enough, you'd think this year would be hard to enjoy, but noooooooo.

So I wish the same wonderful day to all you readers, mothers, daughters, anyone who is or has a mom! that should take care of everyone.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gosh, the stuff you learn from animals!

The picture is not just my feet encased in my furry slippers. It's a whole way of seeing things, taught me by our bad tempered Persian cat, Tiger Fluffy Sheba. Her names come from her propensity to bite at a moment's notice, or none, her very very very uncombable fluffy coat, and her exotic origin.

Persians are touchy at the best of times -- during our pet care years I handled hundreds of cats, and even the best kept and loved Persians, there from kittens, were highly offended at the least thing in their environment, with a couple of wonderful exceptions, two silver Persians who were loving and fun and playful. But even they bit their families, they told me, in amazement that I was playing with these little hellions on my visits!

And Tiger Fluffy was not originally in a loving home, but rather in an unhappy one, from which we removed her via a third party, so she was pretty much a basket case. Five years before I could touch her without being attacked, but once she finally got it that she was here to stay, that I would never hit or scream at her, she acknowledged that maybe all humans are not rotten.

But she only extends this exception to me! I can pet and stroke her and remove the major knots from her coat, and she even returns the favor, grooming my face while I'm on the floor doing yoga, very helpful. I expect she thinks I oughta be doing Downward Facing Cat, come to think of it.

Anyway, one of her favorite sleeping places has become the slippers in the pic. Which are in fact solid black felty stuff from blessed Landsend, the only place that makes shoes I can actually wear without howling with my arthritic old tootsies. But she sheds a lot, and the fluff bonded irremovably with the fabric, so I decided to do the catly thing and pretend that's how I want them. They look exactly like fur slippers now, and I meant this all along..

Other domestic adventures continue apace, as they used to say in those wonderful futuristic things at World's Fair events -- Home of the Future, etc. Our Home of the Present leaves something to be desired now and then.

Such as this morning, when, after I'd shoveled bits of pasta and other leftovers off plates into the disposall, tiny bits that got rinsed off, said disposall just made a smug humming noise and refused to work.

Now I know that if it hums, the power is getting there, it just isn't in the mood to work. So, being Woman and Invincible, I attacked it with a wooden spoon, the idea being that if you can force the bottom plate in a complete revolution, you will revolutionize its attitude, and unblock whatever's upsetting it. this has worked numerous times for me over the years with various disposalls, and was shown me by a repairman who charged me $75 for the visit....

But this time the spoon approach did not work either, which revolutionized my attitude. We had to bring out the Big Guns. The Allen Wrench, to be exact. Now the directions just tell you how to proceed with it, but they fail to give a few bits of info:

1. What does it look like, again?

2. Who is Allen and why does she have have a wrench?

3. Where did you put it? well, naturally in the drawer that has all the other tools and stuff which you now have to sort through to figure out which is the AW in question.

4. Where do you insert the thing now that you have triumphantly found it?

then the rest is easy: just lie on the floor with your neck at a painful angle, bend your wrist the way it's not supposed to go, and insert the AW into the middle o the bottom of he disposall, six inches from the floor of the cabinet....and turn it angrily until it turns and then happily a few more times just to show it, and all is well.

Switch on the disposall, turn on the faucet and it's working! and I think yet again there should be some credit bureau in the sky that reaches down and hnds me the $75 I just saved on a service call.

In case anyone feels sorry for my having to be the Fixit Lady around here on account of HP's disability, I should mention that even when fully fit and well, he would have been totally unable to do this job without busting the wrench, the appliance or the welkin with curses....I'm just saying...knowing he doesn't read in here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Long thoughts on a rainy day

Hectic day here, with nurse, physical therapist, home health care lady, all arriving on each others' heels all mixed up with my cooking breakfast and lunch and serving same, along with the medications scheduled, etc., to HP.

The physical therapist confirmed what I had suspected: that HP is functionally a quadriplegic and unlikely to get more physical ability than now. and the nurse confirmed that the total incontinence is unlikely to reverse, either. So though these convictions are not a surprise to me, it's still a sad realization that these people are quite often right, having a lot of experience with struggles like those of HP. On the good side, we are doing okay with our what people love to call challenges (!) but I fervently can't help wishing we had some different set of challenges!

My skills in home nursing now encompass operating a Hoyer lift on my own, safely, largely out of fear for my back if I didn't get over my intimidation about the Hoyer, using an external catheter and keeping it working just fine, excellent skin care and general purpose good stuff, including keeping both our spirits up. and remembering to enjoy what we can enjoy -- very good cooking, watching the Yankees, getting Sleuth out of the libe, since neither of us had seen this classic. And dealing with a procession of professionals coming and going as long as Medicare holds out for us. Which will only be weeks, so I'm already exploring the longer term and what might be available.

And the weather, sheets of rain along with high winds, just like a hot July day in north Yorkshire, is a bit annoying, too. But I still took my half hour walk, daringly leaving HP at the table doing the crossword puzzles, and finding him perfectly safe when I got back.

Lovely walk, wet underfoot, but listening to Samuel Barber's violin concerto on my walkman, gosh, that composer just takes you apart! such incisive and wonderful composition, even when it is hard to tolerate. But always good to listen and let it flow over you. So took a couple of reflective, pun intended pictures, to show HP on my return. And to show you, too.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dandelion Clocks already?

The rain and wind have brought down a lot of the blossoms you saw in the last blog entry, so I had a nice walk yesterday kicking them around like autumn leaves, trudging through ankle deep petals on that path. The hot weather last week also blew all the dandelions, and now there are fields of clocks, which I love, a natural toy to play with.

I've never understood why people want to eradicate them -- lovely nutritious greens followed by perfect gold flowers followed by fuzzy clocks. And yes, I've had gardens, and no, I don't think lawns are a Good Thing, just fighting nature rather than working with her, in my not very humble opinion, so dandelions, and veronica and chickweed and rogue trees are all in the game.

Where I live, central NJ, fertile alluvial plain between clay ridges, you have to mow, though, or you'd have a dense forest of rogue trees before you can turn around. When I had a big yard, quite a few cherry trees and Norway maples and other uninvited guests found themselves in friends' yards, some of said trees now full size and impressive.

Now I have a teeny patio and a small area along a path, but still have plenty to pass on to fellow plant fiends. Today a freecycler dropped by to pick up a bunch of spearmint I'd promised her, massive root system, and I warned her firmly to put it in a pot, not let it loose in the yard, or she will have nothing but spearmint. She's very happy with it, and I was certainly happy to yank it out and give it away.

When she arrived, I was in the midst of fixing Easter, that is not a typo, dinner. HP was in the hospital on the real Easter Sunday, so we had a rough sketch of a celebration, and today we decided to have the real thing.

HS arrived with Easter eggs, Asiago and Gouda cheeses and great cracker mixture, and I organized ham and peas and pineapple and mash, and along with wine spritzers for the two of us who can do that, and fake beer for the one whose medication rules out alcohol, we had a merry time, despite pouring rain and unspringlike cool weather.

Table decorations included the big glass bowl of painted eggs from New York chickens, and unpainted shells from the Jersey shore, the tiny cockatiel eggs in the English Wedgwood miniature cup and saucer, French Limoges cat, Boehm, Trenton that is, rabbit, Peter Rabbit baby mug from HS' childhood, Limoges porcelain little easter eggs, all very festive. And we had a candle in a Flemington NJ cut glass candle holder, for our own Paschal candle. I was impressed that I'd been able to find all this stuff from the place I'd put it away last time we used them.
All in all, a good time was had by all, with the international decorations.

HS withdrew quietly later in the afternoon when both parents were snoozing peacefully....nice time.