Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exhaling a little more....and funny thoughts.

A hopeful picture, to put a buffer between yesterday and now!

So, a terrifying day yesterday, about which no details other than to say I'm fervently glad it is over and HP survived. Big scare, involving numerous doctors, consultations, rapid fire team work applying all sorts of equipment, monitors, much intensity, and finally the cardio declared that HP was on the way back.

Then today, so much better. Starting to exercise -- vital for regenerating the nerves of the spine in order to have a chance of walking -- with care since he's newly recovering from a heart attack after surgery -- but he looked so much better, so much more like someone about to get better over time. And once again getting ready for rehab. And he can move his foot!!!!!!!! loud cheering, the surgery appears to have begun to work. It will be up to two years before we see how well it works, but any improvement is so exciting right now.

So more exhaling! and notes from field and fen:

Daffodil noses are poking up through the cold ground, very welcome sight. We had a very cold winter, so I think we'll get better blooms this year. Last winter was mild and the daffodils never set well. I like to think of this when I'm wrapping up my face against the winter winds in January.

Then, a reminder of the month: a red tail hawk perched in a tree by the road, looking around. Late February they are hungry and you see incredible flight and hunting. we have redtails, merlins, other smaller hawks, all flying at speed.

One time a few years ago, I was driving at about 50 mph down a road parallel with the furrows of a ploughed field, when a redtail swooped down beside me, flying literally a foot off the ground, between the furrows, left me in the dust, picked up a mouse, and flew straight up into the sky with her catch.

She must have flown about 90 mph, literally. I never forgot that excitement. They are such athletes, those birds. And they are completely unbothered by development, traffic they don't care, still keep their territory, mate successfully. They are territorial,which means I'm probably seeing the same two pairs year after year and their offspring. Well, one thing bothers them: when they're mobbed by starlings, they run!

I've been buzzed by a redtail at a birdfeeder, a while back. She parted my hair with her beak,never hurt me, just warning me that this was HER birdfeeder, where she caught small birds for lunch, sigh. Late February again, this is the hunger time for hunting birds, when their prey has been hidden underground for a long time.

We have a lot of turkey vultures, too, which are scavengers, picking up roadkill, and generally acting like the cleaning detail of the roads. And there are wild turkeys, too. Recently, I was in traffic held up for ages by a group of wild turkeys that had decided to cross the road, probably they'd been reading their joke book. There was road work which had disturbed them, and the police officer on traffic duty solemnly made everyone wait for them! I liked this.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Walking the Labyrinth

Since the labyrinth is only a few yards from the hospital where HP is, not in very good situation right now, much concern about the heart, no activity allowed at all, drifting in and out of clarity, I thought I'd walk it today.

Ages since I was there, and since it was bright sun, though very cold, it was a good time to walk. As you probably know, it's a form of walking meditation, the labyrinth being a curving path that makes all kinds of u-turns, brings you in to the center, and you continue on the same path, until it brings you out again. You move very slowly and deliberately,looking at the few inches ahead, or at your feet, and today was a very intense experience.

I usually present the labyrinth (or myself, whichever it is) with the current problem or question, then move slowly to the center, pause a while, leave a stone or any little object I find on the path, then slowly out to the end, then wait a minute looking back at the labyrinth. And I have never failed to emerge with new help or thoughts.

Today seemed to be full of metaphors. Across the path at one point, two branches had fallen in parallel, like a miniature bridge to cross, but you had to cross it -- you are all about gentle forward movement at this time. It was hard to lift my foot just a few inches to cross that bridge, whatever it meant. On the path I found three litle pieces of beach glass, two green, one clear, which I picked up to place when I got to the center. And I only just now realize they were glass versions of the diamond and emerald enagement ring HP gave me 48 years ago, too tiny for my finger now, but resting in a little white kid purse in my jewelry box.

And the squirrels had been at the Tibetan prayer flags again -- they are low enough you have to bend to get under them, after the squirrels have finished their acrobatics on the line, so that happened several times on the walk. At the center, I leaned against the tree that protects it, then placed my beach glass in a hollow rock, then after a pause, began to wind my way out again. And felt so much calmer and more accepting when I left. I got some answers.

It reminded me of that quotation in Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott's book on writing) where she says another writer, whose name escapes me, commented that writing a book, and, I might add, living a life, is like driving at night: you can only see as far as the immediate ground your headlights show you, but you can still get there anyway.

So that's what I wish. That, whatever our destination, Handsome Partner and I can get there,even if we can only see a few minutes ahead right now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snowdrops and Milkweed and Metaphors

It seems as if everything is turning itself into a metaphor these days! what with the orchids finally waking up in the living room and putting out actual buds, and the snowdrops appearing on the patio, all ten of them blazing away, and my lace project for the Milkweed installation more or less coming's all about hope and forward movement and life.

HP has had setbacks in recovery, but they still hope for rehab soon. Heart attack happened, but since he was already in ICU, was attended immediately. This is the kind of complication that can happen with this particular surgery, sigh. But it was his only chance to walk again, and we hope we soon find out if it will work!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to simply stay calm, do what I can, not worry about what I can't.

And since they wouldn't let me bring flowers in to HP, I took a pic of our snowdrops and took the digi in to show him, much to his pleasure. I'll put it up here too. I love brave little snowdrops, relentlessly blooming no matter what the weather chucks at them. the camera that you can bring home the pix and immediately show, has been terrific since HP has not been able to get out with me at all. I can at least give him a gallery of what's out there! and just so's you know how patriotic I am, used my little stimulus check last year to buy it!

And I'm working on my Milkweed Pod piece, will show you the start of this. The other drafts might eventually be incorporated, not sure, but this ladder will definitely happen,and I have some fuzzy glittery white stuff which will eventually get in here. It's already been seen by an old drawing student of mine I met in the hospital the other day, wonderful getting up to date on what he's been up to in art, and he was fascinated by the Milkweed deal, too. Also met a couple of old friends I used to work with, one at the admissions desk, which cheered me up no end, to have a friendly person I knew there. Very glad this work is being done locally, a lot of available friends and support.

Life continues to move forward!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Long Day,Partially Exhaling

Surgery this morning went well, but the danger period is about 12 more hours for this type of surgery.

So we are partially exhaling -- Handsome Partner's first experience with anaesthetic went well. And in the waiting room, we met the Buddhist nun who created the labyrinth I walk! we had a wonderful talk, and the peace she gave off was just perfectly timed, very auspicious.

She thanked me for walking the labyrinth, explained that it was a big project that she did without knowing if people were getting help from it, and was thrilled with our chat. Not as thrilled as I! the labyrinth is only a block from where we were all sitting, and Mike set off to see it, while we waited all the hours of surgery.

Here she is:

So I think this is a good omen, or at least a very helpful event on a tough day.

She's a very good humored woman, loves Law and Order, is highly amused by soap operas, when she gets to see them! she's American, but reminded me strongly of the Buddhist monks who created the sand mandala here a few years ago, three days of creating the design, then it was washed away into running water as a symbol of the transience of life and how we should allow for it and not try to grip onto life even as it changes. They were good humored,easy to talk to.

Very good stuff to think about right now! So, for the moment, join Handsome Son and me in partially exhaling! and hoping that tomorrow is a good day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Anniversaries and long thoughts

This household is in the midst of great anxiety right now, owing to sudden acute paralysis of Handsome Partner a few days ago,catching us all with no preparations, no ramps, luckily a transport lightweight wheelchair for getting into the dentist -- ramps there too long, steps impossible, for a walker.

Learning how to move and transfer helpless patient, no time to hire help before surgery, so skilled Handsome Son, who did an internship in care for the disabled many years ago, before deciding on the world of computers, and unskilled but willing Partner Me, mostly Me, since Son has to work, have been coping.

So here we are, now scheduled for major spinal surgery Thursday, followed, if all goes well, with rehab and eventually home again with home physio. This is what we all fervently hope for! wonderful surgeon, very experienced, and a neuro, too, so all HP's health bases are covered. Chances of restoring walking are slim, but upright on a walker would be a huge advance on where he now is. But we will hope for better and for your good vibes, too.

Then in the course of talking with various professionals today, I happened to notice the date: February 16.

So it seems nice to show you what I was doing on February 16, 1963. Yes, the bridegroom not seen in the pic since he was in the church we were entering, was the same guy who is now HP. Long marriage, divorce, long lives spent apart, then together, then apart, and now together forever since 9/11, when we decided that we belonged together through everything anyway!

Picture shows eldest brother escorting me into the church.

Bridal array all borrowed from a colleague! low cost reception at the Student Union in Manchester. Cake a gift from the mother of a guest. Photos a gift from the photographer. All in all, a nice day! the fact that the temp was about ten degrees and I had tonsillitis that day is quite irrelevant....

So enjoy along with us, wish us well on Thursday and after, and don't laugh at my dress, it was considered highly chic in 1963!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Good reading for winter days

No pictures today -- just the kind you create for yourself as you read!

For me there are two kinds of reading: new stuff, and rereading novels I've owned for years and years and always go back to sooner or later.

Under the rereading category: Diary of a Provincial Lady, by E.M.Delafield, very very funny, spare writing, best if you like brit style humor. She wrote several other books from Provincial Lady, but the others are hard to come by. I have The Provincial Lady in London, also very funny. It's from an earlier era, and a life I have no knowledge of, but it's still very good. Particularly if you have any French and can spot the tone of the French speaker there. The writer was obviously fluent in French, and knew the kinds of characters she wrote about.

She's full of those wonderful musings that are so familiar: "Does not a misplaced optimism exist, common to all mankind, leading on to false conviction that social engagements, if dated sufficiently far ahead, will never really materialise?"

This is exactly what happens to me when I'm asked to create and run a workshop a year hence, and agree happily, fully confident that by then I will probably be dead. But I never am, and I end up having to do it. Terrible nerves ahead of time, extensive planning, boring, then the workshop, such fun from the first minute that I happily agree to come back next year...but of course I am confident, etc. etc...

Then there's new: the latest PDJames detective novel, The Private Patient, much better than her other recent books, where she seemed to be starting to repeat herself and where her characters were hard to tell one from another. No such problems in this novel, very well drawn characters, and a good mystery.

And there's the Brand New category, the latest Mason Dixon Knitting book, Knitting Outside the Lines. The two authors have a joint blog, called Mason Dixon, you can google it, and their title stems from living a thousand miles apart, one in N. Carolina, one in NYC. They are totally funny, very good at encouragement and at explanations that don't make the reader feel like a fool for not already knowing this stuff. And forget all the traditional boring old knitted things -- they are really adventurous, and replicable.

Anyway,suffice it to say that within a few minutes of reading, I'd set aside my almost completed green crochet vest, and got several new ideas for my Milkweed project, and have inches of trial stitches already done....these women are dangerous!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Milkweed thoughts and offshoots!

So I'm playing with a lot of ideas, and a few of them are in here -- crochet at the moment, double chain filet, in soft yarn, some chain in nylon twine, some chain that I then crocheted back again, in string. Chances are none of these will appear in my final product for the Milkweed Project, but this is how I work. I have other ideas about the nylon twine, which frays out nicely into milkweed like fuzz....hmm.

And while I'm thinking about this, I'm making a dc filet crocheted vest, designing as I go, from some of that harvested yarn I talked about a while ago. It's a pure cotton, which you have to work in the double thread it came in, not as hard as you might think, and very nice quality, much better than the cotton yarn you can buy unused. This is the green stuff you last saw hanging over the bathtub at Harvest Home.

And then, since February is here and the longer days are upon us, yay, all the indoor garden plants are putting out shoots and leaves (eats shoots and leaves!). Pic of them today, orchids, ficus, scented geranium, coleus, begonias, spathiphyllum, chives, funny old group, really, all looking out at their summer home.