Care in the Era of COVID-19

i’m taking it seriously, but not panicking*…

Coming back from Turkey in February, i watched Heathrow airport go from “Busy, multi-national transportation hub” to “Refugee camp” within minutes of the flight cancellations due to weather. The news from Wuhan, China was coming out, and some people standing in the lines were wearing masks, but the vast majority weren’t. Things could go from ‘normal’ to ‘extra-crunchy’ very quickly.

When i got home, Studley and i started adding a few extras to the weekly shopping cart, thinking about what we’d need to manage being stuck at home while battling the flu for a couple of weeks. We made soups, and filled our freezers. Not panicked – prepared.

On Thursday this week, our Governor announced dramatic closures across the state as a pre-emptive method of limiting the spread. Schools closed for at least 3 weeks, no public gatherings greater than 100 people. Major sports leagues canceled seasons.

More people paid attention, and then the run on the grocery stores started.

i looked for places to volunteer. One major concern nationally is that so many of our children rely on school lunches for their main meals of the day.**  With prolonged closures, the state, school districts, and community volunteers rallied to come up with a means to get food to those in need.

Going to the page for volunteers, i started to put in my info as a delivery driver. i was stopped cold by “Must be under 50 years old”…

That was the first time it occurred to me that at 57, with a somewhat compromised immune system, i’m….. uh…. i’m a little more at risk than others.

Later that day, i got a text from a young friend – Oktay and his wife are originally from Turkey. i met them at a local gathering of Turkish immigrants. We’ve stayed connected – they coach me on my Turkish, and i bring them treats when i visit!

Oktay’s text: I hope you are doing well. Please let me know if you need anything. I will be more than happy to help you. Don’t go outside unless necessary. Again, if you need anything I will go outside for you and drop it to your house. Just text me or call me!”

(sigh)

i had been preparing to call a few of my neighbors, who are in their 70’s and 80’s with the same offer…

it me

Maybe i’m going to have to sit this one out….or come up with other ways to support the community.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*On the bright side? We’re all learning how to spell new words, like “panicked” and “quarrantine”…

**Don’t get me started on this national disgrace. Food insecurity is rampant in the US. Don’t let our obesity fool you, healthy food isn’t available to all. Processed, filled, corn-based, shit food is cheap, and has to do for many families…

Housekeeping – Another Surface Interval

Where is daisyfae? Apparently on a road to hell, as i’m seeing pavers marked “good intentions” all around me…at least when it comes to posting regularly.

Still feeling the urge to write, chewing on lots of tasty nuggets that i need to sort out. For the past few months, i have been either in manic travel mode, or mired in winter slugdom, drinking coffee in bed far too late into the morning, wondering where my ‘get up and go’ went.

The trips? Since my last travelogue, i’ve been gone a bit. Spent almost three weeks in Turkey last month, living with my daughter and her family. The little one is now a very busy toddler. She would run into my room in the morning, encourage me to sing, and then tell me (in toddler-speak) about how her night was. It was wonderful! They are all doing well, but i missed them before the taxi even got to the airport.

Christmas included a roadtrip to spend the holiday week with Studley’s children – Son, daughter-in-law, and daughter all together for a week of games, booze, trampoline park (i watched!), and time spent cooking. Also included a trip to ‘doc in a box’ due to my unexpected bout with bronchitis. Mellow, quiet, and a week spent mostly in pajamas – and virtually no photos taken.

Visited with my son and his family over Thanksgiving in November. Just flew out and back, but had a good time with the clan, and extended clan. The vampire cupcakes were a success – and Max is already planning what we’ll make on my next trip!

We spent a few weeks in Alaska in September – visiting Studley’s daughter, Pixie! Rented a camper for a week and put over 1,000 miles on it, driving as far north as Fairbanks. Alaska is the place to be if there’s a global apocalypse. The residents there are fierce, independent, and rugged to the core. Got to watch a family butcher a moose. Just something you don’t see every day…

Long camping trip out west in August – started with a few days visiting The Boy and his family, and then onward to see Badlands National Park, and visit Cheyenne, Wyoming. i have a much better appreciation for the scale of the great plains. Corn. Cows. Muledeer. Gigantic skies. On the way back, we chose to get off the interstate highway, and wander the old national road system. To say that discovering roadside attractions has become a new hobby is an understatement. We have seen — SEEN — the world’s largest popcorn ball! Life will never be the same.

Festivals, music, dancing, friends, volunteer work, planning the next trips – i am anything but bored. Perhaps just slugging my way through a touch of the winter blues. Thinking that my recent round of being stuck in bed, drinking coffee, and being unmotivated is another ‘surface interval’ for me.

Apologies for another ‘non-blog’ post, but i’m going to try again. i plan to use some of my ‘slug time’ to get back out and about in the blogosphere – hoping to catch up with my old friends in the ether. i suppose it’s possible to bring the laptop to bed while i drink my morning coffee.

 

 

A Parent…

When i left home for university, i was just 18. Other than a few weeks the following summer, i never lived with my parents again. Due to a combination of sheer will, and a bit of luck, i did not ‘bounce’ back. The youngest of the four children in my family, i was the only one who managed to make it to adulthood without a temporary return to the nest. They had worked hard to raise us all, and by the time i got to 18 they were tired. So very tired. i didn’t want to pile on heartache.

With my own children, it was a little different. The Girl moved back in after graduation, while pursuing work in the Foreign Service. She worked full time, saved money, studied for her exams. She was an excellent room mate and citizen of the household. Her cooking and baking skills were greatly appreciated (the best tabbouleh i’ve ever had). She was here about a year and a half before setting out for her life abroad.

The Boy? Bounced back a few times during The Wilderness Years*, while fighting his way through The Gargantuan State University. When he left school, to work full time on the road, he used my place as a mailing address, and would be home for a week a month. We had to revisit house rules, but he became a decent room mate.  When he enlisted in the Army, we both knew his time living with me was coming to an end – and we enjoyed each others company more than ever.

The Girl was really gone eight years ago. The Boy? Five. They are far enough away that time spent with them is rare, and quite precious. When The Girl comes home for a month in the summer, i adjust my schedule to accommodate another person in the household. There isn’t much she can do to annoy me. i know it’s brief. i know she has to go home again. The same with visits with The Boy. The chaos is disruptive, but never in a bad way.

What i’ve discovered is an ache – something new for my parental angst inventory. When they are headed home, or when i’m leaving after an extended visit, my heart simply hurts. It’s physical. It’s not debilitating, and it doesn’t last for more than a week or so… Just a soft blanket of melancholy.

It was my hope to raise independent, functional adults, living lives of deliberate choice. Clearly, in that way i succeeded.

When Mom died, i was surprised to find her calendar notes, carefully tracking my planned business trips, up until the month she died. She always asked questions about where i was headed, and i didn’t give it much thought. i think she just needed to know where on earth her kid was, even though the ‘kid’ was in her 50’s.

Looking back, i realize that the fiercely independent girl who left home at 18, determined to never ‘bounce’, wanting to spare her parents heartache failed. It can’t be avoided.

parenting - the hole truth

Source: The Artwork of Chad Knight(Digital Artist)

 

*Should be a trademark of kono over at The Asshat Lounge. If you’re not reading his blog, you are missing some of the sharpest, darkest, most honest writing on the internet. 

Trailer Park 2.0

Drinking whiskey and diet ginger ale in a sippy cup, while taking a shower on a Sunday night*, i felt something i haven’t felt in almost a year. The urge to write. Not because something was bothering me, gnawing at my innerds, driving me to hoark it up, sort it out, and blast it into the ether. Not because i felt a sense of obligation either. Just because i missed doing it.

So. Here we are.

Due to the confluence of my engagement with social media, the death of my mother, and a reduced number of active blogmates, i just sort of wandered off. i missed it (mostly the social connections), but i no longer needed it. i also didn’t have much time – still working 40 hours a week, plus travel, i didn’t have much downtime.

The more i’m learning about social media, however, the less i’ve been playing in that space. There is no doubt that we are all being exploited – driven to outrage – as a means to divide us further. Clicks are dollars, and outraged people click the shit out of clickbait articles.

Who is doing this? Does it matter? It’s happening. i want nothing to do with it.

My facebook, and instagram use is mostly for sharing travel pictures, event/charity planning and promotion, farting around, and staying in touch with those i genuinely enjoy. i love seeing my friends living their lives – my favorite days on social media are ‘back to school’ and halloween, because of the amazing pictures people share!

i’ve curated my feed to drastically reduce “outrage” posters – right, left, libertarian, or just the generally outraged. Many in my networks have culled their networks to a like-minded choir. Yes, there is comfort in knowing you’re not alone in your outrage, but it really doesn’t change anything.

The challenges i face these days are no longer complex family dynamics, raising strong-willed and/or self-destructive offspring, balancing end-of-career issues while figuring out how to retire.

What i wrangle with these days are issues of extreme privilege. “When should we plan our trip to Machu Picchu?” “Can we go to the regional burn and still be back in town for the festival we’re working?” “When will i have time to remodel my bathroom with all of the travel?”  Yeah. It’s pretty obnoxious.

Underlying this is something a bit deeper, though – planning the final season of my life. Making myself harder to kill while simultaneously preparing to die. Not a topic that lends itself to social media – unless you are able to guide your life by an endless series of clever memes and clickbait listicles.

For tonight? i’m gonna pack up my suitcase. Joining the holiday air travel scrum in the morning as we head west to visit The Boy and his family**. My grandson has already told me what kind of cupcakes he wants us to bake, and we’re going to bake those cupcakes. There is no reason you can’t have vampire cupcakes at Thanksgiving.

Max makes a cupcake

*i am, in fact, a grown ass woman. i do not judge others for wine in a bubble bath, beer on a patio. don’t judge me for my means of self care…

**A sentence that was inconceivable just five years ago.

You should be dancin’…

“There are nine members of the family – we will need two cars to get them to their medical appointment. Can you help?”

For the past several years, i’ve been supporting the mission of our local Refugee Resettlement program. The vast majority of arrivals in my city are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Most of my transportation runs are to get 2-3 family members to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for official ID cards, or taking one person to a medical appointment.

The primary language in DRC is French – and mine is pretty rusty. i’ve learned a couple words in Swahili, but my comprehension is non-existent. So i start with music – something upbeat, fun, targeting Beatles, Michael Jackson, and other international pop icons. As we get settled in the car, i tell them “i’m going to play some music!” and then we roll.

It seems to work.

Many times, while traveling abroad, i’ve been in a situation where i’m in a taxi and do not speak the language of the driver. It’s a little more comfortable if the driver is playing music, and happily bopping along. The best way to crush the awkward silence.

So i sing. i car dance.

Many arrivals from the DRC have been waiting a long time to get here. They have experienced things that i cannot comprehend. But my job is transport. i do not ask. Drive the car, and be-bop to the tunes. Assist with the paper work, pulling out the ol’ Google Translator as needed.

My SUV will comfortably transport 7 adults. For the large family transport run, it was me and 6 others, ranging in age from 4 to 19 years old. Mom, Dad, and the adorable 2 year old went with the other driver.  The oldest daughter rode up front with me, and the rest of the children were tucked into the back.

Her English was pretty good. When i said “i like to play music” she said “That’s good!” and away we went! It was early October, and when “Thriller” came on, it seemed that even the younger members of the family recognized it.

“Dance Party!” i announced – and we all hit it hard, while cruising downtown toward the public health clinic for their appointment. Smiles, laughs, expert moves, and genuine curiosity about the crazy white-haired granny gettin’ down with her bad self behind the wheel of the Ford truck!

The original plan was to have another driver pick them up in a couple hours, but i let the program coordinator know that i was available that afternoon if needed. He sent me back downtown to assist with pick up. My heart turned to mush when i was greeted in the lobby by smiling, dancing children.

We car danced the entire drive home. And i cried a little after i said goodbye.

When i first started supporting the program, i wanted to only do housing set up, or collect items to support arriving refugees. i was afraid to work directly with the clients. Reluctantly, i agreed to start doing client transport – because that was the greatest need.

Getting outside of my comfort zone has led to the most rewarding volunteer gig i’ve ever had…

Multicolored futuristic wings on white background

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

 

Tornado, Tornadon’t…

She was still rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Hiding behind her mother’s legs when i came to the door with boxes of food, the little girl was wearing nothing but a diaper. Maybe 2 years old. One of three children living in the small apartment with their mother, they’d been displaced by the tornado outbreak that knocked my city on its collective ass about eight weeks ago.

i’m not a fan of disaster porn pictures, but you can get an idea of what happened at this link, and some images from one neighborhood here. Over a dozen tornadoes blew across the western part of Ohio in a single night – some fairly small, knocking shingles off of barns in the country, but a couple large ones hitting population centers.

this used to be a gas station

used to be a gas station

The biggest of the lot (with winds between 166-200 miles/hour) was on the ground for about 30 minutes, covering about 19 miles – and it hit very densely populated neighborhoods, including the apartment complex where this young woman and her children had lived.

Tornadoes are nearly perfect in their randomness – one side of a street demolished, the other having only a few limbs down. Some have moved on from the recovery support already – “Why didn’t they have renters insurance? Why can’t they get to the food bank?” Because they could barely afford rent! Because they don’t have a car, and are now living across town, away from family and friends who used to help with transportation.

Immediately after the storm, i hauled cases of water to anyone who needed it (as did many, many others in town). Food, snacks, diapers… someone called it the “Ratchet Red Cross – don’t wait for rescue, we’ve got to save ourselves!” After returning from the Canadia-land holiday, i found a small group of grass-roots warriors still responding to the evolving needs of the community – people who fell through the cracks.

Spending a few days a week working out of a donated warehouse, with no electricity and no lights, i began delivering food to people who couldn’t get to the food banks. More recently, my efforts have included moving overly abundant provisions (adult undergarments, toothpaste, toothbrushes) to other relief efforts who need what we’ve got. Sorting donations, throwing out expired food. Organizing. Renting a trailer and hauling furniture donations.

A few things i’ve learned along the way:

TornaDO: Ask what is needed TODAY! The supplies and needs ebb and flow. Yesterday it was canned meat, but today it’s cleaning supplies. Bring THAT.

TornaDON’T: Donate things you just want to get rid of… like that toilet repair kit, lawn sprinkler, the martini glasses, Christmas tree. Clothes? Ask first – but if you do donate clothing, make sure you don’t include used underwear, or fucking pantyhose. Please.

this cow - if no one claimed her she was going home with me

This donated cow – if someone hadn’t claimed her, she’d have gone home with me!

TornaDO: Offer transportation – either taking things to people, or people to things.

TornaDON’T: Offer transportation – and fail to show up.

TornaDO: Use the opportunity to ‘Kondo‘ your condo! Housewares, small appliances, dishes, pots and pans will ALWAYS be needed.

TornaDON’T: The bag of toys was a nice thought – but perhaps check to make sure there aren’t petrified cat turds in the bag before you drop it off…

donated - case and manual from a TI-30 (1980's) calculator

Donated TI-30 calculator case/manual from the 1980’s. Without the calculator…

TornaDO: Hygiene items are a hot item – shampoo, deodorant, feminine products, shaving cream, razors? Great donations!

TornaDON’T: If you go to the trouble to package up individual hygiene bags? Please consider putting in more than two tampons… maybe just donate the box?

TornaDO: Graciously offer to assist the nice woman dropping off a carload of supplies at the warehouse!

TornaDON’T:  Say “Can i give you a hand?” just as you notice she is missing one! Yeah. That was me… i caught myself in time, and managed to eek out “Can i give you a… help with that?” at the last minute. i was tired…

While i have moments of grumpiness, and i’ve come home pretty beat up some days, i’m encouraged by the number of people who are still working hard to help. But i keep thinking about that sleepy little girl, her entire world disrupted… Wondering how things are going to work out for her.

suckers and roses - for the survivors

Suckers and a rose go home with those coming in for help… 

These efforts are basically putting band-aids and boo-boo kisses on people who are suffering multiple organ failure…

For now, it’ll have to do. It

 

We’re captive on the carousel of time…

Seven years ago, The Boy and i hopped a plane for Istanbul to spend Christmas with The Girl. She’d accepted a job in Izmir the previous summer, and at the age of 25, moved here in July, 2011.

We spent Christmas Eve in a hotel, building the most beautiful Christmas Tree from beer bottles collected from the executive lounge. This year, my own tree is once again nestled in a box in my garage, five thousand miles away. That is perhaps the only similarity between that holiday and today.

2011: She knew no one when she moved here. She had made a few friends, was sharing an apartment with another English teacher at her school, and had a 45 minute commute to work via public bus.

2018: Her collective of friends is glorious, many couples including Turks and ex-pats. They surround her with love and support. She met and married a good man, bought a home, and continues to thrive as an English teacher in a private school.

2011: She’d studied Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at university. Not Turkish. Giving herself a crash course in the language during her first few months in country, she’d become conversant, and was able to take care of her personal business, connect with her students, and serve as an able tour guide.

2018: Fluent in the language, she can generally do rapid fire translation for me in real time. She has no trouble conversing with her in-laws, and has built friendships with vendors at the local shops. Unlike Europe, the vast majority of Turks speak no English, so she learned this by necessity.

2011: The Boy was 23, still attending university full time, and fighting The Demons that led me to believe he might not live to see 25. We were close, but i lived in constant fear of That Phone Call.

2018: He is married, with two children. After a stint in the Army, he’s made a home in the great plains, surrounded by extended family. A good government job, a fierce and gorgeous wife who has managed to tame the wild beast… When he and i were here seven years ago, this was an unimaginable future.

2011: i learned enough Turkish to order food and beer. To find a toilet. Navigate an airport or two. It wasn’t pretty, but i could generally pantomime my way through a transaction.

2018: After several visits, and over a year of online studies, i probably have the conversational skills of a small child – animals, colors, numbers, food. No problem with food/beverage, or shopping. i’ve even managed to have a few short conversations with my son-in-law’s family! They are probably more surprised than impressed, but are very supportive.

Christmas 2011

2011: The tree that year was beautiful. All that mattered was that we were together. The Boy and i were outside our comfort zone, traveling for a holiday in order to spend time with The Girl as she charted a new course for her life.

GammaRay with Bebek

2018: The tree this year? Pretty gorgeous. Seven years ago, this was also an unimaginable future. A gentle reminder from the universe that we really don’t know where we’re going…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

The hardest part…

Tom Petty got that bit right. The waiting. The countdown to “Due Date” seems to go into  slow motion during the final weeks of pregnancy.

i arrived in Turkey* almost a week ago. For the first time in my life, i bought a one-way ticket out of the country. My daughter let me know she was expecting right before i left for an extended trip to Spain in mid-April – she was about five weeks pregnant. As i trekked El Camino, i added weeks to the count as we crossed Spain. By the time we got home, she’d cleared the first trimester.

She and her husband traveled to the states in July, where we orchestrated a gathering of our entire clan – including my ex-husband and his wife. The first time we’d all been together since… well… pre-divorce (2004). When The Girl got married, The Boy was in the Army and couldn’t attend the wedding. The logistics were complicated but we were all together for a few days. It felt good.

The Band with Chorus RS

The rest of her pregnancy has gone well. Her school had hired an assistant/team instructor, so the transition to her maternity leave was seamless. She gets great medical care here – even with some cardiac issues, visits to the emergency room, and specialists in September, it didn’t cost her more than about $15 out of pocket**.

Yesterday was her due date, but Bebek has shown absolutely no interest in arriving on schedule. According to her obstetrician, “She’s very comfortable in there.” Bebek is already about 8 pounds. At the weekly check up yesterday, the doctor went through status, risks, options. The current plan is to let it ride for a week, with two check ups, and if nothing is happening, the delivery will be on Monday.

So we wait. We walk. It’s about 6 kilometers round trip from their home to the weekly bazaar. Their home is about a kilometer from a beautiful walkway along the Aegean Sea. It rained yesterday, so we wandered/waddled inside a gigantic mall.

Missing my travel buddy, who opted to stay home for this open-ended visit. We’ve discovered how much mindless fun it is to play with chat filters. We are dorks. We have enlisted the entire clan in this endeavor. They are dorks, too!

i’ve re-learned household routines, shopped, and planned meals to keep them fed. Put together a stroller that has more bells and whistles than my first car! Figured out their washer and dryer so i can assist with laundry.

Seeing her and her husband work through the preparations… Watching him help her put on her boots because she can’t bend over much… i’m excited to watch them become parents! They’re going to be amazing!

The waiting… Damn… It’s going to be a long week!

waiting

* The country, not the poultry.

** She gets 20 weeks paid maternity leave. Her husband gets two weeks. Paid. Her health care has been stellar, with very little out-of-pocket expense. She is a US Citizen, working and living in Turkey. The US has GOT to get its shit together on health care and family leave…

Rings a Bell

If you’ve been on board for any portion of my Trailer Park journey, you probably know that my relationship with my siblings has had many moments of “what the actual living, breathing FUCK?” After Mom died in 2014, our relationships were further tested as we worked through tons of her belongings. As executor, i was pretty stressed – meeting the intent of her instructions to me, both legally and morally.

Spending time with my sisters earlier this month, i was reminded that we’ve covered a lot of turf in the past few years. One particular exchange bubbled up into my memory bank…even though it was not discussed during our recent visit.

~~~~~~~~~

10 May 2016 – E-mail from S to DF: Mom was adamant that each of her daughters get a diamond ring which she put in the safety deposit box. I find it funny that they have just disappeared!  The one thing that Mom wanted me to have and it is nowhere to be found.  DQ [note: DQ is sister S’s daughter, and was Mom’s caretaker] knew Mom’s wishes and she would NEVER keep them.  No one else seems to be looking for them!

11 May 2016 – E-mail from DF to S: It’s taken me time to respond because of the absolute rage I’m experiencing (still) that you are accusing me of stealing the rings. This has been the angriest I’ve been in decades… I am STILL in a rage, but only now has it cleared my head enough to respond. Mom told me about the rings. I knew where they were supposed to go. They were not in the safe deposit box, nor any of the lockboxes at home. Not once did I ever suggest that DQ had taken them. Not. Once. I noticed Mom wasn’t wearing them during her hospitalization in July. I assumed they were safe. I can’t magically pull the rings out of my ass. I can’t go back in time and figure out where they are. I am beyond insulted that you are accusing me of EITHER stealing them OR not giving you something that Mom wanted you to have.

11 May 2016 – E-mail from S to DF:  I am sorry that you are so enraged about the rings.  There is nothing I can do to make them show up either.  If you don’t have them then you don’t have them.  I just want to make sure that DQ is NOT accused of taking them. Please call me – we need to talk.

12 May 2016 – E-mail from DF to S: I don’t have anything more to say. I’m furious. You accuse me of stealing (because you are worried that someone will accuse DQ of the same), question my integrity? This is not recoverable – words have consequences. It can’t be ‘talked out’.

Shortly after i sent this, i had to get in the car and drive to a regional university – i was giving a presentation that i’d worked on for months, pushing myself into new technological territory. While driving, i started getting calls, texts. i ignored them all. Arriving at the university, i took a deep breath and read my messages from S:

12 May 2016 – E-mail from S to DF: You are correct that words hurt and sometime things are said in anger that are not truly meant.  There is NO EXCUSE for the things that I have said.  To question your integrity is totally uncalled for.  For the anger and hurt that I have caused you — I’M AM TRULY SORRY!!!  What I have to tell you is that I found the rings.  Mom had put them in a box of costume jewelry that she knew I wanted and it had a ring box in it.  I took the box but never opened it.  I already had regrets for the things I have said before I found them and this makes it even worse.  Yes – I deserve it!!  I am extremely SORRY!  They mean nothing to me any more!  Losing my sister over them was not worth it!  I will send them to you to do what you want with and hope that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive me!

She found them

That all happened over two and a half years ago…

In September of this year, S and i planned our trip to Florida to spend time with sister, T, i suggested that she bring the rings – and that perhaps it would be a good time to distribute them. As S and i were preparing to leave for the airport and head home, we put the rings on T’s kitchen counter. There was no need to bring up any of the demons around the mysterious temporary disappearance of the rings.

It was 6:30 in the morning, and we were all pretty groggy. None of us were really sure which rings came from which of Mom’s three marriages, but we let T choose first. The set of two – probably from Mom’s annulled starter marriage – came to me.

We hugged. Made plans to get together again. It was what Mom had wanted – and although it took us four years, and a shit ton worth of angst to execute, we did it. And i have completely forgiven my sister…

Mom liked getting married

 

 

 

Balancing Act

Balance. With each passing day, it becomes more important.

If i lose my balance at this age, i can break a hip. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death for the elderly. As with any other skill, it must be practiced – which explains why i watch the news on TV while perching on one leg. Frequently screaming obscenities at the television when the news is particularly stupid. Balance is more challenging for me when i’m standing still.

But i have not been standing still. So far this year, i’ve been out of town, or out of the country, for 18 weeks. Given that i haven’t poked my head out here since August, here’s a glimpse of what i’ve been up to since my last post.  If you want more detail, just ask! Hoping to have some time next month to write more…

  • It’s not just about balance, but flexibility. Studley’s daughter, Pixie, moved to Alaska last spring. We decided to visit her before it became too cold and dark. Two weeks of exploring a few tiny corners of the state left us both ready to go back for an extended visit!  In two weeks we barely scratched the surface. We also deployed our small town tactic – stop by the local VFW or American Legion hall for a beer. Drink cheap, talk to locals, and find out what’s going on in town.
  • Speaking of what’s going on… We went to our first regional “burn” – like Burning Man, but on a much smaller scale. We felt quite at home among the 500 or so burners assembled at the site of a reclaimed strip mine. My days of sleeping on dirt are mostly behind me, so we brought our teardrop camper. One of the requests by the organizers was that we find a way to disguise the camper to better blend into the temporary tent city. i think we did ok…
  • Speaking of camping… We’ve been off in the woods a bit this autumn. That little metal egg keeps us plenty warm down to freezing. The bourbon helps, too.
  • Speaking of bourbon… Haven’t seen much of the extended family this year – in large part due to me being gone for months at a time. When my Florida sister, T, was selected for a significant honor this month, it presented an opportunity to reconnect. Oldest sister, S, has had a tough year – she beat back another round of cancer (Lymphoma), and finally retired. We decided to grab some cheap tickets and head south. A lot of water under these bridges, but there indeed be bridges. Baby steps.
  • Speaking of babies, i miss the crap out of these two li’l critters. Max is 3, and Ellie is now 1, and they are so much fun! But The Boy and his family are 1,000 miles away. That’s harder than i expected. Even more fun? The Girl is due to shell out her first child in a few weeks – which means i’m packing a large suitcase, and preparing for a trip to Turkey (the country, not the poultry). My third grandcritter is about to arrive – and will be living 5,000 miles away.

There’s more. So much more… but i seem to either have time to live hard, or time to write. For the moment, it’s going to be “live hard”. Operation “Speedball to the Finish Line” is well underway…