Seven Spring Memories

The first of seven memories goes to all those years of Good News Club lessons. Seven years is the time frame that Jacob waited for Rachel. His father in law tricked him and gave him Leah instead. “Leah was eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. (ESV)”. Jacob could not live without his love, so he worked another seven years for Rachel. Then the battles began. The story is found in the book of Genesis chapter 29. Why on earth would I think of this story from Genesis first with the though of the number seven? Could not I first have though of the seven days of the week, from the Creation account? Could not I though of the seven years of famine? Could I not have thought of any other story of seven? Bother. Must i even now be reminded of my delicate eyes? Let’s move on, shall we…?

The second spring milestone has to do with this blog. Seven years ago I decided to write an online journal. Typing comes fairly easy for me. And much of my written blog is actually begun as spoken. Since this blog began, both of my daughters graduated college and are now married. My pets are still two dogs, a dozen outdoor cats, and an unstable pony. We now have three wonderful grand children by the same set of parents. And my hubby now drives to the city and into traffic for his job. We put up a geodesic dome greenhouse, and I am still currently occupied keeping up with the chores of home and garden.

The third memory is from late spring and the busy-ness of the season. My daughter’s 10-year class reunion occurs this summer. Somehow I missed my first daughters’ tenth year out. Home school means a quiet family reunion of some sort should be planned. The graduation event ten years prior was not quiet. We filled the acreage with vehicles, family, friends, relatives, neighbors, music acquaintances, and the like came to celebrate. Of course for me the event was overshadowed with the loss of my driving license. My eyesight had deteriorated to the point of full peripheral blindness. Declaring legal blindness was not a public announcement likeour daughters choice of universities.

The fourth spring memory is both sad and glad. The first day of Spring always reminds me of our beloved family pet Furbie. It was on that date that we let him go the way of the earth. Though that might be hard thoughts and once upon a time I though I would never stop crying. Today we remember him with much fondness. He had such a large personality for such a little 22 pound body!

The fifth memory is a collection of thoughts. The revolving pet door has continued. We had a bad experience along the way that is that “unmentionable” name. And I made an error in personal judgement giving up my self-trained guide dog. Nevertheless the dogs and cats continue to coexist and Coca has outlived them all. Someone suggested that I get a “guide” horse. But really choosing one of the animals that I am most allergic to seems unrealistic. Just to have his hooves trimmed by the farrier requires every allergy medicine that I can take to avoid a disaster health wise. To me there is nothing fairy like about a farrier!

The sixth memory is one that we are making right now! Today my work in the greenhouse had some companion time. The two of them did share the bed for a bit. Tabitha was determined to bother Eva’s poor pig ear. I imagine that it should be removed or at least looked at once again. But at 13 years, I loathe to spend more money on her. I filled up the growing spaces with more plants. So the healing feline was well behaved. She has not even attempted to escape the dome. I think she rather prefers being “indoors.”

And finally the seventh memory. Brings me back to this writing thing. The site wants me to focus on the quantity of followers. But for me it is more about the journal itself. Looking back keeps the mind alert. Looking forward fills the heart with hope. Looking at each day gives one perspective and purpose. So seven years came and went pretty fast. My fourth year was the best in readership so far. I have not really focused on an exact memoire yet. And this week, it took me four days of 2-4 hours each day just to clean up and feed the gallon plus size geraniums in the greenhouse. They use to make me sneeze something awful. Especially when we used to stay at my mother’s house and she had then on every window sill and basement window-well in the house! Times have changedk, have they not?

A new home for Tabitha

Living on the family homestead has meant many domestic cats have found their home here. From the days when the kids were around to tame the four legged critters, things have not changed too much. The last ten years the names have revolved much like the population. Thank goodness our numbers have always stayed below a dozen. Maybe it is because the scoop we use for food holds just enough to feed nine or ten cats. However, the wild tomcat migration often catches unawares and spring means a new set of kittens now and again.

Some of our neighbors are into trapping and keeping their brood down to a handful. I’m wondering if that would have saved our expenses some. Nevertheless, this poor girl has a story of her own.

Tabitha came to our acreage a few years ago. We picked up five little kittens from a neighbor with different colorings then our boring black clan. The only other cat with different markings at the time was Autumn. And she had failed as an indoor cat, because she was so messy with her litter. I was a bit tired of the pebbles tracked all over the house. And our family has much cat allergy problems, so out she went. She was feisty enough to defend herself by then.

The following spring Autumn had some patchy colored kittens of whom three remain. It is a bit hard on the populous to live right next to a paved road. It lies 100 feet to the west. Some of the cats will cross the road to go hunt for years, while others don’t even make it the first year.

Tabitha, Boomerang, and Autumn all visited the vet for alteration at the same time. This assured that no one would get picked on for being different. That only worded for a year or so. Autumn is mean and tries to boss everyone around. Boomerang can hold her own and does not take much gruff. Tabitha is just too easy and kind. She has the sweetest personality and loves little kids. So when we began to notice abrasions on her body from the rough crowd, She won’t fight to stay at the food dish either.

A visit to the local vet confirmed our suspicions. She is just too nice. So after our return home, I decided now that the greenhouse is so full of plants, there really is nowhere for her to get into the grow beds. A few alterations to the environment were made. She slept well her first night there.

This morning I made one of the “cat hut” homes that are such a feline favorite. It only needs one door as there is no prey possibilities. She took right to her little house. A water dish, a food dish, and litter box are all in place. If I don’t see any activity in the litter I will have so make a smaller temporary “room” for her. There is just so many scratching options. Meanwhile, the plastic knives and hot pepper shaker found their way into all of the exposed soil areas. It has always worked outdoors so I am hopeful she is a fast learner.

Tabitha has a new home for now. We considered finding her a new permanent home, but she really does need some time to heal. I may even clip those nails so she is not scratching her own coat as it heals. She would be the second “gentle” kitty to be re-homed to an indoor lifestyle. The first was Sugar. She also was too gentle for the farm. A new home for Tabitha is accomplished for the moment.

This past week, I found a short poem on gardening that really made me smile. “Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, Or you can grow weeds.” Indeed, many people just don’t even try to cultivate the mind anymore. In this society of anything goes, they just let things happen, and don’t even try to be the master of their own thoughts. I do hope that inviting this little girl into the garden dome does not prove to be a disaster. Cats and garden just don’t mix real well usually.

And so it goes…

And so it goes.. you never expect your dog to bring back the collar that she lost over six months ago. And so, when doing the spring yard clean up, it was a pleasant surprise to find the collar that I paid 25 dollars to have her name and my phone number embroidered on. The return of the tag for vaccine info was nice also. We found a few other things that went through the roto rooter. That dog has an iron gut. I don’t thing the average dog would live after some of the things that she has ingested. We call it the typical Labrador genetics. Lab genes brings a garbage disposal to your fount yard. And most of the time it looks more like an explosion of some sort. She is such a little trash compactor and bulldozer. Thank goodness she has overcome her initial fear of the cats. when the refrigerator leftovers come out she is growling and snarling with her head in the bowl just like the other heads! EVA!!!!

And so on… Finding space in the greenhouse for all of the babies has been the latest project. I begged my hubby for some help on Sunday. And we came up with the one legged shelves to put the trays of pansies on. There are 120 clear dixie cups of pansy plants. Hoping to sell them at the local farmer’s market. And I am considering doing a donation to a local charity with the proceeds. And so on go the enjoyable tasks of watching things in the greenhouse grow.

And so forth… It took me five or six attempts to replicate a basket that I already made last year. This one did turn out swell. It was a challenge to get the beginning the same. And the handles are a little useless. Just for looks. I had an old ice cream tub to shape it on. To dry it stiff, it must be on a similar form. I love making the little baskets out of crochet. It is rather rewarding. And so from now on, I’ll just do an exact count before I try to copycat!!

And from now on…. I packed up my piano books the other day. It was bittersweet. Left out only the hymn books and a few other favorites. I have not been able to read the music because the RP has become so pinpointed. The tunnel is closing on so many of my activities. I have to study the music note by note and them memorize it for performance. My in-ability to read music makes me sad. But I have always been able to “ad lib” better on the third and fourth go around anyways. Memorizing it means the quality is there from the get go! Such slang we use in all of this gibber-gabber. And so from now on I will have to practice before the actual rehearsal. I am so thankful that my training through the years has lead me from reading, to chording to playing jazz improvisation to playing by “ear!” While I would readily admit that I can’t actually play by ear, one’s fingers must be used in response to the thought process in the mind. There still has to be some knowledge of the musicianship of piano to complete the task. So very thankful that I can still tickle the ebony and ivories!

Therefore…. While the family is all about their happenings and my life trudges on in absolute monotony, our Pastor’s sermon series on Isaiah has me buoyed up with many memories of my own studies on the great book. Here’s one of my favorite verses from the prophet found in chapter 26:4 “ Trust in the Lord forever. For in YAH the Lord is everlasting strength.” My own study notes have been misplaced, but nevertheless, the mind does recall much through the days and the nights. One night I began my own midnight worship session just considering the name of Yahweh, and the Hebrew whispering of the “Breath of God.” The Yah is spoken as an inhale something like a yawn and the Weh is whispered on the exhale. This name of the Lord is true to the Genesis account of creation in which the Lord breathes into the nostrils of man the breath of life. Our modern day common place use of the Lord’s name does not hold this intense reverence and awe in whispering the name of the Lord because it is too holy for unfit human lips to speak. If only we could hold such awe and fear of the power of our God to give life and to take life. Therefore, I will trust in the Lord forever. For indeed Yahweh (as a whisper of breath0 is indeed my strength and my song. Isaiah 12:2-3. HE alone has become my salvation.

In like a lamb

The old weather forecast says “In like a lamb, out like a lion.” Beware the ides of March. For indeed the weather dawns mild and warm for the month of March and the forecast says we will continue to lack rainfall or snow accumulation for this month. My third little grandee is gripping on tighter to her teeters this fourth month of life. Her great-grandfather ended February saying goodbye to another of his teeth. What a contrast in the ages. The weather has nearly the same contrast from day to day lately.

The coral kalanchloe has the most beautiful blooms and has been hanging onto them for nearly a month now. It loves being the centerpiece of my coffee table. I think I found it’s perfect climate! I purchased some little tea cup pots to give away in the next couple of months. The flowers will be full expanse by mid-March. i hope the transplant shock does not do too much damage. But I feel selfish keeping the blooms to myself. The crowded succulents seem to so happy!

Here is the baby progress in Greenfield Greenhouse. The left picture is the coral cannas that I split up in December just before Christmas. It is so scary doing such a thing. Of course some of the near 40 temps were a little hard on the early shoots in January. But the latest from February are growing with gusto. And the last week with nearly 85 temps in the afternoons has encouraged the tropical to put on plenty of new life! The tray of pansy seedlings is showing promise. The seeds were from a boughten package. I was hoping to transplant this week. That’s clearly too early. Perhaps by the end of the month. The petunia seeds that I saved all show hopeful leafage. Some things grow so slow! And then suddenly take off like geese to the skies. Which by the way I have heard two days so far flying overhead. it is one of my favorite spring sounds. Friday of this week I began to transplant the pansy cells. Uff day-I did not realize the tray is 200 cells not 100. Only 150 left to go. Time for some dixie cups.

We took care of the little flies and aphids or something that was attacking the Shasta Daisy starts. This one is the only bloom progress. Some of the seed that I received from my good friend in Minnesota produced a dozen or so starts. I think I will try to leave some in the landscape this fall. But will continue to bring some into the growing dome for overwinter division. Every time I have daisies left outside the winter is too harsh for the rebirth.

So there’s the update on growing! This month will continue to be busy with some spring cleaning in the house. Today I am doing the carpets with my “citrus” vinegar concoction and baking soda. Hubby informed me they are expecting uppers to take a few Saturdays to work in the foreseeable future. The first Saturday on his feet drove him to finally replace his work shoes with new ones. Hmmm…. I anticipate being well this month. My two weeks of “under the weather” in February was difficult to keep up with the plants, pets, and meals. This month should be better organized. I already have my mental list made.

Proof that airflow never hurts a geranium! This pale pink beauty is one of the ten seed geraniums that I picked up at a 99 cent sale. Since last summer the plants are just now bushing out. One of the rooted geranium babies decided to bloom since I cleaned “house” on Monday of all the blooms. This is one of my favorites, too! And there is ggrowth on the fig trees! These three sticks show promise of future fig trees. I though I would try to root some out over winter, but not much luck. Of 24 twig branches only these three remain.

Trial and error marks much of my growing dome experience. Some of the food attempts have been disappointment to say the least. Growing food really does work best outside. Our carrot trials have been very sweet but the miniature status over six months just not worth the amount of fertilizer one must use. Well, I am back in my hallway house and it is time to keep on with the spring cleaning. Some days I would rather just go back to play in the dirt!

The Silent Treatment

(Disclaimer: I do not sanction the use of coping strategies that punish oneself or another. Using aggression is not the answer. Fighting should not be a way of life.But fighting for life is a long battle. This week has been full of history making.)

When I was growing up my mother used this passive aggressive discipline technique (coping strategy) to get her children to see her way. It did not really work. The worst memory I have of this happening was the night she did not hear me say I was across the street babysitting. She used this anger management tool to keep from saying the wrong thing, though she already had. Her attempt at poetry to instill a value of trust did not work either. The two weeks following the incident were pretty rough. Being my senior year, it did not occur to me that having a message board for the family use would alleviated end the drama. Oh, well. This week my selence had an altogether different cause.

This morning I am drinking some green tea and blueberry herbal with honey. Hopefully the healing properties will help this nasty laryngitis to fly the coup. If only cold virus were so easily scattered like birds. Everyone thinks I am giving them the silent treatment. The one that suffers the most still tries to call me the most often. On the other hand, my doodle dog Honey has not barked in a couple of days because she does not know how to whisper. I think it is rather successful!

So I took my “down” time to learn a new pattern. This mosaic hat was a free video tutorial. I made the red and white first and then the reverse pattern blue second. It was satisfying to get a project done in just one day. Then after the fever began to break my voice disappeared.

February cones to a close this week. I wrote two other blogs nearly completed. I did not finish either one. Just had no conclusive thought. Story telling is not my strong suit I guess. I prefer the lesson of fables and something with a moral conclusion. Why, it seems, must I find a lesson in every thing? Willy nilly writing does not have analytical potential. Do we have to learn from everything?

I decided to makeover one of my brightest hats. I thought this pattern was a perfect fit for the bright colors. I wanted to do some mittens in the design but could only find videos of different designs. So I left these mittens because these fit so well. And so I came up with my own pattern.

All of the seedlings in the greenhouse seem to be okay. The plunge into artic air meant that the heat is on in the building. The propane tank ran empty and we have yet another day of frigid temps. I can’t believe that the temperature stays at nearly fifty degrees Fahrenheit. The full water tank, the black buckets, and the soil and plants are doing their job to keep it warm. Circulating the air kept the even feeling. I knew I should have called for service on Monday but now I have no voice and whispering does not work on a cry for help! Ha. The propane tank is full again and the weather will soon warm. Melting snow means mud. Ugh. But it also means spring is on it’s way!

Sometimes doing smaller projects makes me feel happy and fulfilled. Like I actually got something done. This week I managed to bake a turkey one day and make turkey soup and dumpling on another day. My energy level was pretty low. So I did not even go up to see my grand babies this week. I finished a mosaic shawl, and a Bavarian stitch shawl this month. Tackling a couple of small pattern ideas was next on my list. It is always fun to make new hats. And the remake was really enjoyable. Then I decided to attempt some mittens. I combined some pattern ideas and used the new mosaic stitch from the hat. Love them all. Now it’s decision time for what is next.

The final remake this week was interesting. Not sure that that I “like” this one. It’s a good thing the dumpling and soup tasted so good and helped us ride out of the week well. The yarn was a really busy “jazz” ombre and probably should have a coordinating color with it. But I used what I had. Resourceful is my middle name! And do you know how hard it is to do the same thing twice? Really hard apparently. I had two attempts at this one. I wrote down the mitten specs, but the second pair are a little smaller. Not as happy with the configuration. I prefer the look of the red and blue. It could just be the busy yarn. Oh, well!

I made it through my “sick” week. Fever for a few days and the laryngitis thing. Seems like any cold I get ends up in my throat of voice box. Gargling with salt water was the cure. And lots of tea with honey. We finally got some moisture with this bitter cold. Stuck inside while it is so cold outside was not so bad. The snow is such a welcome sight. I went out with the dogs and played frisbee in the fluffy stuff this afternoon. And yes, the mittens and hat worked quite nicely.

Stitches of Prayer

Numbers 6:24-26 “the Lord bless you and keep you/ The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you:The Lord lift up His continuance upon you And give you peace.” In other words, May God smile at you and may His gaze upon you bring Him joy1

More than a walk in the garden with the birds singing, and the gentle breeze catching a piece of my hair. Each project that I crochet has a rythm of prayer to it. The familiar song has the words, “I come to the garden alone…”. My crochet time is gernerally speaking my quiet time.

My plans for a crochet group / club in my area fell by the wayside when covid hist. I really was thinking that last yearwould be my year to start something new. Well, more than ever before, my alone time just simply escalated. So the prayer/crochet club was going to have to be tabled for a while.

Not just getting by on a stitch in a prayer life for me has got to have purpose. Every project that I do usually has a person on the other side of it. I pray for them, and want to give the item away with the knowledge that this person was covered in prayer long before the item arrived in their hands. It gives me peace to focus on prayer through all the stitches.

Praying through the projects sometimes involves a Bible passage in mind, other times it is just Spirit led. And on those rough days for me, a read aloud book keeps me going and the prayers often interrupt the book more than phone calls.

This waffle stitch baby blanket began before I knew that or we knew that grand baby number three was on the way. I had some yarn that I struggled with what to do. When the hook matched up to the stitch and the size of the thread, this stitch was the perfect combination. Needless to say, I did not have enough yarn to finish the concept. But the blanket is looking so lovely. And a November baby needs a nice warm cozy blanket, right?

“Stitches of Prayer“ is the name of the group that I would like to start. If you crochet with prayer filled purpose, let me know. If you live in my area and want to share your love of the craft with me let me know that too. If you want to join me once a month for a focus Bible study on the concept of “prayer projects” let me know that too. The first person that I am studying is Esther.

The above projects are all recent ones. My second attempt at the apache tear pattern mobias praer shawl worked out well. The size on a mobias is so hard to get right. The next stitch is a new one for me. The Bavarian box stitch turned out lovely but I need another cake of the caron yarn to finish. I took a break from the normal items to try my hand at a basket. The idea is to find some cheaper threads and make some cement pots for planters this spring during my early garden time. We’ll see if that happens. And the latest project is a new pattern that I actually bought the day that it came out for purchase! The “Ellas Gem” by BebaBlanket is so addictive. I think there is another writing brewing on addictive crochet habit.

Prayer is vital in my life. The last week and a half, I decided to give up coffee. The first few days were rather rough. Just drinking water my headache clearly screamed for caffeine. I felt that I was so addicted to the coffee drive that I was not even sleeping at night. Giving up coffee is hard for me. I actually love the taste. But I knew that my ability to function during the day was getting poor. Sleep is primary. The body must have rest. And my body had finally screamed loud enough for me to say no more coffee.

Ten days into the fasting from black liquid, I am much more clear of mind. My writing has been boosted by day time activity that I was unable to accomplish before. Wow! Sleep does matter. The only caffeine that I take in is in minor chocolate pieces, and some green tea or oolong tea. Both of these teas are considered body cleansers. And water is my new friend. (P.S. apparently coffee was not my sleep problem. I am doing some psychology study and find that “rumination anxiety” is a big problem for me. Learning scripture meditation and memorization of Psalms again is helping. But I am limiting my coffee intake yet.)

Meanwhile, I am going to put out the invitations to the stitches of prayer hopefuls. Feel free to check out my contact info or comment directly on this post.

Out of sight, out of … hands

Version 2.0 on the “out of sight” installments. Last one was just onee year ago on January of 2021. Perhaps I am getting closer to a title for my book. Haha

Out of min…

Some people think that loosing one’s mind involves not being able to find the car keys. For me it was the carrot smoothie in the fridge…. I spent nearly 10 minutes trying to locate the drink. I had taken it to the library, right? No, then I went to the living room. Oh, yeah in between all that i had used the restroom. Okay, where are you little carrot smoothie? I found it in the fridge.

Or maybe I had not lost my mind altogether. I was simply distracted. Until the book I was listening to brought up another entire area of loss that most people never think of. Gestures and facial expressions. Here’s my story and I am sticking to this one.

Out of memory…

A long time ago when I was just a teenager, I remember an incident that shook me up quite a bit. We were at one of those famouse birthday luncheons at the church where I grew up. This particualr evening, my dad was into his famous story telling moods. And whenver there was an audience to be had, he seemed to think that he was the center of everyone’s attention. So, when I ran about to fill up the coffee cups as my waitress heart deemed necessary, the next few moments were very much a tell tale of the RP digression of his eyesight.

The coffee was delivered, and the speaker was not attentive the the surroundings. I waited, and waited and waited to get his attention and let him know that the drink had been refilled. Suddenly, the story teller gave an unexpected hand gesture that upset the apple cart. But that was not even the pretty part. The surprise of the spilled beverage, the demeaning words and the angry expressions by my father in that particular setting (church) made for a memory tattooed on my hearts emotional being. Yes, the negative response is a memory somewhat repressed, but nevertheless not forgotten.

Out of words…

Years later, a friend of ours said that one’s emotional explosions and expressed words after an upset hot beverage are really what the person is really truly made of. When the coffee spills, how do we respond? Surprise and shock do not necessarily mean bad words. Sometimes, choosing words of blessing and apologetic behavior matter much. I always felt that my spilled milk was always followed by yelling and angry words. No reason to cry over spilt milk? Well, being blind and having the spills happen so frequently either makes one wise up and sue sippy cups, or find some other solution to the frequent spillages.

Out of mouths…

Dealing with an eyesight loss can mean a whole new change of character. My uncle lost an eye as a result of an unfortunate farming accident. I remember visiting with him about the changes in his life. One particular change was finding moved objects in his path with toes and shin bones rather than his eyes. Now he found himself frequently cussing and fuming. It was both exasperating to himself and to those around him. Apologizing for his surpised outbursts was becoming far to regular. Ahh, how eyesight loss changes the way we must move and the way we react to surpises. There is no more laughter at the jack-in-the-box events that happen. One soon learns to live in a constant state of tension while moving for the possibility of those awful little “weasels!”

Out of hands…

My gesture loss happened during my children’s high school years. I was done teaching club at church due to my hands constantly hitting an unsuspecting child. Pointing across the room only to poke a child in the eye was so distressing. The gesture loss was hard for me. I use to talk with my hands all the time. Who does not want to point a certain thing out while talking? This abilbity to throw my arms about during speech actually began to decrease the amount of speaking that I would do. It is really hard to stop acting out like a stage professional during a good story. But waving my hands about was not an option with the peripheral vision loss. How do I visit with others in group settings without being able to point or gesture in some common way?

The next obvious loss for me was the facial expressions and hand gestures of others in group settings. It is also hard to tell, who might want to jump into the topic next with a speech that they deem very important to give. While I may be able to view the person across the way, the others around the table disappear from my view. This might allow for greater focus, but moving my eyes around to catch the others reactions to a speaker is exhausting. This large group silence at times is really unbearable for me. Expecially when I still remember so much.

Except where my smoothie is…

It was during this loss of “circle movement” by the others in a group setting that I noticed some other things happening. More often then not, I was getting “shushed” by those around me. I had missed some conversation cue of eye, or gesture that indicated who was next in speaking. My thoughts that were so ready to blurt were getting stoppped up by those around me. This too was hard. I began to feel like certain people were treating me as if I were a misbehaving child. Becoming blind day by day, year by year does not mean that I am reverting in my behavior. Simply put, I was now out of the circle…

So now, I find myself listening more and more during group settings. When I am so desperate for interaction with people, I find that interaction being stolen by my loss of vision. The surpise of a cake plate upset on my lap or on the floor feels like a common occurrence while at family gatherings. Coupled by the deafness in my left ear, the abiltiy to even hear the oncoming delicasy, is hampered by the lack of sight. Plate on the floor. “Oh, no!” Learning to live life in a perpetual motion of “i’m sorry!” Is not very fun. Embarrassment and humility do not always gather closely. Sometimes the embarrassment is overwhelmingly sad. The feelings of loss and the inability to even help with the cleanup are so frustrating. Playing statue is not that easy!

I really don’t like surpises any more. Boo! Is not fun like the peekaboo of babies and little children. The last few times that we had Christmas present openings, I lived in a state of perpetual “what if the coffee spills?” And not knowing what was in the presents or trying to figure the item out in the semi-dark was exasperating. Having the person next to me tell me what each item was supposed to be and trying to find the right facial expression after my completely confused confoundedness was not enjoyable. I began to really dislike opening my gifts. Watching the others was somewhat more enjoyable. But oh, how I needed a little parrot on my shoulder telling me all the happenings about me. It makes one feel very alone in a crowd.

And that’s the last experience that I want to share on my way towards becoming invisible me. The last time that I went to a church event without a close family member was very painful for me. Extended family that has not grown up with a “blind father” does not really understand the needs that arise as the Retinitis Pigmentosa progresses. While I could walk a straight line down the sidewalk, I could no longer navigate a crowd of people carrying plates at a potluck. Attending the church without my husband had turned out to be a “fatal” choice for me and I had become invisible. No one in my current church was familiar with the challenges of RP and I was left sitting in a corner throughout much of the meal event. I finally left the crowd and sat in the sanctuary alone. Truly alone. My ability to “flow” through the plate bearers left me feeling very disabled. I cried without end over the potential of “spilled milk.” I called my husband, and he was able to come and pick me up. The rest of the day was spent in tears. The people that I had gone with did not understand my needs, were busy and had not ever checked on me. I felt unable to express myself and ask for help in a situation that left me feeling so invisible.

Recently I read “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien and found it very full of forward motion. The adventures of the hobbit keep one listening just to see what happens next. In the book the discovery of a magic ring gives the little fellow the ability to become invisible and disappear from danger and tribulations. Honestly, being invisible and feeling invisble are two totally different phenomenon. Choosing to shrink from view within a public event and loosing the ability to see who all is there in the public setting are two opposing feelings. Being blind in a community setting makes everyone present invisible to the blind person. Not a very fun feeling when you walk into a group of people and all of the talking stops. This has happened to me so many times that I cannot count. I can begin to imagine however what it is like to walk into a room that feels full of people but seems empty until someone addresses my presence. My father’s ability to get the group to burst out in laughter helps to break the ice about his blindness and lets him know just how many people are really in the room. I don’t see myself ever being “on display” as that-blind-lady. I don’t see myself breading the ice with bad jokes just to count the voices of laughter within the space. i don’t see myself as others see me. I cannot.

My position in a group setting is usually at the piano with the whole commune behind me. Sometimes I wish I could turn the piano around so that the people were in front of me instead of behind me. Maybe that’s the next change in my life. For now I’ll let them see my hands while I play piano since I cannot. (P.S. My therapist said that I am not supposed to use “can’t” in my speaking or writing anymore. I asked her if she still could drive a car… I said, “I cannot.”)

Still trying to find myself

This is an RP update. I did not know that when I first started writing this one. Sometimes the journal of going blind one day at a time gets an entry. I could call it the Chronicles of Yvonne Annette. Not sure anyone would even read such a book.

Seven years into blogging and I am still trying to find myself. Just the other day I decided to look up some of the history. It is really pretty embarrassing to discover that my writing has taken so many twist and turns. Perhaps that is normal.

For one thing, I find it hard to be completely frank and honest. Someone might actually read my blog that knows me and ask me a question that I do not want to answer. Here are a few potential nightmare questions… “How can you say that you are blind and still crochet?” “Why don’t you just get a job and have something to do that way?” “Where is your focus and purpose for this blog?” “When are you ever going to write something that earns money?” “What do you really want to do with your life?” “Who reads this stuff anyways?”

Here’s the thing, for the most part of my fifty years I did not know those answers and I am not even going to attempt to try! Writing for me is a release. Just an exercise, kind of like taking a walk that has no purpose. Every once in a while we take a walk that actually leaves us filling fulfilled and happy. Every day I send my dog out to do her business or on the days I actually go with, there seems no other purpose than just doing the routine.

Routinely writing for me is relaxing and a way to release often unintelligible thoughts. Once in a great while, the thoughts find a path and I find a gorgeous waterfall. Other times all I notice is the barren ground and large cracks in the winter earth that are screaming out for some snowfall moisture.

Today is one of those awful after-insomnia days. The ruminating thoughts that keep me awake at night are nothing worth repeating. Yet on they go. Sometimes, my mind is so hyper-alert it feels as though I did not get a wink of sleep. The sheep counting “God Bless You”-s did not work. The Bible mindful listening did not work. The warm milk and hot tea did not work. The pre-slumber routines did nothing to aid in the sleep process.

Last evening I went to church to do a recording with a friend. The song was quite repetitive and the count patterns got stuck on repeat for my mind. Also, when I used the facilities to release my full bladder, I walked right into the wall afterwards. How could my tunnel vision keep pulling so many tricks on me? I am constantly finding myself “lost” these days. Often right in the bedroom while turning in circles to put away my clothing. I ran right into the table the other day in the kitchen while doing the dishes. Had I forgotten the table was there? I was not paying attention to my other senses and did not even realize that the rug under my feet was actually NOT there. Ugh. This blind think sometimes catches me by surprise.

In just one half hour the brand new song was embedded in my memory and I had to play it by little signs like # * > 1 2 X and letters for chord names. My focus on how many times of certain chord patterns kept me from reading the words all together. Besides, unless they are size 50 type, I would not be able to read them anyway. Same girl?

On another note…. The ability to learn a new piece of music is getting to be shorter and shorter time expense. The song was mentioned to me one day. I listened to it a few times the next day. We ran through the piece with some “guitar chord lead” sheets that same evening. And by the third go round I actually did not loose my place in the sheets and words. This is the same girl that failed her first few recitals in early years of piano lessons. This is the same girl that could not memorize pages of classical piano for the jury sessions in college. This is the same girl that could not play a single note by ear training in the early years as church pianist. This is the same mother that made her little string playing children switch positions to play a song in the key that it was written so that mommy could accompany them at the nursing home church services. This is the same woman that bombed reading the music for her daughter’s senior recital and ruined the whole event (in my mind.). This is the same woman that one church rejected as pianist because she could not play the praise and worship “style” that they wanted. (Which by the way is the same “style” that she now plays completely by ear with just a guitar chord lead sheet!)

Not hardly. I feel like a completely different person than I was at twelve years old. I feel like a different person than I was even at 40! How do I make peace with this new me?

Winter garden

This little snow lady is my most recent “snowman” in my collection. Usually the the little snowball people go on my piano top. This year I only put out my favorite ones. The Less seemed best in these days of living big in my small hallway house! I have been living in a “small” house for two decades. It makes one choosey about our collections.

After painting the living room and hallway a white color and discovering the ceiling also needed a fresh coat of paint, my love for the “white” in my life is showing up everywhere. I finally unpacked my white milk glass collection and put it back on top of the kitchen cabinets. As mauch as I like the little snowman, I am not the first to go out and build a cold icy wet one when the opportunity arrives. The cold air is just not so fun anymore.

So… This little “garden” loving figure was the perfect gift from my daughter for the holidays. (Even though technically it came after the holidays were over.). I am really going to enjoy the little figure with it’s air plant this year.

Winter gardening for the most part involves house plants, seed planning, and dreaming about spring and summer. Rooting our geraniums in the greenhouse and constantly monitoring the temperature is also on the daily to do!

Meanwhile, we studied up the best option for a physically fit piece of exercise equipment for out small house. Both of us managed about five minutes on the rowing machine the first day! I was up to ten minutes on the second day with a well rested body. We shall see how many videos on YouTube actually keep me fit this year. I’ll probably have my favorite “house plant tour” video memorized soon. Haha.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday are going to be my official work days in the Greenhouse. If I can just keep my focus and my lists and the plans going, there should be plenty to “share” with family and friends of the growing dome. Today, I managed to get three hours in before my asthma got the better of me. Yesterday, I had to apologize to my asthma control specialist. Honey was so sticky and annoying Sunday morning while I was trying to get ready for the day. I actually got angry with her at one point. Then, the true nausea and shortness of breath kicked in and my Honey doodle would not give up the nudging. She was right. She actually nudged my hand three or four times even while I did the inhaler. “Thanks, good girl. You are the best!”

The oregano received a new home. There are three little four inch pots to “share.” And the beds all received a bit of clean up as I prepare for new planting and the seed starting trays. The Baby Sun Rose is looking about ready for it’s haircut. This lovely spiller works great in the planter displays.

And of course what is a trip to the greenhouse in the winter time without a little time to “enjoy the roses?” These pink geraniums are the joy of my work day. The soft pink seed geranium that I picked up on clearance are looking awesome. I think there are ten total. The Blush pink is the mother plant to a dozen new cloned babies. And the Bright Coral plant is a mother also. I can’t remember how many babies I have from that one. I am so grateful to my mother plant donors for the joy of working with these lovely flowers.

And finally, I am trying to finish up a new stitch shawl. The Bavarian Box Stitch is my latest know-how. And it has been rather fun to learn something new. Of course every stitch is done with prayer and someday I will finally get to start that club. “Stitches with prayer” is a dream of mine. One day…