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.

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?

10,950 days

And What of the Nights, my Love?

Every day, Every hour, How do we count the ways?

Only one love for me, but all 12 months, all 52 weeks and all 365 days for the past 31 years, I have been his, and he has been mine.

All twelve month squares are done for my temperature blanket. I started putting them together, and then we went to the eye doctor. I left my readers to get new lens, and unfortunately the lab broke my frames. I am kind of grumpy about the whole thing. I had that gut feeling that I should just buy new frames since mine were three years old. But my mother has had the same frames for the past 10 years. Surely, mine were not very old. Ugly thoughts. But I will keep my writing sane.

How do I count the days, my Dear? And what of the nights, my Love? We will never tell, my Sweetheart. We will never tell.

Am I to consult the stars? Or the sand? Could I count the raindrops? How can I tell others how much I love thee? Shall the hours apart take you from my heart?

Oh, my love, my one and only ever love

The fifth song on the CD is dedicated to my Only Love. Written during the poetic year of engagement, it is the melodic theme of our romance. How do I talk about the one who holds such sway on my being?

Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty days of wedded bliss will soon be ours. I though 25 was a special year. Maybe for the significance of our children going off into the sanctimony themselves, but thirty? How do you some up thirty years with no less words than the days we have spent together? It seems so impossible.

Think of holding hands for nearly 31 years. The first date ended in the hours of darkness. The advantage of blindness meant holding hands on the very first date. It’s like we never let go.

Once upon a time, my first daughter was in conversation with one of her elder professors at college. He attested to the fact that her parents were so cute always holding hands. She stated in matter of factness, “Well, it’s because my mom is blind.” The gentleman protested her bluntness. She continued in factual manner. “No it’s true. She can’t see in the peripheral, so he holds her hand., That saves her from getting lost.” Honestly, my husband would rather she replied, “Oh, but he rather likes holding her hand.”

Nah, kids will be kids. They never look at the romance involved with their parents. Until their time comes, romance is disgusting. Holding hands does keep me from tripping, or otherwise loosing my way!

This is why we don’t marry our brothers. One time I went to a hospital visit with my brother to see my uncle. At one point in the maze of hospital halls there was a split. I went one way and my brother went the other. He was not into holding my hand I guess. He did come back to get me though. At a later date, I was with my youngest brother to the zoo with his family. He had no problem holding my hand. I was very grateful for the face saving gesture. And there have been a couple of times at night that my son-in-law has had to grab my hand to keep me from finding a pole in the dark of the night. Thanks! But all the same, I rather like having my husband help me.

How can you remove the cream from the coffee? Especially after the beverage has already been processed? Once the black turns cafe latte, it is not going back. Creamed soda could never return to its seltzer water and syrup. Once the two have blended they are unchangeable, completely integrated and the fizz though it return to air, cannot take with it the taste. Thoughts of the worst soda ever that I tasted remains in my memory. One of the children’s medicine bottle, the bitterness of illness and happiness of recovery exist altogether as one.

Here are the first three months of the year in a quilt strip. January, February and March are put together with a mosaic triangle pattern. I decided to use a more contrasting color scheme because the ones close in ….. are hard to see. Making it easy on the eyes makes the project fun rather than a chore.

March is nearly half past. Like an hour at thirty minutes, it seems the time goes by too quickly. The herbs are up. And some are ready to go into the next size pot. Some were a fail and needed to be resown. Today is St. Patrick’s Day. It seems a good time of year to sow something green! So I will probably spread some more grass seed out in the dry patches from last fall.

Recently, my second daughter purposely misquoted a familiar statement.

“Spice is the variety of life!”

I decided that it is probably a better motto than the real quote. Sometimes it feels like life is so full, you can hardly stand up. Other times, life feels incomplete and missing much. While considering this song on the CD I decided that one other little story ought to be told.

When we were still in our honeymoon phase, our kitchen spice cabinet had five spices. Salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and cinnamon. I really had not had my own kitchen up until that point, so spice variety was not something that I knew. My mother-in-law laughed at me to see such a simple palette of spices. Now, years later, I have more spices that she does. And much of what I cook with regularly, I grow. I cannot imagine cooking without parsley, oregano, cilantro, or marjoram. And the benefits of cumin, turmeric, and ginger are not lost on my cooking. And who would have though that nutmeg goes in meats?

Anyways, spice is the variety of life! And Spice must surely add variety into our lives. Even though we do not cook meals as often as we use to, spices are still a big part of our kitchen experience. It is pretty difficult to remove too much pepper out of the meatballs also. That day was a migraine day for me and who would expect a six year old to read the recipe properly. My husband was the lifesaver once again and took us to the drive inn for hotdogs that night. The many experiences that we learned from in life keep us together.

I am so glad that the rough patches were just a little sandpaper to smooth the surfaces. The many woodworking projects that we have done through the years have taught me that also. Not only have we done life together, we enjoy it. You can’t compress 30 years into one blog any more that one tree with all of its memories can be just a wooden table. That project is still waiting to be completed.

So now you know. We enjoy being married. We recommend it. And 10,950 days went by so fast that it seems like only just yesterday we were posing out behind the church for our pictures! We smiled so much that day that our cheeks muscles hurt. Haha!

Is Hindsight Really 20\20?

When we remember things with a skewed sense of reality…

Here is the thought that got me considering hindsight, and I’m not talking about the butt end of a roast or anything else of that sort. This year is in fact 2020, so why not think upon all of it’s various connotations.

Recently my mother started the whole sibling group on a “remember when” game and the focus was the earliest snow in our state. The consideration was in September, but now we are already into October. Snow is expected for our area within the week. The northern part of the state had snow and ice this week.

What each one remembers is truly based on the strength of that persons memory. I do not remeber any snow earlier than October 31st within the first year of our marriage. Then just a few years ago we had snow that landed the bean crop in disarray. That snow was earlier than Halloween, but the exact date just does not stick in my head. Lots of people lost cattle during that snow.

When considering the whole vision thing (20\20) is really about how well one can see on things put in front of the eyes. This has nothing to do with the foresight of whether to plant corn or beans for the best harvest value. If one sees best at close up or and distance we have names for that kind of vision. Well, in life experiences, some people are truly better at foresight, while others are good and hindsight. I will try to explain later.

Even more skewed in my mind is the memories that I have of our families first home in the northern part of the state. I vaguely remember running under the old metal table from the late sixties. I was so short and so young, it was a great spot to hide from my sisters. Funny how I do not remember the moment that stopped my under the table “cross country” home runs!

And answers that we were seeking are no longer questions to be asked. We can see clearly now. Hindsight brings us clear vision and the view is nearly 20\20. Is this the thought that we will have some years down the road? A few years from now we will look back. Right now we simply try to look forward and all that we see is the moment. The difficulties of the day seem insurmountable.

Foresight tells me that this is the plague that is taking away our history. So many elderly people are being lost to this virus. This disease seems to be taking the people that gave us our history. They are the ones of our past. The gray haired populous is considered at risk in this pandemic world that we live in. But hindsight is telling me they are not the only ones at risk of this disease. Some younger people suffer and just this week the world news exploded with the news of a 38 year old dieing in flight because of the virus.

We all have so many opionions about everything, and yet there is still only one breath between all of us and the future. The next breath could be our last. We never know.

But here’s a look at the past few weeks here in my neighborhood.

Our outdoor living space is complete. We made a 2×4 slat bench to add to the collection. The recitation bench along the east wall of the house came from our old grain shed in Iowa. The place that we lived had three delapitating buildings: the grain shed, a small animal barn and a garage. The garage was the first thing to go. After the spring snow melted and we discovered it was full of the trash from the previous occupants, we lit a match to the whole lot. Of course the fact that the propane tank was less than ten feet from the building was quite a frightful thought. The grain shed and the basement held a number of pieces of furniture that still grace my home today.

The swing is an old crib remodel. Haha. The crib was the one that Gavin’s dad and siblings all slept in when pre-toddlers. Today it would not fit the safety regulations as the bars are too distant in measurement. It makes an amazing back porch nap zone.

The focus of all the pets attention is the deck box. It contains their food. We have had to discard of a few wild critters in the past as raccoons can figure out how to lift the lid and help themselves. Thank goodness for the new addition to the family. Eva has kept them away since her arrival.

The slat bench has wood that came from the top of the barn. All the pieces were well over fifty years old and rough cut lumber. We spent quite some time getting each piece to the correct measurement. The staining of the top pieces made the construction of the slat bench really pop. It is a pretty good nap zone also. However, these cooler temps are not the best for such things. The finish is an old oil based recipe from Aussie Timber care. It has kept my benches and other outdoor pieces in tip top shape.

This mosaic crochet afghan is now complete. It does not have a new home yet. Because I was born in the spring, I prefer bright and bold colors more than fall. I have a perpetual spring in my greenhouse and could bore you with my pictures of flowers.

The pattern on the blanket is “What comes around, goes around.” The square spirals were really quite fun to crochet. The border and the separation lines are a simple steppe pattern. I think they kind of look like “z’s” and that makes it a good sleeper’s warmer! While I thoroughly enjoyed the process of crocheting the afghan, the colors just did not thrill me. So if there’s a friend of mine in love with it, they better holler quick. Otherwise my sister will find a home for the burnt orange delight.

Lately, I found the cold a bit too nippy on my fingers. So I decided to remake a couple of my hat and mitten pairs. I started with my everyday set that keeps me from the frost while doing the morning rounds. Honey and I go out to greet Eva. She sleeps in the heated hut outdoors. We scoop a bowl of kibbles for the cats then head out back to do the business. Next we run to the greenhouse to check the temperature. I give Cocoa a can of oats. Then we run like mad to the house because the north wind is so bitey.

This little whimsical hat was part of my creations from last spring. It is a scrappy hat. In other words, I used some scrap chunks of yarn and made a hat that was one of a kind. So the other day after perfecting my mitten pattern on a different set, I sat down and pulled up some yarn chunks to make my “whimsy set.” Something of the Oma in me enjoys wearing such a silly little dunce hat. The ball always gets a lot of attention either from little kids (while shopping) or even from other peoples pets (they can’t take their eyes off of the ball dangling from my head). Well, with a Grandmother name like Oma, why wouldn’t I enjoy a little whimsy in my life? My favorite books were the Dr Suess and I still can’t resist buying one even if I can’t read them anymore.

People with foresight always seem to get things right. They dream forward. They plan ahead. They look to the future with hope and ideals. People with hindsight are always talking about the past, looking into history with new perspectives. Trying to discover the truth about how things really happened. Maybe even considering the latest conspiracy theory. Ahhh, now I don’t believe that’s all a blanket approach to the whole of living.

My vision into the distance has always been a little poor. Having someone else to explain exactly where the moon is has made it much easier to find. Even if I can’t see the “man on the moon” I can still imagine it. And now my closeup vision has gotten a little more challenged also. Losing the peripheral view of the world, does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on in the world around me. It just means that I run into things far more frequently than I would like. It also means that my husband has to sort my little yarn chunks into the right color coordinations. White and yellow seem to be so close in color these days.

Whether you like to look ahead and dream of the future or whether you are an avid history book reader, one thing is the same. We all breath the same air. We are all fighting for another day another breathe. Today I want to aknowledge that I believe that breathe of air comes from my Soveriegn, Invisible Source. God the Creator who breathed into that first man Adam the breathe of air,

Psalm 144:4 “Man is but a breathe of air, His days are like a passing shadow.”

These days I do not visit my grandchildren as frequently as I would like. The fear of covid probable keeps me away more than I would like to admit. Being high risk in the health area is not something that I want to frequent in this blog. So I will just say that looking to the Author of this vapor does give me meaning and purpose to make each and every visit of high value and very enjoyable. They bring me so much joy, even if it is just during a phone call with childish squeals in the back ground. Looking at each day, week, or month as a passing shadow is one thing, considering my life to be but the passing shadow is another thing entirely. For now seeing these little faces as a small token of my shadow cast into the future is almost too deep a thought for consideration.

Thanking my Creator for every breath of air. Looking to a brighter Future tomorrow.

Contemplation stone

Think, think, think!

The last five weeks have been very full. That does not mean there has not been time to think though. I’m not sure I shall ever be that busy again.

The garden’s fall harvest is in full swing and the business of putting away our winter store kept us very busy. We gave away a lot of produce this year thanks to our decision to increases our garden plot by 200%. Don’t judge my math, I am not the engineer in the family.

So one weekend while waiting for some more tomatoes to ripe, we took on the rock pile and found a few statement stones to place around the greenhouse for the landscaping project. It looks so much better, I don’t know why we did not start this sooner. The perenials that I wish to put around the perimeter will wait until next spring. The dry weather just makes watching them die after a fall plant too depressing.

While we were at our binge exercise plan, we found a large flat stone for a bench. The contemplation stone only named such, and has an amazing comfort to the weary back after bending over the garden tasks. So, think, think, think, we like our beloved Winnie the Pooh Bear, now have a spot on which to contemplate all sorts of topics.

On adding another teaspoon…

Most of the zuchini is made into our favorite pepper relish. Adding just one teaspoon more of the hot dried peppers from the past season can make it nearly inedible. The sweet pickle relish with a kick is a family favorite and keeps the jalapeño plants purposeful.

The tomatoes find their way into salsa more than chilli, or Italian sauce. The family recipe for the salsa can be tweaked by just adding so many habaneros or so many jalapeños. The number is contemplated with precision or the mild batch turns into “fire-salsa” pretty quickly! Oops!

Filling up wonder…

The back porch swing received a new coat of paint along with the propane tank. The gas bubble is not near as adorable as this little girl. She had a cry-fest for this moment. Yep, Grandma let her win. I forgot she wanted to spent a few moments on the swing. So we went back outside to ride the wave. The shade, the breeze and the motion are so very relaxing. Even though it delayed my supper preparation by fifteen minutes. I loved seeing the wheels in her little mind churning in wonder and contemplation.

Grandparents day went by without a peep from the grandkids, but a weekend in August gave us a chance to have the little gal for an over-nighter. Our little two-derfully wonderful toddler has us guessing what goes on in that little head. Sometimes she expresses herself quite clearly, other times we are left to wonder. The best thing about grand-parenting is filling up little brains with wonder and awe as they discover new things and experiences.

Testing boundaries…

Another of our projects was filling up a rather large ‘dead space” with interest. The butterfly shape is just full of rocks for now, but next spring I hope to clean out the rocks and fill it in with interesting flowers and perenials. I have a lot of the seeds already and plan to jumpt start some planters in the greenhouse. Then, fill in the spaces with seed to sprout on their own. The cats seem to think I have created a new playground. The dogs chase the cats through the stones, and they are all testing the boundaries of my patience. During the same time frame of placing all the rocks, our Doodle decided to hunt in the dug out hole out back. Of course she suffered an injury that needed surgery. So we spend another five hundred dollars on her. She healed up nicely and there is only a small imperfection in her thigh. Honey just does not seem to in-dear herself to us in a calm fashion. No matter what happens, the stinger finds a way in somewhere. Honey still won’t loose-leash unless she has a harness. So we wrap the leash around one or both front legs and she’s like a horse that walks on a string of twine. Oh, well. There have been days when she guides me like she went to school for the job, Other days I want to send her away to the kangaroo boxing school.

The view from here…

This little guy is the highlight of my Tuesdays. He watches his sister with so much concentration. His gurgles and giggles when she pays attention to him are so full of glee. I know that the view from here will only become more and more amazing each week that I see him.

I am thankful that for us the threat of the virus seems to stay at least three or four people removed from us. My husband knows people off from work because of the virus, but they never seem to be someone he has any close contact with. We had a nephew that recovered well from the virus, leaving his pregnant wife and four year old untouched by the illness. So for now, I will keep visiting my little grand babies.

Returning to the library…

Going back to finish a project left undone can mean many things. Facing the past failures, or the moment when something had to be redone. This lap-ghan was not nearly the end project that I had envisioned. The smallness actually took me by surprise. However, the stitch pattern that took so much concentration makes it highly valued to me. I can’t see letting it go like a carpet of leaves on the lawn. Give aways are part of my purpose in crochet, but this one might cause me to cling for awhile.

My library / office sat empty much of the month. I spent so much time baby sitting the stove during the last few weeks, I just did not get in here. Sometimes the thought of sitting amongst all those books that I can no longer read, or read with difficulty, I just avoid it.

Then, there was the new update on my blog host, so I was stuck until my hubby got me out of the mud. Any time that changes are made on the site (and sometimes inadvertantly by me) I could sit for days or weeks in limbo. Asking for the help is usually the key to unlocking my difficulty.

Also, this past month, I spent contemplating the though of stem cell therapy for my eyes. There is a company that does the stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. We made a few phone calls and did some research, but the risk of traveling with the virus and the fact that it is out of the country have made me very skeptical. Is the risk really worth the travel and the money?

For now I feel like someone is giving me a hefty dose of wonder and another teaspoon just might put me over the edge. Perhaps, I shall just sit here on my contemplation stone and let the whole of life pass me by. Living life in the high risk category sure makes for a rocky path. The boundaries seem so unclear and out of focus. Perhaps, this is just not the time to gather the honey.

Operator error

Follies and fortunes with Honey

The follies and fortunes of owning a mixed breed dog have been part of our co-existence for three years now. It was of course my foolishness that requested a “hypo-allergenic” dog as a guide dog companion. Having no previous experience with either a poodle, or a golden retriever should have been a warning signal. Choosing this breed mix was a new challenge altogether. The misfortune of owning such a hyper energetic dog is that I do not run marathons for a living. Frisbee has become our mode of energy draining!

In this day and age of technology driven work and social lives this is one sign that we hope not to see. However in-frequently it’s message interrupts our screen this message clearly points fault. Today while blind guide training my dog the message spoke loud and clear. Operator Error was flashing a message loud and clear. Let me explain myself.

For the past month Honey and I have been training independently on guide dog behavior. Most days we work together-that’s a joke. The independence that I mention is without the aid of a certified guide dog therapist or trainer. Together, I have learned that she still backs away whenever the harness comes out. High value treats help some. Together, we have been learning the words or commands associated with the use of the harness. Together, we are learning some completely new skills.

HOWEVER

Yeah, you knew that one was coming. Because of her her hyper energy and sensitive nature, communication between the operator and the wearer has been rather botched. For starters, we have had three years without the use of the tool. The harness acquired less than a month ago is new to Honey. Most guide dogs get the harness fitted at full growth spurt completed. Approximately one and a half years.

Day One had my sensitive hyper bee jumping kangaroo style every time the handle found contact with anything. She has always gotten more agitated every time we get ready to go somewhere. We would try to put her in a stay mode, and it never worked. The more I move around, the more she moves around. Getting ready to go anywhere, meant there is a sixty pound banana following you. We were sure to run into her frequently in the search for shoes, coat, hat, purse, backpack or anything else needed for the “going.” Needless to say, it has taken her three weeks to learn STATUE. Learning that the harness handle bumps into chairs, doors, walls or other items if she does not stand still, took a little bit of patience. So week three has arrived and Honey now stands still in statue after the harness is on. Yep, she’s smart. (Three weeks seemed like a long time to me.)

Okay, next lesson.

With the harness on our roles are completely reversed. She is no longer a sixty pound banana behind me. Now, I am the drag weight in the tractor pull. Wherever she goes, I follow. This is hard to do. TRUST. That’s not very easy to do when this jumping jelly bean has broken my nose in the past. Her excitement has to be toned down somehow. So the other day while going for a walk, I actually followed her. Into the ditch we trailed the scent she had just discovered. However, because free-time is not while she is on the harness, it did the kangaroo hop that she does when she is excited and does not know what is next. “Oh, no, where are we? What are we doing here? What happened to the road we were walking on? Why do feel like sliding down a slippery slope into the abyss? Where’s the road? Where is my walk?” It worked. She got us back on the road and towing the white line on the edge.

On to the blind guide training and the operator erro. So today we took the harness for a five minute waltz. Just the the green house and a few other frequented places on the acreage. At first I said, “Go to…”. Each time I began with that phrasing she turned to go for a walk. Ergh. My frustration was setting in. Doing this trust thing is not going very well, I told myself. Try again. “Find…”. YAY! We have success.

Finding OUR way

Find is her favorite game. We have spend many rainy days playing find tug, or find car, or find ball, or find cookie. I show her the toy we are using, ask her to sit-stay or place. Then I go throughout the house pretending to hide the item until I choose a spot. Sometimes I continue pretend for more than the actual placing of said object. Then I return to Honey and praise her for stay and say FIND.

So, operator error flashing, I began to ask my harnessed guide dog to “find” various places around the acreage. Wahlah! We had success. Apparently GO means a walk, or the car, or go with. Communication to a dog has always been a challenge for this family. We had a little dog for ten years that refused to COME. But if you said “Go” follwed by your own name, he came right to you. Somehow in the training years come meant bad things to the little furball. I hope it does not take me ten years to figure out this girl.

Horse sense

If only I had an ounce

Crafting is really not my thing. I own a glue gun so that repairs can be done. It never fails that at some point in using the glue gun I burn myself. Part of the reason is simply not having the peripheral vision to see where the other dots of glue landed in comparison to the one that I want to use for adherence. Bother, I tell myself. Why am I fixing this broken thing anyhow? Maybe I should just toss it and buy a new item.

This morning the horse had his date with the ferrier for the second time. Trimming hooves could be a dangerous job without the aid of a good bridle and hitching post. Thank goodness my husband had enough sense to put in a hitching post after the pony was here for a year or more. It makes any chore with a horse safer. Coco still stepped on my daughter’s toe when she took him back to his stomping grounds. He has such good aim when he wants to express his opinion.

Common sense is hard to find these days. The advertisements for the covid-19 all talk about washing hands. It’s as if people have forgotten how or something. I remember the fall the H1N1 was here. My whole family fought the illness and I did not. I was washing my hands so frequently with the canning season the virus never had a chance to stick.

So it’s time to pick up the soap bottle once again. Hopefully with our ready access to hot running water and the soap dispenser more of my family will be spared from the illness that has spread throughout the rest of the world faster than fire.

That’s perhaps the part of the virus that people misinterpret from the media. While there are other illnesses like the influenza that cause havoc on society, it is the fast vast far reaching spread that is the hype here. Common sense says that people aught to stay home some. But very few know how to live more than 3 days without a grocery store.

I remember hearing my grandparents say something about someone and then following up with “that fellow does not have an ounce of horse sense.” It took me a number of years to understand what they meant. My dad use to break horses for people. So the only thing that I had to relate the statement to was those times when I go to go along or ride along with him.

Having horse sense to me at the time meant that I should stay where the horse could see me. Being in the “blind spot” near the rear or behind the horse was dangerous. I never saw anyone get kicked, but I understood. Horse sense meant staying in the safe zone around the large beasts.

Now that my peripheral vision is disappearing, slowly but surely I have to set up new safe zones for myself. Puttling rails on all the decks and steps was key to staying upright. Having an open area of the yard to throw frisbee and launch the chuck-it balls is important also. I do not enjoy nursing the scrape wounds on my hands from being too close to a tree trunk.

Life at the hitching post is a thing of the past. Today there are still some that enjoy the comradeship and conversation that happens here. It does not take long in the company of those there to find out who the nearest relatives are. And not long into our first visit, we discovered the connection. Around these parts there’s usually some fifth cousin married to another’s third. So there, you have it, we’re related.

Maybe people that own horses have more in common than just owning a horse or two?

I am not a horse person. Neither am I a crafter. But I do crochet. So that usually helps me find a connection with someone who either knits, or sews, or has another hobby like painting. My cousin is a painter. We enjoy talking “shop” during out visits.

So whether you are in the line at the grocery store or on the phone with an aunt, find the connection. Use a little horse sense and keep your distance for the blind spots. And wash your hands a few more seconds longer. Stay in the safe zone everyone!

Now give

Snags, snarls, and clumps

Woke up this morning to the weather report. Knowing how many layers for morning chores is critical to my survival. Not much to chores with just one scoop for the five or six mousers that we feed. Morning feeding for cats on a farm keeps them doing their job at night: hunting mice. Some times Honey the doodle-dog needs a reminder to get to business rather than herd the feline’s. Out we went with my wind breaker, hat, boots, and mittens.

Then it was time for my own fast breaking with a solitary muffin and some water. Next to the radio voices, mine was pretty dry and scratchy. On to the dog’s grooming routine. It will probably take all day. She was out in the wind and sunshine for a couple of warm springy days. So all that diving after the frisbee made for some pretty good tangles.

This week has a few scheduling trespasses. One for the horse and one for Honey’s spring spa date. Should have made a nail salon date for myself also. The problem is that the farrier for Coco is the same day as Honey’s salon appointment. Or maybe that’s a good thing. No dog to add tension to the pony’s anxiety.

The weather took a dive back into winter this week, so we are back to hats, scarves, and gloves. This bomber’s hat is a crochet version made from two previously not so warm beanies. The ear muff wrap attached inside adds an extra layer of warmth for my sensitive nerves.

Last week I spent some time writing about the changes that my eyesight did to my social life. It was rather depressing, so I tabled the idea for awhile. One of the hardest things for me to handle is the identity change.

Writing about the past brings a lot of emotional pain for me. There is a new note to myself on my white board in my library: “NOW.” We cannot live in the past, it’s over. The past is for books and history lessons. We do not live in the future, it is so very unforeseen and creates fear and anxiety. We live now. This moment. This hour, this day. I choose to live in the NOW.

Letting go of who I use to be means giving room to who I am now. I could go on and on about the me that wants to stay. Gripping the frisbee with all of her might does not give Honey the thrill of the next chase. She has to let go in order to give into her instinct of hunting the prey. The word that is on the training agenda for this week is GIVE.

Give the ball. Give the frisbee. Give the rope. Give the tug. Give the stuffie. Give. Give. Give. You think I would have gotten the message by now. But I still have a lot to learn I guess. Perhaps I should listen up a little better to my own repetitive voice.

The NewLiving Translation for I Peter 5:7 says it this way: “Give all of your worries and cares to God, because He cares about you.”