Waiting for Enlightenment

I took this picture at the dam yesterday. Doesn’t it have the look of something wonderful about to happen?  Well I am still waiting.

There is nothing so wrenching as the sounds of sobbing through a call from thousands of miles away.  And then you struggle so hard not to join in as they tell you that someone you cared deeply about is gone.  After you hang up there is the steady flow of tears that make you think, “I can get this over with if I just keep at it for a bit longer.”

I actually was able to collect a few….and that is not easy to do when you are guessing which part of your face the next one is heading for. I am using a very thin plastic vial with a screw on top. Isn’t that funny to say how to catch tears. I know it sounds a bit nuts but looking at the tiny amount seems a victory of some sort. I have physical proof of a feeling!

Yesterday I did my drawing a day with haiku for our friend, Andy. I used the green earth pigment he had bought in Italy and gave me the last time he was in town.

Our need for brightness

is often beyond what the

sunflower can give.

His partner told me that she was using my small editioned poetry book, Distance Matters, to help her get through these past weeks of caring for Andy. She said she was going to settle on one to always remember. I think this one would be a good one for her and us too.

Inner Navigations

We do not plan

the journey 

of our interiors,

but 

hold steady, go slow

and ride the tide

into harbors

of memory.

S. Webster

 

And I received this message from a friend asking about my wanting to make donuts like I used to have at cider mills in Michigan…..what I tried from her recipe did not taste anything like I wanted them to and she said this,

……..but I got thinking about fond memories….if we were able to revisit, would they be as we remembered them or as we recreated them over the years?….would we be disappointed? Or are they better just left alone ….to remember as we want?

I am leaving those donuts alone. Now the failed ones are in the freezer waiting to be reincarnated as something delicious with poached egg and cheese with bacon. A new memory that may or may not be a good one…..depending on the taste.

And I am keeping Andy in a safe harbor to revisit many times. For now he is helping me fill a vial of evidence that he mattered very much.

Here is a picture I took this morning. I looked at all these variations of earth pigments and remembered how I used to not hesitate to scramble down to places like this and carefully put them in other containers. Evidence again of collecting and having been something that mattered…..in this case, a place.

I should have kept my collecting to these small vials of tears and places. Instead I now am trying to find ways to rid myself of too many things. A simple apothecary cupboard would have been so much better.

And I am learning to unpack my suitcases full of plans that made so much sense a few months ago but now are weighing me down with their expectations. I will let you know how that goes.

Here is a final tip on collecting your tears. Keep two vials, one upstairs where life goes on and the other down stairs where you can completely lose yourself to sadness for just the briefest of time as you try to write about it.

Gotta go, Lee is back overhead so his wandering the yard must have come to a close.

Til later.

 

Lee’s Birthday

This is a present Lee got from a friend for his birthday…..a growler of very strong local porter. Now he is napping.

We went to the Fall Festival at the Folk School this morning.

We got there before the opening and left an hour or so later. The traffic was horrific when we left.

We saw some old friends there and bought some Christmas presents. Crowds are not our thing and since country music is not something we care for that much, we left before many banjos got unpacked and feet starting stomping.

This morning very early I gave Lee his monthly haircut…..fifty some years of cutting his hair. I love the rhythm of the clippers running over my fingers that set the length of hair. And seeing small tufts of grey drift down to his lap and floor. The fine electric cutters come out to finish off what he calls his werewolf hairs around and in the ears. He then heads for the shower and I sweep up what seems to be less and less each month. And “less” for Lee usually means “more” for me….but not when cutting hair. That has stayed the same for just over fifty-two years.

Our herb and garlic salt mix dried and is now in a jar. We might make more of just rosemary and basil. It is something to do.

I thought of adding more to the list I started the other day but anything new pretty much fits into one of the twelve listed.

Earlier this week my case of wine arrived at the grocery. While putting it in cool places I found two of the original Cabernet Sauvignon. These were the earlier ones before the descendants took offense and a new convict had to take his place.

Very nice flavor and weight to these. They won’t last long.

I keep up with the Drawing a Day with Haiku. Here is the fourth of October.

The abandoned house

is hopelessly tethered to

the sign Jesus Saves.

I had to correct it in the drawing because of too many syllables.  And I am not sure how much Jesus is helping out….just an observation.

Now I am headed back upstairs to check on Lee and do the drawing for today.

I did notice today when seeing old acquaintances that some of them are aging well. I put effort into looking my best. We got some hugs. We smiled a lot. We are glad we went for the first time in years.

I hear Lee creaking the floor boards overhead so til later.

Busy Work to Keep Calm

I made small bits of four watercolors the other day. I am going to use these in my journal of a drawing a day for October. The drawings come with a haiku if I can fit it in.

Here is the first one. Still feeling a bit of the sadness this past couple of weeks and having those blues so handy, I wrote a fitting haiku.

Blue has colored the

tears flowing into seas of

uncontrolled sadness.

Tomorrow I will use the greens in a haiku drawing about the herb seasoning salt Lee helped me make today.

You start with loads of peeled garlic….Lee’s job.

And add a goodly amount of coarse salt.

All of this must be chopped by hand….a chopper would pulverize it too much.

When it is hard to find a piece of garlic in the mix you add the herbs. In this case we gathered whatever we still had after a very dry past few months. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, basil, sage….no stems.

Then chop the herbs into the garlic salt mix in small manageable amounts at a time. You have to do this until your hands ache and there are no distinguishable  herb leaves.

Spread out on a sheet and place on the porch away from critters for several days until it is completely dry.

It is worth the achy hands to have the house filled with the smell of garlic and herbs. We are hoping to bottle some up for Christmas gifts. It is the perfect herb collection to cook with. Sometimes I will just use rosemary and other times just sage, but this year was not the best for anything but rosemary that loves the dry conditions.

This kept Lee busy for about an hour or two. That was a good thing. Here are some ideas for those dealing with a partner who has dementia.

  1. Keep a sense of humor and say something funny to break a sad mood even if it makes no sense at all.
  2. Keep to a routine. There are days we go to lunch. We only take walks in the early morning. We go to the grocery store and feed store after the grocery shopping is done and before we head home.
  3. Take advantage of the calming effects of alcohol….in moderation. A half beer with lunch. Some wine before dinner or a very short glass of Southern Comfort for him while I have a good glass of single malt.
  4. This is your life now. This is his life now. Take deep breaths and remember that maybe someday you can go back to doing the things you miss terribly right now.
  5. If you burst into tears don’t worry he will forget you did a few minutes later……and so will  you.
  6. All the jobs he used to do are now your responsibility. If you can’t do them, get help.
  7. Don’t count on friends showing up to do these things. They won’t. Pay someone.
  8. I can lift 50 lb bags of seed and pour them into his feed cans. When I can’t, I will buy seed in smaller bags or take buckets to the back of the car, slash a bag and transfer it all a bucket at a time.
  9. Remember to start his vehicle every few days to avoid having to hook it to a charger.
  10. Don’t ask what you can do for him….just do something because he can’t tell you when words don’t come.
  11. Fix meals that are easy for him to eat. Use a large plate regardless of what goes on it because he is going to want to cut all of it up into small pieces.
  12. Remember to say something funny, make up a story….don’t lose patience anymore than you have to….it only makes you both feel bad.

So that is it…..well a start anyway.

Til later.

Door Knobs

A friend posted one of those quick-remedy-make-it-all-better statements. Something about there is always a door to open. So my hand is on the knob. That’s what I told her this morning when she called to see how we were doing.

Things really are better. So thank you all for that. My friends are still very ill, but I remember them as being both so physically fit and full of good conversations. Lee still slowly heads downhill. My best friend from graduate school who is just a few years behind Lee with her own dementia still can make me laugh as we both remember the fun times.

I have been given the names of professionals who might be able to help if depression gets out of hand. I honestly think I am a long ways from that and accept the fact that some days are hard and others will be harder. But it is up to me to control that and just keep going as I have been. One thing I leaned this week was that even though I do not want to take on more responsibilities, most of them are just a matter of a few minutes and post-a-notes can be stuck up anywhere to remind me.

I also learned that the best support comes from those the farthest away.

So on to new things..new adventures. I had to look up what a haiku poem consists of. Three lines with the first and third only having five syllables each and the middle one containing seven. I can do this along with my drawing a day for the month of October. It will be a good challenge to relate them to each other. I told my Canadian (graduate school) friend this morning that it shouldn’t be too hard as they used to thank me for my “brevity” when in college. She reminded me that I could not just say one syllable words seventeen times.

Here is one I just made up…..and I will try to find better subject matter…..

 

The cat has thrown up

Again she eats much too fast

Lee can point at it.

 

I will remember to chant this to myself every morning at 4:45 am.

 

Also I am going to learn how to make fixing meals easier. Ways to put things all in one pot and still have it look somewhat appetizing without returning to noodles, can of tuna, and can of cream of mushroom soup. Here is our Cornish game hen meal this week….actually two meals as the breast meat makes lunch sandwiches the next day.

So here is my sketchbook for haiku and drawings. I might even add some color with the new indigo pigments. At least I am ready to give it a go. I bought this book at the art supply shop on Degraves Street in Melbourne last March. And it is Australian friends that I am doing the challenge of drawing and haiku, so seemed fitting.

I am still intrigued with the idea of collecting my own tears so will find a small vial of some sort that I can keep handy. I will keep a tight seal on it until there is enough to work with. Trouble is I should have thought of this last week.

But if the sky turns grey and bad news comes again, I will be ready. It is just not looking likely right now. Things are looking up with Trump under investigation. Everyone I know is smiling.

Thank you, Adele, for sending me this picture of your new toilet bowl scrubber.

That is it for now.

Again, thank you.

Til later.