Friday, February 26, 2010

Updates . . .

I haven't been writing. Maybe nobody noticed. Since Allen's stroke, which was mild, our life has changed dramatically. After the flurry of moving into a new apartment, unpacking, and finding doctors, food, and library, we're finally at home. At home enough to think about traveling south to visit friends. The docs say it will be ok. On the seven-and-a-half drive, we'll need to take a stretch break every hour. Except I worry if he'll really be all right. And that's the reality behind this blog. Not every day is a good day. Allen says it's ok to say that.

Earlier this week, we passed our tiny wetland, really just a marshy pond, fenced all around. Sometimes we've seen mallards poking through the reeds. This sunny afternoon, we heard a frog croaking, a sign of coming spring. The next morning, the hills were dusted with light snow. Nothing like the east coast, but still snow. And now the little pond is silent. I remind myself it's February. March and April will come.

I checked in at Subversive Stitchers to find the work of Rose Hughes profiled along with the most amazing healing quilts. What a rich mix of pure creativity and quilting resources from this online community. Not to mention courage and hope. And so I've pulled my quilting out and will try to piece together a healing quilt for those I love.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ordinary days . . .

I should be grateful for ordinary days. The morning begins sunny and bright here in Spokane, a high of 44 today. This would be a respite for family and friends on the east coast, struggling with snow drifts nearly as high as the cars they've dug out, with another, hopefully smaller storm coming in next week.

Our life seems more normal every day. Ordinary. We've been in Spokane under a month now, Allen's making steady but very slow progress. He begins physical therapy next week. The hardest part of recovering from a stroke is, for me, internal. Every time Allen has a headache or is tired, I worry about another stroke. Some days, he does have less energy. Some days, he's almost his old self. He's able to walk for up to about 25 minutes most days. He's reading again. And we have gone to the movies, out to dinner, and will go to Rachel and Nick's next concert on Sunday, Mozart's Requiem. I'm not sure we'll make it through the entire performance, but we'll still hear part.

Some things we used to take for granted, we can't any more. Allen encourages me to connect with our new community, to make it my home. I've gone grocery shopping by myself, took my first Yoga class yesterday, and as I drive around the neighborhood by myself, I wonder if this is my future.

Yesterday I submitted Standing Stones to the literary contest at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. That was more than stressful, but I learned so much from the process and from critiques by two valued online writer-friends. Of course I found a typo AFTER I sent the sub in. But it's turned in. On time.

I just finished reading Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair, a delight I've postponed for several years. But the narrator paints mermaids! The story of Sedna and Asnara appear in the story. The reader is drawn inside a marriage that has for too long been stagnant. Kidd's ability to build sympathetic characters, believable conflicts, achingly beautiful settings, and poignant reflections is infinitely satisfying.

I'm used to posting pictures and impressions of our wild and far flung travels here. Everything has changed. I don't know quite what to write now, perhaps just to consider the ordinary, the amazing gift of each day.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

At home . . .

The new header shows the view out our front window overlooking a stand of brushy pines -- maybe pitch pines, Ponderosa pines, or scrub pines. Yesterday mid-morning, Allen spotted this young deer calmly grazing under the pines in the field by our apartment. Not a bad view at all.

This morning, under blue sky and a little fog, a cat stalked through marsh grasses toward the pines. Allen's doing well, though aggravated since the doctor said he can't lift more than 10 pounds for a while yet. Luckily he married a Viking. As the Scots say, "The worst can be handled when it's known." And I nearly have all the books unpacked.