Monday, August 15, 2016

A Bad Day, A Better Ending

Yesterday was a tough day. I got up early to go exercise. The usual routine - get up, go to the bathroom, get dressed, let the Maggie the dog out so she can do her business, fill the dog's food and water bowls, let Maggie in, then go to the gym.  But that didn't happen yesterday. I let Maggie out into the back yard, then turned to pick up her bowls when I heard her high pitched yelping. That usually means she is chasing squirrels, but this time it was a baby deer. She chased it into a corner of the yard, out of my view, and I ran outside to make sure the deer was able to jump the fence. Unfortunately, Maggie was faster and she already had the deer in her jaws, and it was screaming. I yelled at her to drop the deer, which amazingly she did. When she has caught things in the past -- squirrels and rabbits -- she will not willingly let them go. I don't know, maybe she heard something in my voice; I never have any reason to shout at her.

I was hoping that the deer would get up, shake itself off, and go bounding out of my yard. It was too late. Instead of watching it run off, I watched it die.

My back yard is fenced in so that Maggie has a free area to run, and she can access it through a doggie door. I knew I had to get the deer out of the back. But first I had to get Maggie out of the house and on a walk in the soupy heat, because she was all full of herself and over excited, and really, really wanted to get to the back yard. On the walk we saw more deer, of course, and she lunged and yelped, but by the time we got home after a couple of miles in the heat she was more sedate.

I called the county and found out that they will come and pick up dead deer, but not on weekends. I filled out an online form, which will hopefully get them here within 24 hours, and then carried the deer to the front yard. It didn't weigh much more than Maggie, I would say 40-50 pounds. When I put it in the front yard at the end of the driveway, it looked like it was sleeping. Anyone driving by might think that a baby deer had decided to take a snooze right there, in the green, thick grass.

The sight and sound of what happened stayed with me all day. Last night I had difficulty falling asleep, and sat in mindfulness trying to deal with the feelings in my body and brain. Logically I know that my dog is an innate hunter, she always has been. Ever since she was a small puppy, she would walk with her nose to the ground, searching for whatever left traces in the yard, or on our walks. It was difficult for me to be friendly with her yesterday though, and I know she was confused and sensed that there was something wrong.

A late night phone call from my daughter helped. She listened to me, sent me phone hugs. After we hung up I went though my phone, closing up the apps, and when I got to Facebook, this little quote jumped out at me from a friend's page, like it was waiting for me all evening. It is from Lin Manuel Miranda:

Good night beautiful.
Make room for happiness tomorrow.
If you make room for it, it'll show up.

I was finally able to let go of the tension in my shoulders, to relax the muscles in my forehead. Take a full breath.

I know the world is a crazy place. We all have stress and schedules and too much going on. But whatever you have to do today, wherever the world takes you, remember to make room for happiness. Let it come flooding in to the space you give it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

New Direction

When I first started this blog almost 10 years ago, it was as a way of dealing with my son’s diagnosis with type one diabetes and celiac. I discovered a wonderful, supportive community of people dealing with both issues, and found an outlet for my frustrations, celebrations, and discoveries. As my son has grown into adulthood and taken on management of his conditions, I have taken my sticky fingers off of the controls, while continuing to provide support, recipes, and unconditional love.  And so time passes, all the children get older (although I think I am staying the same age, right? RIGHT?) and find their independence.

A few years ago I started reading about mindfulness. I attended a workshop or two, took a few classes, and started to notice a change in my outlook and behavior. After so many years of worry and constant giving of myself, mindfulness has been a healing salve to my mind and emotions. Mindfulness is brain training; it goes hand in hand with being physically fit. When I began to notice the changes in my self that came from regular mindfulness practice, I realized the importance of teaching mindfulness to children.

I have now taken three classes through Mindful Schools: Mindfulness Fundamentals, Mindfulness Educator Essentials and Mindfulness for Difficult Emotions, in addition to many different workshops on the intersection of mindfulness and education. I started working with a few students at my school last school year, just 15 minutes a week, and saw changes in behavior and focus even with that small bit of instruction.

Mindfulness, as I have been taught, has a lot to do with sitting quietly. But I also practice mindfulness when I am out for a walk, when I am driving, when in a conversation – almost any time. When I was taking poetry courses in grad school, I used to write every day, just write everything I noticed in that day. I used those notice moments to build poems; they were crystal clear fragments, which on their own were brief, but beautiful. When strung together into a poem, they often pointed to a theme, or a deeper meaning, which I didn’t know existed until the moments harmonized on the page.

I have not written in this blog for a long time. I foundered, no longer needing it as a crutch to help me deal with issues surrounding chronic illness. But now I would like to use it to string together notice moments. Sitting on the grass, still warm after the sun goes down, searching the sky for the perseid meteors, and surrendering to the deep feeling of connection with the living world.  Watching my child laugh freely at a movie, lost in the story.  Smiling after a conversation with a stranger in the parking lot at the mall – a twinkling of kindness and contact in our busy world.

What have you noticed today? What stayed in your heart? I look forward to the clarity and connections.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Means Pie

I was going to make a blueberry pie, but some of the younger members of this household have been eating the blueberries. So today's endeavor is blueberry peach pie, which isn't a bad substitution.  Also, all the peaches from the farm seemed to turn ripe overnight, so blueberry peach pie just fits the bill all around.

I used the same method for making my gluten free pie crust that I did here, with one change. I didn't have plain tapioca flour (either that, or it is hiding in the back of my freezer and I wasn't in the mood to shovel everything out of the way to look for it). I did, however, have some Jules brand flour mix, which is mostly modified tapioca. So I used that, and then just a teensy bit less xanthan gum because the Jules brand is already all xanthaned up.

MMMMMMM, peaches and blueberries. A marriage made in heaven.

 One change I made from my blueberry pie recipe, other than the peach substitution, was the addition of some fresh vanilla bean. Oh, how I love those tiny black granules of goodness!  I cut a 2 inch section from a bean that I had and split it down the middle. Then I used my knife to scrape out all that vanilla deliciousness, and I rubbed it with my fingers into the sugar for the pie so it would spread evenly.

 Don't let that scraped out vanilla pod go to waste. I have a special container for vanilla sugar, which is filled with leftover pods and sugar. That way, if I run out of vanilla beans and I would like some delicious vanilla flavor in my baked goods, I just use the vanilla sugar. My grandma used to do that, and each time I reach for the jar of vanilla sugar I think about her.

Easy-peasy roll out method -- roll out the dough onto parchment paper. Try to roll it out a couple inches larger than your pie plate.

Flip the parchment paper over onto the pie dish, then peel off the dough.

 Pretty up the edges! Okay, it's not Martha Stewart pretty, but it is somewhat ripply.

 Pour in all that delicious filling!  Can you see the extra dough on the side? I cut out heart shapes. Those go on top because this pie is made with LOVE, baby.

Ready to go into the oven.

Abra cadabra, ready to eat.  YUM!  The boys in the household all like to smother their pie with whipped cream, but I'm a purist. Just give me a big piece of pie, and make it hot.  That's the taste of summer.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lazy Summer

Quiet in the house; loud in the street. Nora & Dominic are sleeping (or awake in their rooms, but staying very quiet) while the paving crew resurfaces the neighborhood streets. If the kids are asleep, I envy them their ability to sleep through the noise.

Matt & Daniel are off to work, and I am enjoying the calmness of the morning. The rest before requirements, the haven before the have-to-dos. I groused about not having a vacation this summer, but in an effort to focus on the positive, I am re-thinking that complaint.  The stolen hour or two with nothing to do but read -- that's a vacation.  The day spent knitting and watching shows on netflix -- that's a vacation.  Glorious moments spent writing, like a drink in the desert.

Upstairs, a door opens.  Footsteps.  Here come the have-to-dos, the responsibilities wrapped in hugs and smiles. Those long limbed, summer toasted children of mine are starting their morning.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oh my aching back!

I pulled out my lower back putting a case of water into the car. I was in a rush -- the fence guys were coming to demolish/reinstall a fence so our new puppy can stay safely in the back yard. It was one of those 100 degree days, and I wanted to have bottles of water on ice for the guys doing the work.

On top of that (or beneath it) my left leg has been tingling. I'm guessing I've got something pressing on my sciatic nerve, and it is annoying as hell. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow morning to get it checked out. Meanwhile, I'm moaning and groaning about the back pain & leg tingling. Daniel sympathized, and said that he gets those tingling feelings when his blood sugar is high.

Yuck -- an awful thing to go through for high blood sugar or any other reason. This is a feeling I *don't* enjoy sharing with my son!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I know it's boring to talk about the weather, but...

Dang! It's hot! Someone said the heat index got to 107 today. Okay, not as hot as the normal summer day in Dhahran, so many years ago, but still... not far off. I had difficulty distinguishing between 110 and 120 degrees, anyway.

Thank goodness the pool felt cool.

I saw an ad from minimed the other day -- they make a new infusion set dressing. I wonder if anyone has tried it, and whether it helps keep the set in place on hot, sticky days. It is here. We've used medical tape across the set, but that doesn't always work. I wonder if that is something I should get for Daniel before he goes off to college.

In addition to all the regular stuff -- sheets, towels, pillows, fan, etc., I plan on putting together a medicine box. Sort of a mini version of our upstairs linen closet, where I store all the dayquil, nyquil, advil, and other --ils. I remember getting sick when I was in college, and dragging myself out of bed to the little school store that carried everything from tampax to orange juice. I stared at all the medicine boxes, trying to figure out what it was that we had at home that I would usually take... I think I just bought orange juice.

Taking Daniel to the endo tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a good A1c! He is also participating in a study about older teens/young adults with diabetes who are starting to take on the responsibility of their own care. Should be interesting.

We are also saying goodbye to our usual endo, Dr. P, who has been so wonderful. She is moving to a different office, much farther away. I hope the next endo is as nice, and as thorough.

Then... one more day until GRADUATION!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing is Hard

I love writing. I don't have much time to do it. Lately I've been going back to my "paper blog," or as I used to call it, my journal. A few minutes at night, a few thoughts on the page, and sleep comes more easily. I also have been thinking alot about writing on line, privacy issues, and what I should or should not say. After a public, online tussle with a relative, I stopped posting so much on Facebook. I disconnected my blog (I think) from my Facebook page. Really, it's not worth getting into online arguments, it's like shouting ugliness in the streets. It goes against my beliefs, and my attempts at right action and right thought.

But there are some things that are nice to put out there into the world. Good thoughts, happy ones. Sending them out like lovely, sparkling fireworks for anyone to enjoy, if they wish. Here's one: my baby is graduating high school. My big, hairy, irreverent, funny, kind, man baby. He is going to go out into the world to do his own thing, to learn to be an adult, to care for his body and mind, to make a place to call his own. I am happy. I am grieving. I am insanely proud.

I wish him Godspeed, good friends, love, and luck. Serendipity. Health. The excitement of discovery. A guardian angel. The swagger of self confidence. Gentle eyes with which to see the world.