Memorable May

Checking out a great nature trail in Palm Springs

Checking out a great nature trail in Palm Springs

May was, as it almost always is, an eventful month for us: the usual holidays (Mother’s Day, Memorial Day), as well as our wedding anniversary (which falls on or near national migratory bird day, hence our wedding theme) and my birthday. Poor Doug has always found May pretty overwhelming, and I can’t say I blame him. That’s a lot to keep track of, but he does a great job of it. Continue reading

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Listless Listlessness

List is an interesting word. I looked it up because I am feeling listless today, in the sense that I can’t figure out what I feel like doing and hence I’m doing very little. This happens occasionally when I find actual moments of unprogrammed time. It makes my brain go haywire because I know I should be doing many, many things, be proactively tackling things to stay with the curve (there’s really no getting ahead of the curve around here), but I’d really rather sit and read, write, think…the freedom to do that isn’t really there, it’s just an illusion.

These times happen occasionally because I neglect (or forget or don’t have time) to make a list of things to do. The list is there, I just didn’t write it down. And so I have nothing to prompt me to keep moving and then I slowly lose momentum, all the while knowing that this lack of initiative will be regretted later.

In any case, looking a word up in the dictionary is doing something, right? I remember reading the dictionary for fun, when I was young and carefree. Words and their origins are almost like friends to me. The commonly used ‘list’ describing our organizing tool is not the same as that of the ‘list’ in listless, which is about desire (Middle English ‘lysten’ related to lust). So being listless is having a lack of desire. The concept of choosing is also in the origin, which makes sense, as being listless feels to me like having too many choices but not wanting to pick anything at all.

List has many other meanings as well. There is of course the still used sense of leaning to one side, as a damaged boat in the water. This also rings true for me today, as I messed up my left side the other day doing who knows what. The twinge has traveled from my neck and shoulder down into my lower back. I’m definitely listing a bit.

So I’m calling this a listless, list-free, listing Saturday. Perhaps I’ll pick a few things to get done and set my ship slightly more aright. In the meantime, I must also point out that cats really have no problem with listlessness (they don’t make lists and they are totally okay with it) as documented by this photo montage of Pablo. Oh, to be a cat…

Pondering how best to enjoy the sun

What should I do today?

 

Now we're getting somewhere

Maybe this sun needs some basking in…

This is how it's done!

Yup, totally made the right call

NWC Epistle #2

Dear NWCs,

I can’t think what to write today. This tiny 30 minutes will just get spent with me figuring out more ways to say I can’t think of anything to say.

I did see something interesting on my ride home. Going through the international district, there are always quite a few characters and goings-on to check out. I’ve seen girls fighting in the street and old men playing checkers on the sidewalk. Various smells come at you as you travel through – onions, fish, fortune cookies. It’s a feast for the senses.

Today I saw two tall thin men walking along. One was wearing the biggest black cowboy hat I’ve ever seen. In Seattle anyway. I’m the daughter of a Montana girl, so I’ve seen some big-ass cowboy hats in my day. Ten gallon ones. This one was like that. It dwarfed his head it was so large and yet he looked very striking, with his dark skin and dark hat. I guess anyone wearing a hat nowadays is pretty striking, especially one in a town not known for rodeos or cattle driving.

I wondered about this man, what had led to this moment of him walking through Seattle in his huge cowboy hat. Was it only fashion or did it serve some practical purpose? Was he visiting Seattle from somewhere? Has he always worn this hat (it didn’t look like something he’d just thrown on) or was it a special occasion? What sort of things did people say to him?

I have started taking notice of people more in this way – not just, oh, that’s a bit of an outlier, but trying to think about the story of the person. Perhaps I will spend some more time on this one to see what I come up with.

And the stove is telling me that my precious 30 minutes are up, so I’m off to make some dinner. Tell me about some interesting characters you’ve seen!

National Stroke Awareness Month – Caregiver Perspective

Doug at the Rose Garden in Portland last fall.

Doug at the Rose Garden in Portland last fall.

May is not just bike month, it’s also National Stroke Awareness Month. As the wife and caregiver of a stroke survivor, it seemed like a good time to talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a caregiver.

Our situation is not common – Doug is young (43 when he had his stroke) and had no risk factors commonly associated with strokes. Quite the opposite – he is very fit, eats well, low cholesterol and blood pressure, and never smoked. This has been one of ways we’re more fortunate than many stroke survivors. Although Doug’s stroke was severe with full left-side paralysis (his non-dominant side), his age, fitness and strength allowed him to regain the ability to walk fairly quickly. His stroke didn’t result in as many cognitive or language problems (aphasia) as someone who has a stroke on the left side of the brain. Doug is also highly motivated and really works hard to keep improving, something that proves challenging for many survivors and their caregivers. Continue reading

Little Blue Typewriter

This is our cat Jasper. He likes to lay on my lap when I'm typing. As cats do.

This is our cat Jasper. He likes to lay on my lap when I’m typing. As cats do. I don’t know what that lump under him is…

I got a card today from my dear friend Michelle. We live less than 10 miles from each other, but continue (or resurrect when it has fallen aside) the habit we began as teenagers of mailing each other letters (I still have a folder of correspondence between us – well, the pieces she wrote anyway – from way back in the 90’s). Sure, plenty of emails still get exchanged, but usually as part of larger group conversations. Or texts bouncing around during football games. But nothing is the same as getting a special piece of mail every now and then. Continue reading

Desert Escape

San Gorgonio mountain, also known as Old Greyback

San Jacinto mountain

Went to the land of sun, drought, wind (and accompanying wind turbines) and hot springs for a brief (2 days) getaway. Hubby had been pestering me for months – well, really about a year now – to get some down time at a spa and started doing a ton of research on it. He found a place called The Spring in Desert Hot Springs (right near Palm Springs) where they have three mineral spring pools of varying temps and mineral levels that purportedly can cure whatever ails you. Not sure two days cured anything but it sure as hell didn’t hurt, nor did the sun, two massages, view of the Transverse Range mountains and lovely nature walk at the Morongo Preserve (highly recommend if you like birdwatching, plus it’s crazily cool in the marsh section – yes, an actual marsh in the desert). Continue reading