After Sunshine, Rain | #WeekendCoffeeShare | 14 October 2017

FM Community Band

all is still
but the raindrops falling
on the street

An afternoon for nostalgia! The rain has been coming down, off and on, for hours, and according to the forecast, that won’t end until early morning. I’ve got water hot and ready for tea (black and Oolong only, this week), coffee concentrate, and cold water from the refrigerator.

If we were having coffee together, this afternoon, I would invite you to look through the old photographs that my sister on the East Coast sent to me; they were in the materials she took back with her from the family home after Father’s funeral—a selection of pictures that she thought I might enjoy having, after she’d scanned all of them into her computer.

We put off grocery shopping until late afternoon, so Al could get the electrical work done in the workshop he’s building in the back yard. Yes, ongoing! He hopes to have the electrical inspection done within the next week or two. Now that groceries have been secured, he has another list for the shop. I spent yesterday evening catching up with laundry, and tonight I will be cooking meat for the week to come.  I have a lot of salad greens, nuts, broccoli, and a summer squash. I still am trying to cut more carbohydrates out of my diet to lower my blood sugar and keep it low as I cut down on the medication. I have been working to fine-tune the timing: when I can eat carbs and have the least reaction to the blood sugar levels. Times of the day and what foods to eat first and by how much lead time.

If we were having coffee together, today, we could take our cups to the gazebo, where I now can heat it without the space heater’s blowing a fuse! I put the foam blocks in the eaves, which are left open during the summer for increased air circulation. That is, letting the hot air out the eaves while cooler air comes in from beneath the floor. Which reminds me…I have to go out there and turn on the heater, so that when I exercise in the gazebo, it already will be warm.

Back, again…the weekend has taken another turn, and so I must end this post. Did not get enough sleep, last night, and now I can’t stay awake.

Hope you’ve had a good weekend!

Later!

Lizl

P.S. In the leading picture, I am the second person (in the trumpets row), and my youngest sister is in the row in front of me, second person from the left; she played clarinet.

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A quiet afternoon | #WeekendCoffeeShare 7 October 2017

White Campions

If we were having coffee together, this afternoon, we would be inside the house. We’ve got wind gusts to over 30 mph and dust blowing everywhere. If you don’t care for coffee, I also have hot tea and bottled water. Al drank the last of the lemonade. (Well, all of it, since I don’t have any.) The puppies are curled up for a nap, one on the love seat and the other at my feet.

If we were having coffee together, I would confide that I feel a bit down. My last poetry workshop assignment went in to the leader, yesterday, and I’ve received her response. Very helpful and encouraging. I tried to write a poem today, but did not get anywhere with it. Not at all happy with it. The current phase of Al’s carpentry project is not going well, and so he is quitting for the day and going out for coffee at his favorite café. While you have some coffee, I had better feed the puppies that Al woke up. Be right back!


If we were having coffee together, today, I also would tell you that I am trying to get back into exercising regularly, which I have not done since my last appointment with my doctor. My sister on the east coast has started on the technical aspects of putting together the keepsake book for the immediate family: letters and pictures that we inherited as part of the parents’ estate, when our father died some few months after our mother, last winter. I do not deal well with distractions, adrenaline in general, or activities outside the home (which includes, of course, the garden, yard and other buildings on the property).

I have gotten tired of fish and switched back to beef, occasionally having some baked chicken, and so I am no longer losing weight…but not gaining. I think that I need to go back to menu planning and keeping a food diary. I am supposed to be cutting back on foods high in calcium and switching from “lite salt” to regular; both my calcium and potassium levels were high on the last blood panel. I did okay on the milk products for a few weeks, but … I am not keeping track as I should.

If we were having coffee together, I would share a poem that I wrote during April (write a poem a day month) and revised during this past week, in light of what I have learned (loosening up) about writing haiku and tanka. One of the things I enjoy is science fiction/science poetry, and I wrote a poem about the sound that snow makes when it falls in response to the prompt “the silence of snow”. An article was written and published in a 1999 issue of Nature (.com): “The Sound of Snowflakes“. Basically, I added words to it. This is the new version of my poem:

whispering silence
the gentle touch of winter’s cold
on the lake’s smooth surface

the quiet of the falling snow
the chime as each flake fractures

Copyright © 27 April 2017, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.

The news, domestic and international, has been getting me down, and so I have been avoiding newspaper sites and aggregates. I would cancel my NY Times subscription, but I am enjoying the daily crosswords. I probably will unsubscribe from The Washington Post. What I have done is sign up for an account at Medium, which at least gives me choices among writers, topics, and news articles from elsewhere.

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that I am seriously considering another course to sign up for, now that Introduction to Japanese Poetry is over. That would give me something to concentrate on, other than meal planning, exercise, and the state of the world today.

For those of you in Canada, I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving Weekend! Here, Monday is “Columbus Day”…but also Leif Erikson Day. Stories about Leif Erickson fascinated me when I was a child. My Sami ancestors (according to a family member of my grandfather’s generation, now deceased) came to the United States with the first wave of Norwegian immigrants. (Come-latelies. My mother’s people started arriving with the first crossing of the Mayflower in 1620-21.)

Thank you for visiting. I really did need to talk, today. I’m going to quit talking, now.

Best wishes for the coming week!

Lizl

 

Dark and Gloomy | Coffee Makes Everything Better

It Was a Dark and Gloomy Morning

open trenches
waiting for inspectors
in the back yard

this morning’s thunderstorms
stretch back at least three states

Copyright © 2017-10-01, by Lizl Bennefeld.

If we were having coffee together, this morning (Yes, two days in a row!), I would tell you about yesterday’s adventures, covering the conduit trenches and related dirt as wind gusts threatened to tear the plastic sheeting from our hands before we could pin them down with old railroad ties and other assorted heavy items. We had already covered the trenches with scrap boards, so I don’t expect the trenches will fill with water. …  I hope.

My fasting blood sugar was a bit high, and so I am offering hardboiled eggs to go with the morning coffee. What do you get wrapped up in doing, last thing before bedtime, that keeps you up till all hours? For myself, I was rereading a favorite book from L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s Imager Portfolio. And playing Dragonboard (an old Mahjongg board computer game); it doesn’t work quite right on the Windows 10 system, but it still creeps along, and I like it better than anything Microsoft apps offer. We were late getting to “puppy time”, last night, and the dogs were not inclined to play before going to sleep.

Thanks to Saturday’s activities, tacking things down before the rains came, we did not get to the butcher shop. We hope to fit that in before Al has to go off to work his volunteer shift at two o’clock. He’s working a shift three days in a row; volunteers are slow to get back onboard with scheduling following the summer’s reduced Open hours. The butcher shop has resumed posting its specials on its web page instead of their “Please call for weekly specials”, and the sale on chicken breast tempts me. I have salt-free Cajun seasoning that I favor. Although sassafras with garlic powder and a bare touch of cayenne pepper also works.

If we were having coffee together (before the real world begins for the day), I would confess that I intend to make up for last night’s short sleep by taking a nap with the puppies, once Al heads out for the afternoon.

I hope that your Sunday is/was pleasant. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Best wishes,

Lizl

 

Tea at Bedtime | #WeekendCoffeeShare – 30 Sept. ’17

Painted Lady on a Black-eyed Susan flower in the garden
Painted Lady in the Garden

If we were having coffee together, this evening, our visit might be a bit short. I’ve gotten sleepy, and I just might fall asleep before I finish this post. There is left-over coffee that can be heated, if you’d like. Also, I could brew some decaf or pour you a cup of black tea. I am having Irish breakfast tea, brewed strong, because I dare not take antihistamine again so soon. While the pollen counts are low, I am still spending too much time outside.

If we were having coffee together, or in my case, hot tea, I would confess that Friday was a busy day. Al finished digging the trench for the electrical power conduit, and I helped feed the wires through it to the woodworking shop. We’re now ready to call the inspector have the work checked before we fill in the trench.  We then wandered out to do some last-minute shopping. The Scampers needed more food in the house, so that they can have breakfast in the morning. As for me, I needed some more green salad makings and brick cheese, and the store where we usually buy groceries doesn’t carry greek yogurt in the brand that doesn’t have extra ingredients added to it, so there was another stop to make a long the way.

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I would mention that I sent in my three tanka for this week’s assignment, and again, the instructor’s observations were helpful and encouraging. I thought I might share a couple of the poems that I wrote, this past week. The tanka are more comfortable for me to write because they have fewer restrictions; they seem to allow more variety and informality. Or perhaps I am compulsively formal in writing haiku, which I feel I need not be with the tanka.

i.

quiet room
one picture on the wall
familiar
pasture, autumn trees
memories still too close

ii.

a Painted Lady
finds my tickseed flower
the shutter clicks
her cameo appearance
in my photograph

iii.

puppies asleep
by bowls and tennis balls
my empty lap . . .
soon enough they’ll wake
warm tongues and wagging tails

Copyright © September 2017, by Elizabeth (Lizl) Bennefeld. All rights reserved.

These three weeks have gone by too fast. I’ve received the guide/assignment for week 4, the last week of the online workshop on Japanese poetry. I will continue to write both the haiku and the tanka poems. I hope that I will do a much better job of it, now, especially the haiku, than I have over the past fifty years. There is a depth to the terseness that is awesome.

If we were having coffee together, this evening, I would regretfully say, “Good night!” The Scampers are sound asleep, and so is Al, finally. I’ve only, now, to pick out a photo for this post, and I can turn in, too. A lot of time is saved for productive activities; I seem to have quit watching television, and I never did listen much to the radio. I am actually going to bed, again tonight, having washed all of the dishes, silverware and cooking pots of the day.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and a successful week. Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to visiting with you again next weekend, if not before.

Best wishes,
Lizl

blue wild flax and seed pods in the late-september garden

Scattered Week | #WeekendCoffeeShare

This One & That One, Asleep

Thanks so much for coming to visit. If we were having coffee together, now, it would be an afternoon coffee break for me. The puppies are asleep on the loveseat across the room, and my husband is getting ready to head out for a shopping trip; he’s been digging a trench in the back yard, and now needs some more conduit before the electrical crew get here, this week.

If we were having coffee together, I can offer some variety. I am drinking Toddy coffee again today, but I’ve got two or three different flavors of black tea. Also, gluten-free rice&veggie blend crackers, hazelnuts and roasted, unsalted almonds. The wind is cold, but there’s no rain coming, yet, according to the radar, so we could sit in the gazebo. The wild flax drop their petals by noon or shortly after, but some few other wildflowers linger in the garden, and they do not discard their petals daily.

The leaves have started to change their colors. More of the berries are have ripened on the cotoneaster trees along the south fence line. We have birds in them all winter.  They move too fast for me to photograph, but the same is not true for the Painted Lady butterflies, this year. They have been stopping to pose for me.

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you about my latest appointment with my doctor: the nine-month get-together after the diabetes diagnosis.  (Type 2 diabetes runs in the family, and I think all of us siblings have ended up with it, now.) I am to cut down drastically on my consumption of dairy products, due to a high calcium level; we had a good chuckle about that, since I practically live on dairy products. I’ve promised to give up half the dairy if I can add beef to my diet. Also, I am to quit using “lite salt”, which I have taken for muscle cramping since college (B.A. Philosophy, 1968 graduate); my potassium level is entirely too high, but since I am in effect taking a potassium “supplement”, there’s no way to find out if something else is failing.  Otherwise, my A1C has dropped from 11.7% in December to 6.2%, and my weight has dropped 37 pounds in the same time period. Next appointment, 12-month, we discuss cutting back on medication to see if I’ve got this under control with exercise and proper diet.

If we were having coffee together, i would tell you that I am frustrated with myself with regard to the poetry workshop and my flailing away at the assignments. As you may have noticed by my blog posts, I have not cultivated a talent for “terseness”.  I’ve looked and identified images in my “space”, but my mind makes up stories about them, and that’s what shows up on the page. What I need to do is describe in some detail several images that impact each other…and let other people’s minds connect with their own stories. Images…images without explanations or elaborations. … Yeah. Anyway, I was looking for something tough, not easy to do, that would engage me. Guess I found it.

If we were getting together for coffee, this afternoon, I would mention that the calendar’s beginning to look more reasonable. We have no more appointments scheduled for a while, now, other than my dropping in at the grocery store to have my flu shot (pharmacy in the building) and deciding where to go for an eye exam. The appointment with the dentist isn’t for another couple of months. I suspect that I would not cope well if I actually had “health problems”.

I would confess, if we were having coffee together, today, that I do have a frustration about the current gluten-free, low carb diet. I’ve worked around the gluten free, pretty much, but I don’t know how to handle the low carbs part of soup making. In winter, I live on hot milk and gluten-free soups, but both are high-carb/high Calorie. Researching the soup making might be a worthwhile pursuit before the totally frigid, windy weather arrives in North Dakota.

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend, wherever you are. I’m one for holing up, and so I’m good, here, but if you thrive on the presence of people, I wish you much congenial encounters.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope your week is all you need it to be.

Lizl

P.S. It looks like our host is still out of contact. Best wishes to you!

blue wild flax and seed pods in the late-september garden
Blue Wild Flax Flower and Seed Pods