large and small, brown teapots

Miscellanea : #WeekendCoffeeShare on Saturday, 9 June

Backyard Gazebo

Welcome to my back yard! This afternoon, I am enjoying a pot of “ti kuan yin goddess of mercy” oolong tea from Stash Tea online. Bribing myself to drink less coffee to cut back on the carbohydrates. While I drink tea “straight”, I make my coffee from homemade, cold-brew concentrate added to whole milk. It’s a meal in itself; I am trying to limit myself to once or twice a day.

If we were having coffee together, today, I would invite you outdoors. I am sitting in a camp chair that’s stored in my gazebo. It is under the bending branches of the cotoneaster bushes and out of the direct sunlight.

The dogs seem to like the sunshine. My previous two dogs (Ladd and Samantha) were black cocker spaniels, and both of them enjoyed “sunbathing” also.

Out in the Sun

The week has been a quiet one. On Wednesday, we traveled to the home town for our semi-annual dental appointments. Al got two fillings while I waited, since there was an open time slot in their schedule and it saved us making an extra trip. I have orders to floss more often, please, and brush at the gum line.

Al ordered blinds for the workshop windows. He finished installing them, this afternoon, and then headed out to do some shopping (undoubtedly for the workshop) and coffee at his favorite restaurant. I have gotten the laundry washed and dried, but not put away. the kitchen is looking pretty good. Using plastic utensils and paper plates and bowls help a lot, except for the cooking necessaries, helped a lot with that. Paper plates in a large stack. The stores must be thinking “picnic”!

Incoming Weather

I am seeing definite storm-type clouds to the north-northwest. Hot as it is, I should expect there might be rain, tonight. The backyard neighbors have put up chicken wire on their side of our fence, and so we are not enjoying many visits from the neighborhood rabbits. I miss them very much.

We took extreme measures to try to protect the rabbits from trying to get through the fence at the break where the gate leaves a gap, here in the back yard. The first day that the chicken wire was placed to block that gap, a rabbit trying to outrace our dogs went through and ended up trapped between our metal fence and the chicken wire, which was too tall for him to get himself out of without a terrible struggle to reach the top, clawing at the chicken wire.

Blocking the Way

We have bolted a board to the gate posts high enough that the rabbits will not try to get through, there. we have left a space beneath the front gate where they can come and go. Our new neighbor to the south is planning to put up a privacy fence between his yard and ours, and so there will be no place from which to watch the rabbits except for between our houses and across the street through the front-room window.

The one concern that I do have is that the spouse of a family member has entered hospice care, this week. Not unexpected, but still…even the inevitable can be jarring.

I have started going to bed earlier, which, oddly, is resulting in my sleeping later into the morning. And so, I must get up promptly to get good photographs of the wildflowers.

I have enjoyed this time visiting with you. I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and beyond!

Best wishes!

Lizl

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Alli at  her Eclectic Alli blog. and the InLinkz link is here, where you will find links to other Weekend Coffee Share participants.

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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.

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

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare, 11 June 2017 | Getting it Right

Across the Back Fence

If we were having coffee together, this morning, I would offer you a lap robe, and we would settle into a huge, comfy sofa to visit, sound of rain on the roof. As long as we are in this virtual setting, we should enjoy the sunrise and the seasonable weather in comfort. I’ve hot milk here for making hot coffee or cocoa, or I could brew a pot of black tea. The dishes are washed, the puppies are still asleep, and I’m settled in, potentially without interruptions for a little while.

The past week has been … varied. Monday, with my visit with the grief counselor, was productive. We visited about thoughts I had related to the book that she had loaned me from her library. The recognition of sources of “nonfinite” grief as a result of my processing the loss of my parents, this past winter, seems to have lifted a huge burden. In token of which, I scheduled our next appointment for three weeks ahead, rather than four or more. I have (a) wondered whether the “high” of these realizations might result in a “low” in the short term and (b) considered that it may be helpful to review with the counselor the processes and changes that come out of these next few weeks.

My husband and I picked up copies of the seven poster-sized photo montages that were created for my father’s and mother’s memorial/funeral services from the funeral home with the goal of finding frames for them. I expect to find their presence to be helpful in recalling life with them when we, all of us, were much younger. I have had some thoughts about how much, if anything, I really want to write about my parents or my life with them, as I remember it, during my childhood. In token of which, I scribbled out a poem on Saturday that touches on what I see as a potential personal problem with getting involved in my writing a memoir.

“Getting it Right”

I write the story of my life
one day at a time, taking care
to leaf through previous pages,
editing events, adjusting
back stories, tidying errors
and casual mistakes
that I would not have made,
had I known then what I think
I know today…subject
to further alterations
as seem prudent at the time.

There is time. There is always
time to get it right. There is
an eternity to get it all right.
Written out finally with no mistakes.

Copyright © 2017-06-10, by E.W. Bennefeld.

I suspect that if I got involved in writing a memoir, I would end up writing fiction, rather than remaining objective (i.e., in contact with the reality of my life). There are things that I choose to remember, things that I choose not to remember, and then the details and general sweep of life that are most likely interesting only to me (or not so interesting). When my mother wrote her “memoir”, she gave it the title of Selective Memories. I think she nailed it!

On Thursday, Al’s younger sister and her husband came over to help with wrapping the workshop building in house wrap in preparation for the siding (which he has yet to order), the windows, and the doors. It will be nice, not having to haul the tools into and out of the garage. I’ve made a case for deadbolt locks and wireless/cable surveillance system. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

I woke up, this morning, with sinus trouble, which I suspect is the result of an increase in humidity. The rain? Natural watering is undoubtedly good for the garden. I finally see tiny wild flax plants in the new garden plot. We are talking about putting a more permanent fence around it. A little higher, since the dogs are jumping in and out over the three-foot, decorative, wire fencing. We also, while we were at it, this week, removed the protective fence around the gazebo, meant to keep the dogs from digging out the gravel to get to the rabbits that had their hideaways underneath. Our current dogs, while they enjoy racing the rabbits to the back fence, do not seem inclined to try to dig them out from where they’re lurking. If necessary, another (permanent) fence around the gazebo. They eat the plastic fencing.

I am glad that we’ve had the chance to get together, this weekend. Why do I feel like I’ve been doing all the talking? I hope to get to many more blogs, this week, than I did the last, to find out what you’ve been up to.

Best wishes for the week to be!

Lizl

 P.S. Be sure to visit Emily at NerdintheBrain.com to read our host’s WeekendCoffeeShare post and find the Link-up to other participants’ posts for this weekend!

What Time Is It? | #WeekendCoffeeShare

I enjoy having an extra hour in the day, but I wonder how to heat some coffee without wakening the Scampers and losing the peace and quiet of the hour.

If we were getting together for coffee, this morning, we would have to talk softly…or take extra quilts out to the gazebo to supplement the warmth of the space heater. Since Al and I have gathered and tossed so much junk (So many trips to the landfill to unload the unwanted!), there is room to move without tripping over things. I do wonder, now, whether I also should discard my many-years-old, $5 exercise bike, or save it for Spring Clean-Up week at the beginning of May. Recognizing that I will not be riding over city bike trails in the near future, the bicycles are now stored out of the way in the gardening shed.

I would tell you of the attempt at balance between the two of us. Al decided to build a workshop, and I…I decided that I needed an elliptical exercise machine. They were on sale at the right size and weight for under $200 at a local outlet, and so I now have one taking up an acceptable amount of space in my living room just next to the piano, which, if you’ll remember, I decided not to give away after all, last spring. Thaddeus ate a rubber bolt cover, and now the rest of them are living in a cup in the kitchen until the Scampers both outgrow their appetites for the inedible.

A lot of changes have taken place over the past several weeks. Mother is experiencing much more anxiety since learning that Father has opted to move to assisted living for the winter. I would tell you of my indecision over whether to share with Mother the news that I received from a cousin that the last of her siblings died on the 26th of last month, under the care of hospice, at age 98. I have updated Mother’s obituary to include the deaths in her family since 2012 and will send the revised copy to the funeral home where Father has his on file. Mother’s sisters settled in their home state of Iowa, and I don’t think our families got together after I was in elementary school (oldest of 9 children, me).

If we were having coffee together, this morning, I would tell you that the seeds in my new garden space, taking advantage of a continued warm autumn, have decided to germinate. It’s a good thing that I bought far too many seeds for my 50-square-foot wildflower garden, because I will have to put down more seed, once the temperature drops and stays there until spring.

I have brought out some more of my photocopied sheet music and am attempting, after faithfully completing my finger exercises, to relearn a favorite piece by C.P.E. Bach (Solfeggietto in C minor) that I don’t think I’ve played in decades.

The dishes have been washed by end of day for most of the week. For a change. The laundry is caught up. I have been waking up in the middle of the night for extended periods, but I am getting to bed early and taking naps when I should, and so I am feeling more rested.

Following the upsets of the week, I would tell you, we have gone out to a restaurant for dinner two evenings in a row (which has helped reduce dish washing), and I have come home to exercise and play the piano with abandon rather than precision, mostly, and I am managing to maintain relatively stress free.  Also, I have a new acquaintance with a cousin and permission to remain in contact. I do enjoy writing and receiving letters.

I hope that your week has been successful! Best wishes for the new week!

Lizl

 

P.S. Don’t forget to visit the blog of our Weekend Coffee Share host, Diana, at Part Time Monster Blog (where you also will find links to other participants).

Vitals (just to keep track): SPO2=95%, P=67 bpm, BP=120/75