An overwrought week #weekendcoffeeshare

It is good, arriving at this time of the night with chores abandoned. The dirty dishes will still be in the sink and dirty when I wake up, tomorrow, and the laundered clothes will still be draped over the office chair, after all. The time is 11:00 p.m., and I am happy to welcome you to join me for … perhaps not coffee, at this time of night, but a virtual beverage of your choice and apple slices. The grocery has put some nice Braeburn apples on sale for the holidays at ninety-nine cents a pound, and so we bought half a dozen, this evening. Delicious!

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I would tell you that the week’s been tough. It started out well enough with an appointment with my bereavement counselor; we decided that we would schedule one more appointment: just before the New Year’s Day weekend. Between October 20, 2016 and September 8, 2017, I lost two aunts, three uncles, and both parents. This week, on December 6, my cousin Nora, on the west coast died; I met her and her brother for the first time since I stayed with them for a couple of weeks in Seattle in 1969, when they came back to Minnesota for their mother’s funeral in September. Both her brother and she remembered me, and we had a great time talking.

I also met the widow of my cousin Jim and their two boys, and she and I had a wonderful time visiting on a variety of topics. I was in the process of trying to get hold of contact information, so that I could write to her. I did get such information from one of my other cousins who lives near Seattle, so at least I feel connected to a larger family group, now.

Late this afternoon, we learned that uncle Don, Al’s mother’s brother, died today (the ninth), just before six o’clock p.m. Arrangements for both funerals are to be announced. I cannot fly back to Seattle, and Al’s family gathering will in any case be in the Twin Cities.

A couple of nights ago, I came back into the front room to find my laptop computer on the floor, partly under the rocking chair and no longer functional. I expect that either I had not balanced it properly on the lap desk or one of the dogs tried to jump up into the chair, as they often do, and brought the lap desk and computer crashing down. Al has ordered a cable kit to try retrieving files that had not yet been backed up; some of the fittings inside the computer were broken, but the drive itself looks okay.

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I would be grateful, because I really needed a break from putting together the information to do my writing on this older computer (that died after the upgrade to Windows 10, but came back with the various upgrades over the past two years). I found an email address I quit using and had forgotten about as I rooted around for web hosting passwords etc., and also came across the instructions for manually setting up my email client. And so I have all of my accounts coming to one computer/one email program! Secure!

Now that I am accessing everything again, and only lost a month’s photo archiving, I must get on-line to find a replacement computer. I wore this HP into the ground, and a couple of the keys are…unreliable.

And now it’s nearly midnight, and I must try to get more than four hours of sleep, tonight, or I will be good for nothing, tomorrow. I have run out of apple slices, and must warm some milk, now.

I hope that your week has been uneventful as you might wish it to be, but  also enjoyable and, if appropriate, productive!

Best wishes for the remainder of 2017!

Lizl

P.S. Here is the link information for a weekendcoffeeshare post with a linky to others: https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/

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A Coffee Break | #WeekendCoffeeShare

The time here is 11:45 a.m., Sunday, and I have settled in to write a Weekend Coffee Share post, at last. I’m sure that everyone has forgotten me, it’s been so long a time. Thank you for joining me for coffee!

If we were having coffee together, this morning, you would have some choices: bottled water, Toddy or hot-brewed coffee with or without milk, and black or oolong tea. I just finished my first meal of the day: scrambled eggs with cheese and hot Toddy coffee. I am not calling the meal “breakfast”, but instead, “lunch”. Perhaps I will even things out by having a larger bedtime snack.

If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that I have now had two meetings with my new grief counselor. J.R. is…much younger than C. She seemed more relaxed at our second meeting, and so we conversed, as new friends would (except that we did not have the sort of in-depth exchange meant to form a base for a longer relationship). Quite appropriate, professional, but relaxed and natural interchange.

I remember my training, twenty-some years ago, for Stephen Ministry, and the constraints involved. I myself am a “let’s fix this” (or, worse, “let me fix you”) person, and it was difficult at first to confine myself to supportive listening. I believe that I no longer … jump down people’s throats. Retiring from personal (job search, academics, etc.) consulting, five plus years ago, has helped with that. Stomped it out? Don’t I hope!?! I should think that grief counseling might have a higher burn-out rate than substance abuse counseling. I would not take on either role.

If we were having coffee together, this morning, I would tell you that this past week in particular was rough because of our annual volunteer appreciation dinner at the marksmanship center (which is volunteer staffed and maintained). On the evening of last year’s dinner, I received the telephone call from the care center that my mother had died in her sleep. They were unsure of the time, because she was not attended, there having been little indication that her death was imminent. I found myself dreading the dinner, until I figured out why. Last year, it was on the fifteenth, and this year it was on the sixteenth of the month. All in all, it’s been a good transition, however.

If we were having coffee together, this morning, I would tell you that I did decide to join in the group for writing a poem a day during November. That’s the same group, more or less, that I participated in for April’s NaPoWriMo challenge. I have been posting them at Lizl’s Quiet Spaces Journal: “The Written Word at Home”. Ending this post is the most recent poem that I have posted.

I was invited to participate in the “seven black&white photos in seven days” activity on Facebook, and I posted those photographs on my TheMomentsBetween WordPress blog afterwards.

If we were having coffee together, I would confess to you that after more than twenty-five years, I have purchased a physical, leather & paper journal book, again. I realized that part of my hesitation in writing anything down is that when I make a mistake with a computer file, I can go back and correct it, while I cannot with ink and paper. Not archival quality, anyway! I want to give myself permission, I suspect, to make mistakes unapologetically. And let ’em stand.

Thank you for dropping by! I look forward to the coming week, and I wish you the best for the days to come.

Lizl

my parents, their courtship
When She Was Young

“When I See my Mother” (Writing Prompt)

When I see her now
she looks so much younger—
filled with song

vigorous and happy, radiant…
sorrows past, still in love

—Elizabeth W. “Lizl” Bennefeld, Copyright © 2017-11-18.

Source: Seeing Mother (Poem a Day, Day 16, reposted on QuiltedPoetry.net)

Note: My mother died on 15 November 2016 (age 94), and my father, a little more than 3 months later, (age 100).

Hosts: Eclectic Alli

16 September ’17 – A Wet, Rainy Weekend | #WeekendCoffeeShare

Cotillion Butterfly on an Irish Daisy

Welcome to my blog home for Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. (According to her tweet, three hours ago, their Internet is down, and so there will be no “linky” on her page, this weekend, or a coffee post from her.)

If we were having coffee together this morning, I would let you know that although it’s getting on toward lunchtime, my husband is out in the back yard in his new workshop, showing it off to a ham radio buddy. There’s Irish Tea, Tetley Tea (black), and Toddy coffee concentrate, for which I can heat water, milk, or both, as you like. I’m minding the dogs, eating cheese and unsalted almonds, and not paying much attention to the outside world.

If we were having coffee together, I would invite you to the back yard (right now, the rain is not heavy enough to require an umbrella) to show off the progress we have made, this week. Al and I got the last of the siding up, yesterday morning, and he’s gotten a good start on applying wood putty and sanding; we have the paint for primer and outer coat, but he’s decided that he also needs to paint the concrete floor before anything else happens. I am on a roll with getting blog posts written and poems tweaked, and so he’s volunteered to add the grocery shopping to the end of his list.

If we were having coffee together, today, I would tell you that I’m very happy I signed up for the workshop I’d mentioned. I finished my first week’s writing for the four-week Introduction to Japanese Poetry workshop I enrolled in, last month. This week’s assignment is to write more haiku, read some essays on haiku, and go back to writing haiku according to the guidelines presented in Week #1’s assignment. Two poems I wrote this week that I did not submit to the instructor for critiquing. (Only sent the best three of the lot.)

a Cotillion lands
on the Irish Daisy in my lens–
a cameo appearance

puppies, fast asleep
midst bowls and tennis balls…
my empty lap

Copyright © 11-16 September 2017, by Elizabeth (Lizl) Bennefeld. All rights reserved.

I have started (and stopped and started again) responding to WordPress daily and weekly prompts at my WordPress site The Art of Disorder. The weekly photo challenges I responded to are Waiting and Structure, and the Daily Prompt (today’s) is Recreation. I also follow the Ronovan Writes Haiku weekly challenge, but I have left them at QuiltedPoetry.net. The 20-day self-directed WordPress class on Everyday Inspiration has been completed and can be found at Lizl’s Quiet Spaces Journal.

This has been an emotional week, first to last. On Monday, Al and I attended my aunt Marion’s funeral and interment at the old church in a village on the rural mail route my father covered for so many years. Inspired by meeting two cousins from the West Coast that I hadn’t seen since 1969, and whose contact information I didn’t even think to as for, and the widow of a Marion’s other son, who died in 2001, along with their two sons. If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that I was able to get an email address for another cousin living in the same area, who had been in correspondence with my brother in Minneapolis, and she and I are now “Friends” on Facebook. A lot of my father’s siblings moved to the Seattle area and Alaska (Eagle River area) after the end of WW II and/or the Korean War and continuing. His youngest sister was only a couple of years ahead of me in school, although I did not know it at the time.

I would tell you about my discovery that relatives on my father’s side of the family have tried to get contact information for myself and siblings over the years, but my mother would not give out any information. And of course, she did not mention that requests had been made. Mother was a very private person, and that sense of privacy extended to protecting information about her children and following generations.

If we were having coffee together, I would enjoy just sitting with you in the shelter of the gazebo, a few steps from the woodworking shop, listening to the wind brushing the leaves of the hedge behind us and the raindrops that soon will be beating against the shingles of the gazebo roof. There is something about sitting in silence (or lying in bed near an open window at night), listening to the wind and rain, cricket sounds, and birds murmuring to each other in the dark, that washes away the muscles’ stress and the clamor of the next day’s activities waiting to be worried.

Thank you for stopping by, this weekend. I enjoy our visits and look forward to our getting together again.

Best wishes for your week!

Lizl

 

What a week! | #WeekendCoffeeShare, 9 September 2017

A Hoverfly in the Garden

Welcome! If we were getting together for coffee, this evening, I could offer you Toddy cold-brew or coffee piping hot from the coffee maker. There’s also filtered water and a couple different kinds of black tea. I’m afraid we’re still working our way through the 1-carb. postage stamp-sized gluten-free crackers, but this weekend I have some “Seriously Sharp” cheese to go with them. Grab a chair!

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that I finished the 20-day WP Writing course that I’d signed up for. Today, I wrote the Day 20 Wrap-up post. I think that this link will bring up the page with all the daily assignments: Finding Everyday Inspiration, but they’re in reverse order. I really enjoyed it, more so when I found more people going through the course and could read their posts, also.

As an added bonus, as far as I am concerned, I got my first handout for my four-week workshop, Introduction to Japanese Poetry, which included an introduction to the subject, examples, discussion, and an assignment for the coming week. I was quite happy to receive it, since I learned, yesterday, that we have another family funeral coming up, this week. We did not find out about the last two in time to attend; well, one was on the West Coast, which we couldn’t have made it to in any case.

The most recent is the funeral for my aunt who died on Tuesday of this week. Three more uncles died over the spring and summer, two on my father’s side and one on my mother’s side of the family. Father died at the end of February, Mother at the middle of November 2016, and her last remaining sister on the 20 October 2016. That’s now seven within ten or eleven months. I hope for a quiet autumn.

In the midst of all, I would tell you that I have finally finished reading both of the manuscripts that I got at the Con-or-Bust fund-raising auction. They are Fated Sky and The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal. They’re fabulous! I would tell you that the dream of my childhood, all the way through high school, was to go into space and be the first person to land on Mars. Well, that’s what these alternate history “Lady Astronaut” books are all about. Getting to Mars! Most, most lovely! My goodness! I can hardly wait for the finished books to put on my shelves and read the final texts.

If we were having coffee together, this evening, I would tell you about my dwindling variety of wildflowers in my garden. The flax and plains coreopsis are rapidly going to seed, and enough of the other plants have died out that I am able to weed out both those and the ragweed plants for disposal. Al brought home the new fencing for that garden, and I hope to find a cool, low-pollen day with minimal wind, so that I can take down the old fencing, trim out the weeds along the old border, and put in the new panels. We were fortunate that there were enough panels to put around the garden; when I found the ones I wanted, we discovered that they were on clearance at a reduced price. And if I had needed even two more panels, we would have had to go to two different stores to buy enough.

And I am talking too much, again! Sorry about that! I look forward to hearing about what is happening where you are.

Best wishes!

Lizl

P.S. Our hostess, Diana, has her blog up at her Part Time Monster Blog, and the InLinkz button leads to URLs of others who are participating in this weekend’s WeekendCoffeeShare.

A quiet weekend | #WeekendCoffeeShare

Welcome! If we were having coffee together this afternoon, I once again would be serving hot Toddy coffee with milk. (Cold water in the frig and Tetley tea bags in the cupboard.) It’s been a rough few days with the allergies, and so I am staying inside, mostly. Exercise on Saturday consisted of uncounted time on the elliptical machine and five miles on the exercise bike in the gazebo; today, I quit after three miles on the exercise bike.

Limited time in the garden, which is pretty much not worth looking at, right now. The grasshoppers have gotten into it and eaten the few blue wild flax flowers that came up. They’ve now started in on the smaller poppies. The cornflowers and prairie coreopsis are doing well, however, and I have hopes for (what I think is) the sunflower plant on the south side of the house.

Still, I did get some photos taken yesterday and today before the allergies took hold. I sleep in a room with an air cleaner (HEPA filter); I forget from one year to the next how essential it is to sleeping with allergies. 😀

Sunday’s Flowers

 

Saturday’s Flowers in the Rain

On Saturday, Al and I went out to dinner at Denny’s, where I ordered the salmon (from the salmon skillet, which I cannot eat as on the menu) and steamed broccoli, which was kind to my blood glucose level. Then we went to Target to buy five of the last six cheap 2ft x 3ft poster frames which we are using, along with the two previously bought to try out, to frame the seven poster-sized photo montages from my parents’ memorial services and my father’s 100th birthday party, which was the day after Mother’s memorial service. Fantastic, having them available to me to look at. I am not hanging them all at once, but am propping them up or hanging them one or two at a time. It makes me happy, seeing the pictures across the decades of smiling faces. Memories of parents, their siblings and us getting together with them and their children. The holidays. The vacations that I missed, being the oldest and away at school and then working, by the time the next six of us were old enough to go on vacations. They did a lot of stuff I never even heard about, before looking at the photos with my siblings at these last family gatherings.

That reminds me that I look forward to seeing the family home, redone by Eric (brother) and Cheryl (his wife), who’ve bought the house and have been putting it to rights. I am excited to see it, having been quite impressed by what they’d already done with it the last time we’d dropped in there.

It would be fun, I think, to have regular “coffee share” times with the family members who still are within this thirty-mile area. I wonder if you get together a lot with your various family groups. We all seem to have scattered, us kids, getting together with the in-laws’ families, but not our own. Sort of like being orphaned.

Al and I turn seventy-one, this year. I am concerned that we will have trouble maintaining relationships, getting together face to face, scattered as we are from New England to California. I could, if I had to, handle a trip by rail; I had too much trouble with air quality traveling by air, the last time I flew East, which was in 2007, I think. Not sure that I could do it again and be able to walk off the plane at the other end of the journey.

Again, I was late getting to this, getting together for a visit, and I must move on, now. The Scampers are eating their supper, and I have to look to getting organized to fix supper.

Be sure to stop by Diana’s Part Time Monster blog for her post and the Links button where you can find links to other WeekendCoffeeShare posts of the week.

Best wishes for you, your family and friends, during the coming week!

Lizl