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

 

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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

#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!

Sunday Afternoon’s #WeekendCoffeeShare

If We Were Having Coffee this morning, I would be late! I enjoyed a nice sleep-in until 0830, Al’s having gotten up sometime earlier, I think, to let the Scampers outside (usually sometime between six o’clock and seven-thirty). I now am writing my WeekendCoffeeShare post instead of eating my already late lunch. That being said, I do currently have hot water for tea or coffee, bottled water, milk, and a couple cold, left-over cans of Barq root beer. There’s also cheese. (Al ate all the rest of the doughnut holes last night. Not on my diet!)

The week’s been busier than I’d thought it would be. The joists are now up on Al’s workshop; a cousin and his crew, unable to get over here last Monday, did make it on Tuesday to put the boards on the roof. Al’s decided to do the rest of the roof himself. Hopefully the tar paper will go on easier when there’s no driving sun or wind gusts. This next try will most likely be on Tuesday, allowing for Monday afternoon/evening rain.

my husband's workshop project, himself on the roof, ladder leaning against the unfinished building
Progress

I would tell you that I got to do some lifting and carrying and holding boards in place while he nailed them down. I enjoy being able to help, even a little, with his project Getting quite excited about this, as he will have many, many happy months spent finishing the building inside and out.

I’d share with you that I have had fun taking flower photos during the breaks. I have, however, been more tired than I’m happy with and am taking more frequent naps during the day. I have ordered an extra reading copy of Coming Up for Light and Air: Poems by Barbara Crow, so that I will be able to find it when I need it. I do not, of course, know details—no personal information. The poet and her husband lost a child, and among her poems I feel avoidance, recognition and resolution, and an acceptance of grief as life goes on. I am finding that reading through these poems helps me to process my own grief over the loss of my sister and my parents. And, this morning, strangely enough, the loss of two siblings in their first days of life, whom I never got to meet in this lifetime.

Of contemporary poets, there are two whose volumes I keep close at hand with one or two extra copies: Barbara’s Coming Up for Light and Air and Samih al-Qasim’s Sadder than Water. At times, they are too real, but that is good. I do not wish to step out of reality, but to embrace it in all of its aspects. This is difficult, because I am cut too deeply by it and bleed too much.

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present

I’ve a long-standing love–hate relationship with those lines from “Burnt Norton”.

Tomorrow, I have my next meeting with the grief counselor. I’m coming up on six months since my mother died and two and a half months since Father died. The poems that I wrote concerning them, the last day of April, the poetry-writing month, do so characterize the differences in our individual relationships.

I have signed up for the message boards at the American Diabetes Association web site and also a two-year (12-month) subscription to their magazine, which comes with a digital edition. I still have to make an introductory post, this weekend.

This week’s indulgence: On Monday, I ordered (and yesterday received by USPS) a set of “blessings” tokens based on Sharon Shinn’s Elemental Blessings series. They often lend an unexpected angle of perception on events and…add a filter, perhaps, to provide a range of helpful perspectives. Another writing prompt, if you will! I write my life! I had been using paper tiles, but finding them useful generally, I decided to go with a more durable set. They will not wear out or lose their print so fast as paper.

Thank you for visiting, once again! I’ve enjoyed your company. Looking forward to reading your #WeekendCoffeeShare post and meeting with you soon.

Best wishes,
Lizl

Please stop by Emily’s Nerd in the Brain blog to read her post. There you also will find the InLinkz button with links to other #WeekendCoffeeShare participants.