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

Snowy Saturday, October 28 | #WeekendCoffeeShare

Honey, It’s Cold Outside!

Welcome to my World!  If we were getting together for coffee, today, I would welcome you to a hot cup of coffee … or maybe hot chocolate. We have had our first real touch of snow, a promise of winter. Perhaps more to come during the next week and an accumulation of snow on the ground.

If we were having coffee together, this evening, you would have missed the moving of the remaining bales of insulation to the workshop-in-progress in the back yard, and the carrying to the basement the paint cans. Painting the siding is officially postponed until spring. Unless we get much more of a warm-up than I can imagine, right now.

As expected, I never did get a Halloween poem recorded for SFPA’s Online Halloween Poetry Reading page, this year. Or even art work sent in. I have been feeling quite high-strung, and I am not sure what is unsettling me. Perhaps it is just the long string of “first anniversaries” that began with the death of my mother’s sister in October of last year. My mother died a year ago on November 15. In total, from last October to this, I lost both parents, two aunts, and three uncles.

I did put in a call to Hospice, and a new-to-me bereavement counselor will be making a visit to the house on Halloween afternoon. I do expect that being able to talk with her about my thoughts and feelings will help me feel more settled.  It is too bad that the previous counselor moved on from her position when she did, from my perspective. But I am adaptable.

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I would share with you my latest “project” as I move back into poetry writing after my four-week Japanese Poetry workshop that ended on October 6th. The woman who headed up our NaPoWriMo (Poetry) group in April is hoping to form a group to repeat the “write a poem a day for a month” activity during NaNoWriMo (Novel) month. [Look here to take a look at my poems for April 2017.] While I have written several books during NaNoWriMo and, earlier, April Kihlstrom’s “Book in a Week” challenges, I have discovered that I have no tolerance for rewriting or editing a work of that length. I am sticking to short poems. And hopefully, eventually, essays and memoir pieces.

If we were having coffee together, this evening, I would share that my husband and I enjoyed a nice coze, earlier, a puppy on each lap, talking over the events of the day, plans for tomorrow’s supper, and options for various aspects of finishing the inside of the workshop, in the midst of general conversation. It was a shame to have to wake up the Scampers, so that they could go into their kennels to sleep for the night. It has been a comfortable evening. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Best wishes for you, this weekend and the coming week,

Lizl

P.S. Thank you to Eclectic Alli for hosting Weekend Coffee Share. Here is the link to find more #WeekendCoffeeShare posts.

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