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

 

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

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