Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I Hear Voices

Somewhere on the WWW today, a writer was describing his loss of his recently-deceased mother.  He could not hear her voice anymore.  I started thinking about this, and the first voice that came into my head was my grandmother Gram's voice.  I can still hear it!  I was in college in her elder years.  She was widowed.  I loved her.  I called her frequently, just to talk. 

"Gram?  It's Trish."

A purring voice replied, "Well, Trish, how ARE you?"

And we went nonstop from there.  I can hear her chuckle, her laugh.  I still see her smile, too.  Her era was all about china painting, and she had the patience of Job when it came to teach me how to paint.  It never took, but we had such great conversations during the process.  I wonder if she felt the same?  I did and do appreciate the time she spent, talking to me.

There was once, when Gram took me, a young pre-teen, to the grocery store in her tiny town on an errand.  There, we ran into an acquaintance of Gram's - an elderly woman who had monocular vision.  (Think: Marty Feldman).  Now, I was not a stranger to monocular vision - my own sweet mother had monocular vision, and it never occurred to me that something was amiss with her eyesight until I was a teenager and a neighborhood friend asked me, "What's wrong with your Mom's eyes?"  And I had no clue, no clue at all, to which she was referring.  But maybe that's another blog post altogether...

Gram introduced this lady to me, we exchanged niceties, and that was that.  So I thought.  But the lady turned to us (Gram and me) as she left the checkout, and she said something.  I thought she was talking to Gram.  It LOOKED like she was talking to Gram.

As soon as the lady was out of earshot, Gram gave me the only chastisement I think I ever received from her.

"When someone speaks to you, you need to reply."

I had no idea what Gram was saying to me.  But I remember her voice. 

Gram had an old lady singing voice, which I loved.  I only heard it when we went to church together.  But I remember it.  Memory plays a sweet part of our lives.  Some of the replies to this writer's post told of recording voices, and saving voicemail messages from loved ones.  I understand that - it was difficult for me to erase voicemails from my parents, the years prior to their passings.  I DID erase them.  I DO hear their voices, thank God. 

So.  I hear voices.  They are a comfort.   






 

Twilight Swims

In the summers here in rural Kansas, I enjoy going to two different pools for swimming on any given day.  At noon, I can go to a lap swim at the local, really-rural pool, which is offered for only 45 minutes.  That means I can go and swim like a salmon upstream, to get my laps in.  Or, I can loll in the cool and look neither at watch nor fingers (how I track my laps!) and get that noon-time sun/Vitamin D intake that our physicians abhor.

Or I can go to the larger town's Twilight Swim, from 6:00 - beyond.  I love this time of day at the pool!  There are families, kids, teens, lap swimmers - you name it.  All good fun.  This place, like other cities nowdays, has a whole complex of waterworks to entice the community: lap swimming, a deep diving well, a splash pad (for toddlers), a Lazy river (I am not sure), another place for wannabe surfers or some sort?  Suffice to say, it's a fun place to enjoy active humanity in July.  Even the name is enticing.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Living Room

An evening in mid-May sees me sitting in our old living room (as opposed to our new one), on the gay floral linen love seat.  It's a comfy and firm seat, with glorious peonies or hydrangeas (or both) on a pale yellow background.  Just what one wants in a small sun room.  (And in a sunny disposish: a delicate buttercream of demeanor, sprinkled with vibrant petals of repartee and textures of intelligent discourse.)

The seasons are so evident in this room.  There is a west window, not too large, which magnifies the sun's stretch across the horizon, if one is observant.  The winter window is hardly discernible, given all the potted plants over-wintering.  If we see the winter setting sun, it's too far south from this window, and this room is dark most winter days.  The potted plants stretch to gain any sun that they can.  The piano and the cello are in use now, in this little old living room.

In Spring, the very low horizon sunlight of the new-found sunrise only goes to magnify the glorious hardwood floors - and its dust in the old living room.  This hardwood is original to this ca. 1887 farmhouse.  Some Spring mornings see me grabbing a dry dust mop to attend to such while our morning coffee is brewing. 

Summertime!  It's already hot outdoors.  In the late afternoon, I eagerly come in here to enjoy the cool of the room, and the dark, which gradually and good-for-the-soul, turns into a sunny room with then, a "day is done" sunset out that west window.

And that's where I am now: sitting on the love seat, reading, watching the sunset, planning tomorrow's gardening agenda.  And, late that it is, I can still see that summer horizon out of the west window of this little old living room, with our old, old trees lining our road, with that dark summer silhouette.





       

Monday, March 05, 2018

Fifty-eight

I am turning 58 this week.  I am still in awe of the aging process.  Most of me feels young.  All of me wants to feel young.  I have signs of aging.  Not big ol' OMIGOODNESS, You is old! signs.  My two index fingers are a smidgeon misshapen with arthritis (I guess?, although there is not much pain to be felt. But they look like my mother's fingers.)

I am not a grandmother, but I belong to a women's group which apparently attracts that moniker; grandma.  And at our daughter's wedding last summer, a wedding guest called me Grandma not once, after which I replied that I had no grandchildren - and not twice, after which I responded that even though I was of that chapter in life, I had no little Kinder underfoot - and finally the third time I was beckoned as Grandma, I just smiled and said, "Thank you so much for coming." 

So here is 58.  Fifty-eight.  It looks pretty good.  Hearth and home are good.  Spouse is hale and hearty.  We've been challenged by daughter Gillian to attain 50 miles each month in running - in my case, walking and running.  This has been really fun for our entire family.  Some of us think nothing of running that many miles even with broken ribs from a ski-to-tree altercation.  One of us rode something like 251 miles on her bike trainer this month.  Over-achievers.

Fifty-eight.  I appreciate that I can still run a mile down the road.  I can play the cello (poorly, but who is listening?).  Twice a month I make a meal for our Emergency Shelter (read: homeless).  I take pride in my cooking, which I love to do, but even so, sometimes it is hit or miss, and for that I am always humbled.  Humbling, even at 58, is good.

Fifty-seven saw me at my father's funeral, and my mother's funeral.  Such a tsunami of grief, and yet, we, most of us, all, go though this chapter in life.  Fifty-seven also acknowledged the passing of my sweet mother-in-law and then, my sweet father-in-law, in Australia - at the same time as my own parents were passing.  How blessed was I that my inlaws were so perfectly strong, wise, and fun?

This week sees me heading to Waikiki.  The ultimate destination is Australia, to say goodbye and have closure on the passing of my wonderful inlaws.

I guess here is where I put the funny in:

I am so DONE with flying direct to Australia.  So done leaving Kansas City, going to LAX and then spending LORDHAVEMERCY too many hours on a plane with a kabillion other passengers who are hacking, coughing, and sneezing into my airspace, for 16+ hours.  That is the credo to which that Spouse o' Mine adheres to.  ("Get there soon. Period.")

I, on the other hand, have opted (as I have in the past; read this, couples.) to stop in Honolulu on the way over, and on the way back as well.  All by my lonesome.  I am very comfortable in my lonesome.  Honolulu, Iceland, Lisbon:  I cope quite well on my lonesome.  I love that Spouse o' Mine, and we are terrific travelers together.  But we both know our capacities and limitations, and his is to "get there" and mine is to "be sane and enjoy the ride".  And so, we go.

How fun is it then, to have received an email just last week from son Graham: a short question:  "What is your itinerary to Australia?"  I sent him my itinerary, thinking that our sweet son just wanted to keep tabs on ol' 58-year old Mom as she flits from one hemisphere to another.  Such a considerate son.

Well, better than all that, he then made plans to meet me in Honolulu and join me on my flight to Brisbane!  Yes!  What a great birthday gift!  No, no, he did not make these travel plans to the land Down Under as a gift to me, to be sure!  But I am taking his meeting me this birthday week of mine as a sweet gift from son to Mom, and I am thrilled.       

And so this birthday week goes.  Most years, I might ride my bike the birthday years, but not this time.  20, 25, 30 mph winds are prohibitive.  And I am really enjoying daughter Gillian's 50-miles/month challenge.  (Join us!  It's a 2018 thing.)

Here I am. 

58. 
So many changes in the past year, and lots of new in the future. 

I'll take it.

~ T.












Sunday, February 04, 2018

Thirty-four

It's our 34th Anniversary today!

I was making a tiramisu for that Spouse o' Mine's birthday yesterday, but neglected to acquire the required Nutella.  So the birthday tiramisu evolved into a 34th Anniversary dessert.

But then life (snow) happened, and when I got back from my XC ski afternoon, and subsequent long phone conversation with a friend from an old (albeit it sweet) chapter of my life, I embarked on the Anniversary tiramisu.

Whoa.  It calls for an overnight?  What?

And so, tonight, he and I are having pasta and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  The cookies are just something I did this afternoon on a whim, thinking to myself, I want chocolate chip cookies, and when was the last time anyone in this household made chocolate chip cookies, and why has it been so ding-dong long?!  Something like that...

So that Spouse o' Mine and I have been acknowledging our anniversary throughout the day, with hugs and sweet kisses and remembrances.  And red roses.  A big ol' bouquet.  Yes.  A good day all-around.

Here is something I read about the Olympic luge team.  It does also so describe a wild ride of decades of our love and partnership together:

Luge riders hurtle down a slippery ice track at great speed, relying on reflexes for steering.  Unlike bobsleigh however,  they have no protection should they make an error.

We have made errors, we have hurtled, to be sure, but at Thirty-four, we are gold medalists.

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