Rushing Waters Moon

Spring                                                                                   Rushing Waters Moon

Ruth, Domos door

Ruth, Domo’s door

Went to Domo last night. Ruth’s favorite spot and her choice for birthday number 13. In fact I think we’ll probably be at Domo for her birthday until Ruth leaves for college. Kate went along. It wore her out, but it was worth it. She took a box of several rings and gave them to Ruth. This was in addition to our $10 for each year present we give in the Korean red gift envelopes.

Ruth, Jon, and I had wank0sushi. This is sushi prepared with different sauces, toppings. No soy sauce. It’s a lot of food and I ran out of room, so the birthday girl happily finished mine. Gabe’s using chopsticks, sort of, and had a big bowl of ramen. Kate chose appetizers, bland appetizers since she’s had more than her usual issues with dry mouth this week.

When we decided to move to Colorado, now five plus years ago, the primary reason was to be part of Ruth and Gabe’s life as they grew up. Ruth was 8 and Gabe 6 at the time. Their lives as children had begun to whizz by. Occasional visits weren’t enough.

Last night when we left the restaurant for Shadow Mountain I turned to Kate and said, “The move was worth it.” She smiled, “Yes. It was.” Birthday dinners and a big smile like that one. Way worth it.

Gabe is also an April baby, born on Earth Day, April 22nd. I’ll take the three of them to a Rockies’ game for his 20160623_171246birthday. He’s pretty excited about that.

One baseball game a year. That’s me. I like the whole take me out to the ballgame thing. Once. Then I remember that I never developed the chops to enjoy the game itself. But the hot dogs and the brick and the seats and the national anthem. I even like the groundsmen doing their job. The first three innings or so, I’m interested, watching the pitchers, the hitters, infielders and outfielders. However, this repeats and repeats and repeats. I’m not much of a sports fan.

 

The move also had the unintended consequence of allowing us to support Jon during his divorce. Ruth and Gabe, too. Again, worth it. Glad we’re here.

Alan in the Evergreen Chorales Holiday Concert

Alan in the Evergreen Chorales Holiday Concert

Had lunch with Alan Rubin yesterday at the Wildflower Cafe in downtown Evergreen. Kate and I used to go to the Wildflower and do our money meetings a couple of years ago. Alan’s taking over as President of the Ovation West board in July. He performs in their musicals, too. And, sings in the Evergreen Chorale. With the Rotary and Beth Evergreen he’s got an active third phase underway and having a great time with it. It’s healing to get out of the house, to talk with another adult. Good to have a friend like Alan.

While parked, I also saw Dan Herman, who will be president of the CBE board after Hal Stein’s term is up. He had coffee with our nearby neighbor, Sheri Pissoneault. She’s the chair of the education committee for the synagogue. I liked seeing them in Evergreen, helps with that this is our home feeling. Small town.

Back to regular workouts, still very far from back in shape, but getting there the only way you can, by repetition. I haven’t gotten back to the off resistance days cardio, but I will. A few aches and pains go along with working out at 72. Part of it. Interestingly, my o2 sats have already improved with the limited work I’m doing right now. 95 in Denver last night. 93 here this morning. (that’s % of 100, or full saturation of the blood with oxygen)

groceriesWhen we got into Domo, Denver was 70 degrees. We were, as often happens at this time of year, over dressed. When we got back home around 7 pm, it was 48 up here, headed down to 30. Vivé la differencé!

Grocery delivery today. Having a delivery service for groceries is a wonderful thing right now. Sometimes the week’s activities wear us both out. Like this week. Kate and I ate three meals in restaurants: No No’s, Aspen Perks, and Domo. The first three we’ve eaten out since her bleed last September. While it was wonderful to be out with her, it tired her out a lot. Me, too, though not as much. Not having to spend the time and the energy shopping in person is a real gift.

 

Seen

Imbolc                                                                   Recovery Moon

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The Winnah!

Two people liked my chicken soup, well, two I know for sure. No, wait, four. Kate and I like it, too. I didn’t win the CBE chicken-soup cook-off but it was a hell of a lot of fun. A couple I talked to early on asked me about my soup and I told them I got the recipe off the back of a Gold’n Plump chicken. Somehow, from my description of my recipe, they figured out which one was mine. And voted for it. Bless their hearts. The woman who won was a bubbe, an anglicized version of the Yiddish bobe, for grandmother.

I hadn’t been to CBE for six weeks so I saw lots of people I hadn’t seen in a while Tara, Joan Tarsarar, Elizabeth, Dan Herman, Ron Solomon, Iris Solomon, Michele and her husband (they liked my soup), lots of kids from my religious school class, Sheri, Rabbi Jamie. How’s Kate doing? Improving, I’d say, but slowly. And you had pneumonia? Yes. You sound like you have a cold. Yes, I’ve had that, too. And, it still has me. What a time it’s been for you two. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. It’s been difficult, but you deal with what’s there, right?

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My entry, #7

CBE is like a small town. Maybe not everybody knows your name, but they know your face. Those who do know you approach, or you approach them. It’s like going to the Bakery in Alexandria (my hometown) after a similar situation at home. People would come up and say, “Charlie, how are you? How’s your mom?”

These seem like casual questions, usual, but they’re not. These folks will listen, and closely, if you tell them how things are. They’ll commiserate. They’ll look for something they can do. One woman, when I told her how weak Kate is and how burdened she is by oxygen tubing and carrying around the tpn bag, and followed that with an example of her calling me when the dogs escaped through the blown open front door, said, “She has my number!” Her point was that she was actually closer to Kate than I was then since I was at CBE. She lives close by and has offered to give us assistance many times.

This is what community looks like, feels like. In the end, I imagine, it doesn’t matter how you come by it. Veterans of Foreign Wars. Living in a small town. Religious community of any sort. Quilting and sewing groups. Volunteering. But we need it. Humans are pack animals. We need to be known and to know others. That happens in community. You’ve read the research I’m sure about the affect loneliness has on health. That it’s an epidemic among the senior population. Well, the cure is community.

Another winner

Another winner

I think of it as being seen. That is, when I walk into CBE, I’m no longer a stranger, but someone who is known. Deeper. Some of those who see me, see more deeply into my person, my life. The mussar groups. The kabbalah classes. Friendships.

If we are not seen, then we are invisible. Invisible people wither. Look at the homeless. Or, the incidence of high blood pressure among African-Americans. The invalid. It’s important to enter the chicken-soup cook-offs and their equivalents. Not to win, though of course that would be fun, but to be visible. To offer yourself to public scrutiny. Not in a weird, self-abasing way, but in a way that affirms your presence. When you show up, as my friend Bill Schimdt likes to say, others show up, too.

See and be seen. The recipe for flourishing. Eudaimonia. Better than happiness, in my opinion.

 

Go, Kate

Imbolc                                                                           Recovery Moon

IMAG0139Kate’s tpn feedings have given her energy. She’s finishing our taxes, for some reason she likes to do them, and in doing so has walked up and down the stairs to our third level twice. She hasn’t done that in months. When I compare where she is now with the dark days just after the bleed in September and the hemicolectomy, she’s a new woman. Is there a distance still to go? Yes. And a significant distance, too, but that doesn’t diminish the gains she’s made. Go, Kate.

My cold continues. Blah. Slowed down now as much by Nyquil as the cold itself. Blah. And, baa.

Picking up an Irish dinner from Tony’s today: colcannon, corned beef and cabbage, irish soda bread. Jon and the kids are coming up tonight. Tomorrow is the chicken soup competition at CBE. A food oriented weekend. But, comfort food, for sure.

Worrying. The shooting in New Zealand. The guy was influenced by social media, a version of internet radicalization. This means that even without intentional recruitment the spread of poison speech by cyber means has the capacity to generate murder and terror. Of course, books did it, too, but they’re not as accessible and often not in the hands of those likely to be affected by them.

 

Snow. Soup. Go.

Imbolc                                                                            Recovery Moon

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Steps up to the loft this morning

Wow. Bombogenesis! As the weather guys said, “We achieved bombogenesis.” I think they may be a bit too close to this whole thing. Anyhow this storm socked us in. 18 inches or so. Wet snow. Heavy. In fact the power lines sag under its weight and as a result the snowplows can’t work the mountain roads. Black Mountain Drive, usually cleared many times during a big storm saw no plows, no scraping along the asphalt. Nothing. Just snow and the very occasional pickup truck. Even our plow guy had trouble moving around so he could clear driveways. I told him it was ok if he came this morning. We weren’t going anywhere yesterday.

It puzzles me how snow discombobulates Coloradans. Sagging powerlines that might electrocute a driver or take out power to a whole neighborhood are one thing, but our pulmonologist’s office called last night late and said the practice was closing today due to inclement weather. They are in Littleton which got, as near as I can tell right now, about 8″.

Snow totals aren’t the whole story. The winds created blizzard conditions. We couldn’t see Eduardo and Holly’s house just across Black Mountain Drive. Drifts. Snow slides. Avalanches. These last not so much around here, but further into the Rockies. We’ve had over 2,000 avalanches this year, several deaths.

In terms of degrees below zero and general misery Colorado winters are wimpy compared to Minnesota, especially this Minnesota winter. Throw in the mountains however and the difficulties multiply quickly.

Two favorite tools

Two favorite tools

It was a perfect day to make soup. My entry for the CBE CNS competition is in the frig, flavors blending. The competition is on St. Patrick’s Day. I have to be there at 3:30 with my soup and my instant pot. Plus a ladle. Wish me luck.

We need Sgt. Preston of they Yukon. Remember him? He delivered medicine to the Eskimos by dog sled. Well, Kate’s on her last bag of tpn nutrition. The delivery was due yesterday. Didn’t make it. They have until 4 pm today or Kate’s gonna have to start eating her meals rather than having them pumped in.

While making the soup, I watched several episodes of Formula 1: Drive to Survive. It was a recap of the 2018 season, timed appropriately since the 2019 season begins, as Formula 1 always does, in Australia. This weekend is the first race of 21. I’ve been a fan, off and on, since I was young. Getting back into it over the last couple of years.

This a sport that requires millions, for the big teams like Mercedes and Ferrari, hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Each team has hundreds, in the larger cases, thousands, of employees. Yet the total number of seats, literally seats in F1 cars, is only 20. Each team has two drivers. Ten teams. That means the competition is intense at all levels and the stakes in each of the 21 races high.

F1I suppose it was growing up in Indiana. We supplied many things to Detroit, lights, batteries, and alternators in the instance of Guide Lamp and Delco near Alexandria. These two factories alone employed 25,000 when I was growing up and most of my friend’s fathers worked at one or the other. Then every May, the greatest spectacle in racing: The Indianapolis 500. Cars and racing were prominent.

My subscriptions to Road and Track and Sports Car Magazine have long lapsed, but during middle school and high school I followed motor sports closely. Yes, as you can tell, my interests lay somewhat askew of the Indy 500, leaning more toward European cars and races. F1 is my interest now.

Looking forward to the Australian Grand Prix.

 

 

CNS. Bombogenesis.

Imbolc                                                                                   Recovery Moon

I’m ready for my third recovery in a month and a half. Looking forward to it. Not yet. Buddy Tom Crane should be on the road to recovery under the recovery moon, too. Kate’s gaining weight. Maybe a trifecta here.

cns challengeToday is chicken soup day. I have a simple truth organic chicken thawed in the refrigerator. It comes out to warm up to room temp. All the ingredients are here. I had to go buy some peas yesterday since I used the original pack in the fried rice I made. Friend Bill Schmidt looked up the Gold’n Plump Chicken soup recipe. It was there, floating out in the internet’s wide reach. It’s simple. Much as I do it now though I’ve added a tweek or two. Some garlic. Deglazing with white wine. Paul Prudhomme’s Chicken Magic. Kate had the bright idea of making our matzo balls green since the CBE competition is on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll offer green matzo balls and egg noodles as additives.

A great day to make soup. Gonna be a big storm, already underway. Maybe 6-12 inches. Record low barometer readings. One reading in Kansas is lower than any data point in 140 years. Bombogenesis* may happen here. It’s been a good year for the snow pack with all watersheds reporting at least 127% of median years. The all important Colorado River basin is at 136%. Hoping this storm adds to those percentages.

Still generally demotivated except for home, Kate, and dogs. This will lift.

20190312_083623Mary, she persevered. Sister Mary. When my father died, she insisted that he had a portion of an oil well that should come down to herself, Mark, and me. It took her some time and some legal work, but I got in the mail this week three letters from Roan Resources detailing how we make our claim legitimate.

This oil well is in Canadian County, Oklahoma and I have no idea how Dad became a part owner. He and his siblings were all on it. I remember very well our first check, it folded out seven times, was from Sinclair Oil, and was for fifteen cents. Dad cashed it and gave the money to us kids for bubble gum. Of course, we’re now dividing his share into three, leaving us each with what Roan say is a 0.00015625 percent interest in the well. Probably not gonna get rich.

This means we own land in Texas and have oil well shares. I’m not heading over to the Cadillac dealer quite yet.

 

*”Bombogenesis, a popular term used by meteorologists, occurs when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. A millibar measures atmospheric pressure. This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system is a process called bombogenesis, which creates what is known as a bomb cyclone.”  NOAA

When Will It Ever End?

Imbolc                                                                            Recovery Moon

Going to On the Move Fitness to pick up a new workout on Tuesday. Then, back on Thursday to make sure I have the exercises down. This will be a gradual ramp up back to where I was before the month that shall not be named. Buddy Tom Crane, in a surprising show of solidarity, chose to have pneumonia over his birthday, too. Which is today. Not necessary, Tom.

instant potI’ve been using the Instant Pot. Made a wonderful chuck roast, shredded easily, tasted great. On Saturday I made rice. Turns out three cups of dry rice makes a lot of cooked rice. It cooked for 1 minute. Sort of. There’s a learning curve for guys like me. First, the instant pot, a pressure cooker with bells and a literal whistle, has to heat up to the temperature required to produce the right pressure. That can take a while, maybe 5-10 minutes. Then, it cooks for 1 minute in the instance of rice. Fast, right? Well, yes. But, with foods like rice that have liquid and plump up after cooking, you do what the instant pot cook books call natural release. In essence that means you wait until the pressure cooker depressurizes on its own. 10 minutes. So, to cook 1 minute takes around 20 minutes in real time. Has some resonance with DST.

Before I start posting here I look at my favorite comic, Questionable Content. You have to go back several months to get the drift. Then, I often move on to Ancientrails and begin to write. But, just as often, I think, “I wonder what the idiot did now?” That means turning to the NYT. He almost never disappoints. Like cutting social programs, plumping up the military, and cutting 8.6 billion dollars out of the total budget to build this shibboleth. Team Trump is one heroic gutted, long red tied, obsessive ideologue trying to do something he doesn’t understand, using tools he doesn’t understand. When will it ever end, as the 1972 song by the Awakening asked.

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And Big Foot’s gone even further into the mountains.

There was a time, not that long ago in historical terms, when being in the Rockies, living on a mountain peak as Kate and I do, would have been an effective shield against the current chaos and cruelty that passes for the U.S. Executive Branch. Not today. The elk, the mule deer, the bears, the mountain lions, moose, bobcats, fox, fishers, and martins still live here, but even these wild inhabitants cower before the Trump. He appoints people like Ray Zinke to watch over the great public lands of the West. He dismantles clean air regulations. He loosens the rules governing hard rock mining. He opens those same public lands to oil drilling, uranium mining, and industrial forestry. When. Will. It. Ever. End.

Even the mythical, or semi-mythical creatures of the Rockies are under siege, too.

 

This, That

Imbolc                                                                    Recovery Moon

Dave and Deb

Dave and Deb

My recovery is going well. Scheduled two sessions with my personal trainers for next week. Gotta get back to working out. Important for both Kate and me. Still need to improve my stamina and these workouts will do that.

Kate’s pleased. She’s gained a bit of weight, up to 81.6 and these new nutrition bags have about a third more calories in them. Hopefully they’ll bump her up some more. So far medicare has relented and agreed to pay. We’ve got seven more days of the tpn for sure. Hope they agree to keep it up until she can have her j-tube placement.

When we see Gupta next Thursday, he will review the pulmonary function test she had yesterday and the ct scan from her pneumothorax incident a couple of weeks ago. He’ll make a determination then about her surgery risks.

Minnesota has had and is having a brutal winter from both a cold and snow perspective. I feel ya, guys.

grocery deliveryThird grocery delivery today. Won’t keep this up forever, but for right now, with my recovery still young and home chores, medical visits, it’s an errand I don’t need. Glad the option exists.

Asked Gupta about moving. He said it’s not urgent and not necessary if using oxygen is ok with Kate, and me. I suspected that was the case. He did say, too, that we’d feel better if we moved down the hill and even better if we moved to sea level. So, a judgment call. Kate’s to make. I’m all right here though by definition I would benefit, too.

Alan and Tara

Alan and Tara

We’ve been absent for a little over a month from CBE. Feels weird. Lots of social support there, e-mails, phone calls. But seeing folks in person, being part of the regular ebb and flow is important. Missing it. Next week is the chicken soup cookoff. I’ve entered. Kate loves my chicken soup. The recipe is straight off a Golden Plump chicken. Golden Plump was formerly owned by the Helgeson’s, including my friend Stefan. Lost the recipe a long time ago, but I’ve got it down now. I like the frisson of entering my Minnesota chicken soup in a contest with the folks who talk about CNS as the Jewish penicillin. Gonna have Kate make the matzo balls.

Today is a travel day here. R&R. Get the groceries put away. Cook something. Read. Relax.

Geez.

Imbolc                                                                       Recovery Moon

Tom, Durango, Co. pre-beard

Tom, Durango, Co. pre-beard

I’m kicking the Valentine Moon off the header at 1% waning. Just want it off my page. No more Valentine Moons. Bad February. Bad. I hope, with Recovery, to initiate a month in which both Kate and I head towards healthy. I’m already well on the road and Kate looks like she’s taking the first tentative steps.

Here’s some irony. Good buddy Tom Crane wrote me a note. Guess what it said. “I have pneumonia, too.” WTF! Paul Strickland, who was on the Zoom call on Sunday as well, had the plague. As his doctor called it. I mentioned that earlier. I had the plague plus pneumonia. That’s 3 of the 5 guys, all over 70, who had or have serious respiratory illnesses. Again, I say, no more Valentine Moon. Bad February. Bad.

Kate and I are off to a pulmonologist today. Haven’t seen one of those yet. She may get a full pulmonary function workup because part of the visit is to assess her fitness for surgery to place the j-tube. It’s also to follow-up on x-ray findings of possible interstitial lung disease. Afterward we plan to go to Maria’s Empanadas and pick up a dozen of Kate’s favorite midnight snack.

The solar snow shovel has melted most of the snow from the “monster” storm we had over the weekend.

Got out the Instant Pot and made chuck roast last night. Tasty. Also, got all of the spices and herbs out of the cabinet. They’re currently all over the kitchen counter. I’m going to rearrange them in hopes of being able to find easily what I need. Where’s Maria Kondo? I might need her. Do I love the second can of cumin? Does it bring me joy?

 

 

What next?

Winter                                                                          Waxing Moon

Wednesdays have a tendency to get busy. Today, for example. Make soup, eat some, deliver the rest. Drive Kate back home and myself over to CBE for religious school. At 5 pm Irene will do a class on dreams. I’d love to stay for it; but, when she comes, I’m leaving and heading over to Aurora for Jon’s opening. Looking forward to seeing his new prints. As I’ve mentioned before, Aurora (the sun rises first on the Denver metro in Aurora) is almost as far away as the airport. Drive home, then. This is retired busy, of course, with much more choice involved than obligation.

Monday was 4 months since Kate’s bleed and subsequent hospitalization. Weight gain still eludes her, possibly because shortness of breath, waking up nauseated (some days), lack of stamina, and her dry mouth from Sjogren’s Syndrome make eating a chore, a have-to, not a want-to. Whatever it is, we both feel stuck, wheels spinning on the icy surface of recovery. Not sure where we go from here; but, it’s life; so, moving forward even without clear direction.

Gertie’s healing up from her latest experience as a pin-cushion for Kep’s canines. She’s still a little down, a little sore, but she’s up and moving around. Dogs typically don’t linger over insults. Look at all the tripods. Kep has no remorse, that’s part of not lingering over results. Rigel, our healthiest big dog ever, has developed a strange habit. She eats some out of her bowl, walks away from her food to the glass in the outside door, looks outside, then returns to eating. This may happen a couple of times in a feeding.

After a mussar friend did a short riff on responsibility, I began to wonder about my role here. Her husband died of a lingering illness, took months. She says, “I look back and am certain my husband and I would have fared better had I interpreted my responsibility as being his wife rather than his nurse (just commenting in broad strokes).” She went on about a party. “I recently hosted a large party and, in contrast to my usual MO, relinquished some of the logistics in favor of engaging and having fun with my guests; to a person, each told me it was the best ever.”  And she finished, “It makes me reconsider the languages of love:  gifts, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch.”

Am I really doing what I need to be doing? I’ve emphasized cooking, laundry, some cleaning up, grocery shopping, being present with Kate at the hospital, rehab center, doctor’s appointments, taking care of the dogs, other home related chores. Am I replacing doing with graceful being? Not an either or. The domestic chores have to get done, but am I not husbanding enough? This is not an abstract question. It’s present to me right now. Do I need to learn new languages as my friend suggest?

These are difficult questions that every couple has to answer throughout their marriage. Illness can make them fraught.

 

 

 

 

So Beautiful

Winter                                                                             Waxing Moon

Our snowpack. Needed for the trees and our well

Our snowpack beside the front door. Needed for the trees and our well

Another 6 or 8 inches of snow yesterday. Snowiest January since 1993. The northern half and eastern quadrant of Colorado watersheds have above average snowpack. Critically, the Colorado Headwaters area is at 116%. The south western quadrant of the state though is below average in two spots, including the Durango area where the big fires burned last summer.

So beautiful. The lodgepoles carry snowy covers on their branches. The deer, rabbits, fox that come through our yard leave their tracks.The rising sun colors the snow on Black Mountain, right now a light flush pink. Bright blue sky behind the mountain.

Not so good for those of us animals who need carapaces and wheels. This is the google traffic map from yesterday. Rush hour. Add in altitude and you get a real mess. This is when commuting to Denver from Conifer separates the brave from the foolish.

 

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Kate’s initiated a get-out of the house plan. She said last week that she felt isolated and alone, so we’re going to go somewhere each day. Yesterday we went to the post office. Today, the King Sooper Starbucks for Kate while I pick up some groceries. Tomorrow? Who knows?

creation of the waters

creation of the waters

Last week I painted the creation of the universe, the shattering of the ohr. Followed it with the creation of the waters. Next up: land. I tried to show an island in my first attempt. Not so good. I like the first two, I’m starting over today on land. I’m going to get somehow to Eden and humans and that tree. Will take awhile. Hard to say in the abstract paint language I’m using. But, that’s part of the fun.

Astrological learning has been on hold. Painting, exercise, and Kate have gotten my focus along with CBE. Gonna get back to it, though. Probably a reading with Elisa’s astrologer, John, to kick off the next phase of my learning.

Just entered the Chicken soup cookoff at CBE. Gonna get some practice today, picking up soup supplies during the grocery shopping at King Sooper. Taking some to a friend, leaving some behind for Kate and me. Kate loves my chicken soup. My heirloom recipe came off the Golden Plump packages when I bought chickens in Minnesota. Here, I do it from memory.