We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Posts tagged Gabe


Beltane                                                                   Rushing Waters Moon

20170503_165022Finished assembling Ruth’s reading chair here in the loft. Two footstools to go, one for her chair and one for mine. I want her to have a safe place, a quiet place where she can read, just hang out.

Ruth struggles with some unidentified emotional quirk, one held at bay right now by Risperidone, an anti-psychotic. This drug is worrisome to both me and Kate, so we’re pressing for her to have a formal evaluation. Use of such a powerful drug, it blocks or dampens dopamines and regulates serotonins, needs to have a sound medical reason for its prescription, a specific diagnosis. She doesn’t have one right now.

When we moved to Colorado, it was with two primary intentions: be a part of our grandchildren’s lives (and Jon and Jen’s) and live in the mountains. In both cases we’ve exceeded our own expectations.

Being nearby grandparents presented challenges from the start. Jen was never happy with our move to the mountains. “Too far away.” We said we were 900 miles closer. No joy there. Now of course we know that the marriage between Jon and Jen was in its final months, creating various layers of conflict, most of which we were ignorant. No more.

20170422_112445The onset of the divorce has, of course, had outsized effects on the kids. Uncertainty and instability are poison to young kids. Where will we live? Will mom and dad ever like each other again? Who will take care of us? Were we responsible? Attach this world altering anxiety to two already troubled kids and the difficulties multiply.

Being a grandparent in this situation has sometimes been an exquisite torture. We can see what’s happening, empathize, support, but we have no direct impact since Ruth and Gabe are not our kids. In our culture this is as it should be, I’m not contesting that, but being so close to the problem and being unable to act requires a level of zen I don’t always reach.

Gabe has his own struggles. He’s too often by himself at school, sometimes bullied. At home he sways from sweet to angry, petulant and destructive. In his case we often encounter behavioral issues that we can deal with directly because he exhibits them toward us.

20170422_130638He tells the dogs he loves them, pets them, while occasionally pinching them or twisting their ears. We immediately put limits and consequences on these behaviors, but they slip back in from time to time anyhow.

We had not expected to have this kind of experience, definitely not, though we have been and continue to be glad that we’re here. We’ve been able to shelter Jon and the grandkids over a difficult year, to provide a place for them to regroup. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy for us, it hasn’t, but family is about family, not ease.

Better Now

Spring                                                                 Planting Moon

The healing power of love.

Up this morning, working on cleaning chores, feeling raggedy and run down.  The snow and the cold have become the house guest who does not know when to leave.  Granted the three day rule is too short for seasons, but we know when the time to go has come.  And it has.  Two weeks plus past, I think.

Feeling slow, then Kate called.  She talked about Gabe who taught her how to find Thomas on Youtube on her I-Pad.  And 7 year old Ruth whose favorite color is now blue, no longer purple because purple is too young.  “How much is 10 divided by 100, Grandma?” Ruth asked.  “I don’t know.”  Ruth, “0.10.”  Oh, my.  She cooks, sews, does gymnastics, reads with inflection.  That’s Ruth, not Grandma.  Grandma does not do gymnastics.

Anyhow after talking to Kate my feelings pushed back up to energized.  Amazing what the human voice and a long term relationship can achieve in just a moment.  Thanks, sweetie.

Over the River and Through the Woods. Goes Grandma.

Spring                                                                 New (Planting) Moon

Kate’s got a trip to Denver, a driving trip, planned.  It starts tomorrow.  Maybe.  As Grandma she needs to be there by Sunday afternoon for the joint birthday party for Gabe and Ruth.  5 and 7.  Big birthdays.

(Grandma in Rio)

Her original plan was to drive slowly, stopping for a day in Lincoln, Nebraska to visit the International Quilt Museum, then moving on to Denver.  Whether the forecast snow will allow her to visit it on the way is not clear.  Looks like no go for Thursday to me, but Kate has a determined streak that might see her on her way tomorrow tucked in behind a snow plow.

She’ll be gone a couple of weeks, focusing time on the journey and the destination, a combination I love.

Grandparenting from a distance, as many of you who read this do, is a fragile thing, at least compared to the more closely snugged in families of my youth.  We rely on Skype of Facetime for regular eyeball contact, not available in the 1950’s; but frequent visits, often available then, are more difficult.

We discussed a move to Colorado, especially when Joseph had settled in Breckenridge, but leaving friends here (me), our health care (both of us) and our home (both of us) plus our affection for the Twin Cities political and cultural life made us decide to stay here.

Not an easy decision when visits to Denver are met with Ruth and Gabe flying into our arms saying, “Grandma!  Grandpop!”  Still, one on which we have remained constant.

And so, instead of over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, it’s Grandma traveling over the river and through the woods and snow and whatever else.  Worth it.

Wow. You’re Really Old Grandma

Imbolc                                                               Valentine Moon

Over half done with the move.  I can feel the new shape already fitting round my shoulders as I work.  Volumes ready to hand.  Ideas jumping from one to another with just a scan.  A good feeling.

A bit achy but that seems to come with the 66th birthday.  Talked to grandson Gabe, 4 and  1/2 tonight.  He asked Kate how old she was.  68, she said.  Wow.  That’s really old Grandma.  Oh, yeah.  From the mouth’s of babes.

(Old Man with Beard, Rembrandt)

How old?  So old that we’re going to a meeting tomorrow to talk with a women who is, as her book title says, New at Being Old.  Us, too.  This is a Woolly Mammoth gathering and we’re all of a certain age.  Just which we’re not certain, but a certain age of that we’re sure.

When it comes to life, though, I feel gathered, present, neither old nor young, just here, ready to go, still.  Epictetus had a depressing way to think of it:   “You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.”  Still, the soul or the self continues to grow and mature as the mansion begins to sag at the corners, a window or two popping out, new paint needed on the doors, tuck pointing here and there.

So, I feel as engaged, if not more, with my life and work as I have ever.

The Quotidian

Spring                                                            New Beltane Moon

Kate has taken her still healing cellulitis off to Colorado for a weekend with the grandkids.  Gabe’s fourth birthday is tomorrow.  Her arm looks much better than it did on Monday, swelling much less pronounced and the area of red, heated skin has reduced considerably.  It took four doses of IV antibiotics and the follow-up oral meds to get this infection under control.  No fun at all.

(Gabe and Grandpop, January, 2012)

Meanwhile back at the apiary, I’m going to check the bees tomorrow for larvae, need for syrup and pollen patties.  A few garden chores tomorrow, too, notably digging up the potato patch and amending the soil.  I can’t plant potatoes in the main vegetable garden for a couple more years because the beetles found them last fall.  Too many to pick off and drown in soapy water.

Also, I really need to fix the tire on the Celica, get it started and get the tire repaired or buy a new one.  Then, I’m going to give it away one way or another.  Know anyone that needs a car?  I may have a taker, but I’m not sure.  If not, I’ll pass it on to someone for free.  It has 280,000 miles on it, but it runs well.  We’ve decided to go with one car for financial reasons and it’s the one with the most mileage, so it has to go.

Go, Santorum

Imbolc                                      Garden Planning Moon

Hey, how about that Santorum?  Way to mix it up.  The longer the Republicans savage each other and the longer the nomination drags out without a clear victor the better.  If the  economy can right itself a bit more, unemployment come down and consumer spending go up (think those two are related?) the Democrats might look better in the fall.

I’m working right here at home, filling up my day and working out at twilight, then reading.  A couple of tours tomorrow and I’m looking forward to them right now because I’ve been writing and doing Latin for 5 days in a row with a bit of a break on Monday.  The productivity feels great, but a change of pace will be welcome.

Grandson Gabe has a bad cold or croup or something respiratory.  Grandma Kate got a chance to pass on some knowledge to Jon and Jen last night.  She’s a good one to have your corner if you have a kid.


Recent Family Pictures

Winter First Moon of the New Year

Joseph Wins Top Company Grade Officer of the Year For His Squadron



Little  Big  Gabe  Clydesdale

Ruth With Ski Helmet

Jumping Horses

Winter                            First Moon of the New Year

Sometimes you do something for one reason and have an unexpected outcome.  Tonight was like that for me.

The Great Western Stock Show, Colorado’s winter State Fair-like celebration of things Western, has become my time to visit with the grandkids.  I take the kids to a couple of shows, walk through the exhibition hall with them and get down into the stock barns, too.

This afternoon at 5 we boarded a shuttle here at the Best Western, making it out to the show around 5:15.  Gabe had his picture taken on a Clydesdale.  3 year old Gabe and this giant horse made quite the shot.  Very big horse, very small Gabe.

After a dinner of polish, briskets and chicken nuggets we wandered the merchandise and exhibition halls, seeing John Deere implements, cattle chutes, Western clothing, candy, baby chicks, several cages filled with chickens, a bee exhibit (I chatted with some Colorado bee keepers) and bought Ruth a lavender cowgirl hat.

Before going to the main event, we wandered through the horse barns, stopping to communicate with a few.  On the wall opposite the last of the horse stalls were some larger stalls.  In two of them  were Texas Longhorn cattle.  One came out of the stall while we watched, he had to angle his head to maneuver those huge horns through a three foot + opening.

Then we went to the event center for the Grand Prix, a $40,000 steeple chase, which pitted 27 horses and several riders against an 80 second clock and a series of jumps designed by the top steeple chase course designer in the US.

I’d never seen horse jumping live.  It amazed me.  These huge animals and their relatively small riders approached jumps of various heights, widths and construction.  One had water and another had a brick wall, both difficult for horses to cross.

The horse would gather itself in stride, then leap, stretching out those four legs, legs meant to have contact with the earth and follow their momentum across the obstacles.  This is an act of courage, skill, athleticism and beauty.  On the part of both rider and horse.

I would do this again.   Never occurred to me I might like it.



The Triangle Hotel

Winter                        First Moon of the New Year

Worked this morning on the novel.  Finally finished editing all the stuff I’d written before and got back to actual writing.  A bit of stop and go, flushing out the pipes, reorienting the fiction side of my brain, but a page or two got put into bytes before lunch time.

Kate was over at Jon and Jen’s helping Ruthie clean her room.  Lunch at the Renaissance Hotel, a ziggurat inside with open balconies narrowing as they get toward the top.  Plants dangle from a few planters, the paint is an egg shell gold.

Gabe and Ruth refer to the Renaissance as the triangle hotel, a landmark visible when returning from Ruth’s gymnastic practice.

In the gift shop you can buy Stetsons, belt buckles, items carved from deer antlers and many accessories decorated with large flared crosses, studded with rhinestones.  This is Great Western Stock Show memorabilia and disappears when the horse and cattle trailers pull out headed for Wyoming, Montana or Texas.

Jon, Jen, Ruth and Gabe

Winter                   First Moon of the New Year

Sunny and 54 here in Denver today.  Heading out to the zoo with grandson Gabe and daughter-in-law Jen.

Ruth and Jon drove into the mountains to A-basin at 5:30 this morning.  Ruth has an all day ski lesson while Jon will try to find runs not crowded with newbies.  Not much snow here so the existing runs have become clogged.

Jon moved out here ten years ago and has taken full advantage of the location.  He skis as often as he can, which means weekly at least in most cases.  He climbs mountains and skies down rugged terrain.

He’s no youngster, either, at 43. He’s stayed in good shape and manages his chronic illnesses with grace.  He has diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and addison’s disease.  Any one of these would give most folks an excuse to sit in the easy chair, but not Jon.

He’s an artist, a teacher, a father, an athlete and a home renovator. Pretty impressive.

June 2017
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