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Posts tagged Jon


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.

Zoo Interreptus

Winter                            First Moon of the New Year

Gabe, Jen, Kate and I settled into the Nissan rental for our trip to the zoo.  We headed down the boulevarded Martin Luther King to Colorado, took a left, south, and followed the signs to the zoo, not far away, especially not far away compared to the zoo…

This entry was cut short by the call from Jen to go pick up Jon.  The zoo faded into the afternoon as Jen and I drove out Hwy 70 into the Rocky Mountains, crossed Loveland Pass and dropped down its far side to the Arapahoe Ski Area or A-Basin as skiers here call it.

The clouds had an unreal rose and gold tint and the mountains in front of them looked like a movie set.  We drove up Loveland Pass behind a gasoline tanker truck and descended in 2nd gear.

Denver traffic coming and going from the mountains during the snow months, especially on weekends, can resemble a good-old fashioned Chicago rush hour, but this particular evening the road had plenty of space.  Ruthie and I scooted home ahead of Jon and Jen.

On the way out I noticed several vehicles with Co-exist bumper stickers, a sure sign of paganism.  Made me feel good.

Kate says Jon’s head knock is a serious concussion, the kind that, if repeated, could result in brain trauma.  Nothing to play with.

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.

Family. Dispersed.

Fall                                                    Waxing Autumn Moon

A gorgeous fall day.  And I’ve spent it inside, decompressing.  6 months with a guest in the house, no matter which guest, is a long term disruption for these two introverts.  We’re both glad Mark came and are proud of what he accomplished while he was here, but we’re also both glad to have our house back to two humans, four dogs and a gazillion plants.

Mark helped out a lot in the garden and around in the yard, so we’ll miss his strength.  He was also well-versed in geo-political affairs, a habit we both got from our father, a newspaperman.  Good conversations there.

He also knew our family well, on both sides.  He was, too, a lost brother, in a sense, come home.  Blending ourselves together as a contemporary family was not always easy, but whoever said family was easy.

As of tomorrow we’ll have Mary in Singapore, Mark in Saudi Arabia and Joseph in Georgia, Jon and Jen and Ruth and Gabe in Denver and our home here in Minnesota.  This is about as spread out as a family can get geographically.  We’ll use skype and e-mail to stay in touch.

The Road

Beltane                                                     Waxing Garlic Moon

The dog delivered, I’m moving more slowly today.  I’ve selected a route home, up I-29 to I-90, then to the Jeffer’s Petroglyphs.  I’ll plan to stay around there tonight, then finish up the drive home tomorrow.

Saw granddaughter Ruth’s new teeth.  Little white spikes emerging between her baby teeth in the front.  Ruth is not sure what to make of Grandpa.  I don’t mind.  I’m in the relationship for the long haul and I know we’ll connect.

Sollie looked at me from the car.  I opened the Subaru’s trunk latch and gave him a hug.  We became pals.  I am, however, not sorry to see him go.  I think the home dogs will calm down.  I hope.

Jon and Jen have their sleeves rolled up, busy with two young kids, renovation and a dog.  At least they have the summer.

Now, I’m going to hit the road and wander a bit, a joy I picked up from my dad, who loved a road trip now matter how small.

Driving to Nebraska. Again.

Beltane                                                                   Waxing Garlic Moon

Motel 6 with Sollie, Lincoln Nebraska

At 8:35 am Sollie and I took off in the truck.  We drove straight through to this little piece of heaven.

Driving between Andover and Lincoln, a frequent trip, goes through some of the less visually interesting parts of the United States.

Sollie is now in the bathroom blessedly quiet.  He’s a bit much to handle, a lot like a 3 year old.

Kate called with an extreme emergency.  The powers out and the generator did not kick in.  Time and a half to take care of it, but Kate’s there and she’s hot.  Kate hot is not something you want to see.  So Allied Generator has an evening call to rescue my sweet heart.

Ruth is with Jon and they’re on their way.

Sollie Goes Home

Beltane                                                                         Waxing Garlic Moon

Tomorrow I leave for Lincoln, Nebraska.  Sollie will head back to Denver with Jon.  Our goal here is to calm the dog situation down by getting rid of the extra dog and getting to work integrating Gertie into our pack.  She has a Jekyll and Dog personality; sweet and friendly, cuddly 90% of the time and all gnarly teeth and dog for 10%.  Trouble is, we can’t predict the 10%.  Outside humans seem to raise her hackles, at least sometimes, but there’s something between her and the other dog’s, too.  Our hope is that Sollie’s presence, a male among females, may have tipped the balance toward aggression in the doggy world for Gertie and that with him gone, she’ll calm down.  That may be wishful thinking.

Mark finished a first course of granite blocks for our firepit. Now I have to find a steel fire ring.  It’ll be nice to have a place for a fire just in time for summer.  No.  Kidding.  It’s nice to have it done and ready for fall.  Mark’s helped out a lot.  I’ve found it much easier to do my work here if I don’t have to do the heavy work on both ends of a project.  (This will be the Agni fire pit by Mark Ellis.)

I’m awake.  In addition to getting up at 10:40 I also had a 2 hour nap.  Staying out late is possible for me, but I have to have time to recover.

Watched the NBA finals with Mark tonight.  Two Hoosier boys watching the big guys play ball.  We didn’t have the sound on.  Basketball is the one sport I know well enough to watch without commentary.  I decided, early on, that I wanted to see Miami win, so tonight’s decision pleased me.  It was a game right down to the final 4.0 seconds.

Bee Diary and Uh-Oh for Mother’s Day

Beltane                                                                    Waxing Last Frost Moon

Checked the bees this morning.  Healthy colonies all.  All queenright, that is, the queens have begun laying brood.  Still plenty of food in the four frames of honey I put in each one.  These guys are way less aggressive than the bees of last year.  I was able to smoke them, then pull frames and look as much as I wanted.  No banging the veil, nobody on my hands.  I didn’t wear gloves.  I could feel heat rising from the hive box as I worked with the bees today.400_honey-extraction_0239

Uh-oh.  My conflicted feelings about Mother’s Day caught up with me today.  Ever since Mom died I’ve had an avoidance thing going on with Mother’s Day.  Since the boys left home, the immediate stimulus is out of sight.  I just didn’t do anything for Kate today.  And she’s unhappy.  This is a public apology to her.  Kate, you’ve given attention and love and inspiration to Joseph and Jon.  Their lives have stabilized, after a few rough patches (that’s where we came in especially), and both boys demonstrate skills they learned from you.  They’re loving toward their partners (when they have them), Jon’s great with Ruth and Gabe and both have a deep appreciation for things medical.  Not to mention all that skiing.

They both need you in their lives and your presence is firm and care-full.  Your love has tangible–quilts and shirts and presents–and intangible elements.  But most of all both the boys love you and respect you, qualities you return.

There and Back Again

Spring                                         Waning Bloodroot Moon

My usual method of travel is mosey.  I like slow travel, paying attention to the countryside and stopping when an interesting site shows up.  I’ve never understood the folks who drive straight through, as if travel was only about making it to a destination, for me travel is the destination.  Except for yesterday and today.  I drove to Lincoln, Nebraska yesterday and came back today.  It was  doable.  I only stopped to put gas in the truck and once to grab a hamburger, otherwise I ate food packed by Kate, a wonderful road food preparer.

(Above:  Nebraska Capitol.  R. Iowa Capitol Building.  I saw it from I-235.)

My destination was a Motel 6 just off I-80 north of Lincoln.  Apparently Motel 6 and pets are friendly.  I don’t know because we don’t travel with our dogs. I met Jon there.  He drove east through slushy snow while I drove west on clear roads with sun yesterday and back with cloudy but clement weather today.  Sollie and Gertie are now in their crate in our upstairs entry way after an evening of sniffing and being sniffed, a couple of tussles over doorways and such.  To be expected.

I got three-quarters through a long audio book and have arrived back home as if I never left.  Didn’t feel like travel to me.  Felt more like long-haul trucking.  Which it was, I guess.

This is family stuff, the sort of things families do for each other, even if separated by many hundreds of miles.

Uncle Joe

Winter                                                             Waning Moon of the Cold Month    27 degrees!

“Fear paralyzes; curiosity empowers. Be more interested than afraid.” – Patricia Alexander

The last three days, sort of foggy.  Sleeping more than being awake.  Good thing.  I feel much better today.

Raeone and I had lunch today (ex-wife).  We talked about Joseph, his loves, her retirement and mine.  She caught me up on her sisters.  We both remarked on the odd nature of the 67009-11-10_joseph_0271kinship patterns that surround us.  Joseph refers to Jon, Jesse and John as his brothers without qualification.  He acts that way, too.  As a result, we have a very hybrid family form with Joseph, as he said, the bridging piece.  Raeone, now divorced from Jesse and John’s father, is, nonetheless, seen as a grandmother by Jesse and Ariel and their new son.  Joseph stills sees Jesse’s father, Julian, as a step-father.  To make matters more interesting Jon and Jen (see the all J’s), parents of Ruth and Gabe, our grandchildren, have named Joseph their legal guardian.  Confused?  It’s America now, still receiving the ripple’s of the women’s movement.

Driving in the cities is dangerous.  The mounds of snow at intersections still makes creeping into traffic a necessity since at some streets cars on the through street cannot be seen from a safe distance.  I felt very suburban when I breathed a sigh as I passed back into Anoka County where I can at least see other cars and trucks.

June 2017
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