We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Posts tagged Ruth


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.

An Ancient War

Spring                                                                 New (Emergent) Moon

Ruth and I went to Wings over the Rockies, a museum devoted to USAF planes and some 0space exhibits. They have a B1A bomber there. It’s a massive thing. It sits at the end of a row of fighters and bombers, all looking lethal in their sleakness, bay doors open for ordnance.

This is an old airport hangar from LowryAFB, now fresh plots of housing, similar in kind to but older than the large community built over the runways of the old Stapleton airport. These two developments are massive urban redesign made possible by the amount of space required by yesterday’s planes for commercial and military use.

Hanging from the ceiling of the museum is a parachute with many open rectangles. B61 nuclear bombDangling from it is a steel cylinder with a tip and it looks sort of like a very large artillery shell. When underneath it, there is a small circle with an explanation: nuclear bomb. This was a test device for a nuclear weapon deployed with this drag parachute so it could be released at supersonic speeds, presumably from a B1A type plane. It felt Damoclean and standing under it gave me a shiver of cold war angst.

The museum encouraged a conversation between Ruth and me about her Uncle Joseph and my father, also an Air Force man, and his piloting planes in WWII. Talking to this child of the third millennium made WWII seem like ancient history. Seen from her perspective it will be. And my father and mother both served.

Tonight Kate and I are taking Jon and Jen out to Foga de Chao, a good choice for a low carb meal. Lots of veggies and meat. An adult night out, something Jon and Jen don’t get too often.

She Went Over the Rivers and Through the Plains

Spring                                                                                       Planting Moon

We set our first new low temperature since 2004.  Probably another one today, too.

Kate’s been in Denver since a week ago Thursday.  Long enough time for Grandma to settle in and be part of the day-to-day.  Last week she went to Ruth’s school and ate lunch with her.  A big deal for Ruth, an even bigger deal for Grandma.

(one of the lamer attractions on the road to Denver)

She’s had 8 inches of snow.  Then quarter inch thick ice on her rental car.  Later, she picked up a bolt in the tire of her rental and had to rely on the kindness of strangers.  Has not dulled her enthusiasm although that flat tire coincided with some crankiness on the grandkids to make a not so very good, if not exactly horrible day.

For those of you who wonder, we travel independently largely because of the dogs.  It’s very expensive for both of us to travel and board the dogs.  We have a mutual travel fund, but it’s modest.

Though I would not describe us as living on a fixed income, we have much less flexibility than we did.  This is a reality for most retired folks.  (I can hear Kate.  Sell that book.)

(the trail to Denver crosses all of Nebraska)

Revision is the first order of business each day except Fridays, so I’m on it, sweetheart.  Fridays (or Thursdays) I retain for art related matters.  Ovid is in the afternoon.

Becoming a doctor instead of a professional sewer

Spring                                                                          Planting Moon

Granddaughter Ruth, turned 7 last week, asked Grandma, “Why did you become a doctor instead of a professional sewer?”  Grandma has been teaching Ruth to sew.  “Because I’m good at being a doctor, too.”  Lots of great information in that exchange.

Vega just came in from the outside carrying one of the green toy balls.  She brought it all the way inside, deposited it beside the water bucket and continued onto the living room to lie down on the rug.  It’s a dog’s life.

We’ve been talking, here and there, about the third phase at our Woolly meetings.  Maximize life now.  While we have it.  Say yes to life.  Do what only I can do.  A few approaches, still being tried out.  We had two new third phasers join the group in the last couple of months.  There’s one outlier at 64 and another at 60.



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.

A Serial Watcher

Spring                                                     Beltane Moon

A gorgeous day.  Sun, warm.  Daffodils in bloom.  Bees buzzing in the orchard.  Dogs playing in the woods.  Kate’s on her way home.  

Ruthie told Kate she was her favorite grandma.  I told her she was my favorite grandma, too.  She’s coming back a happy gal.

During the grey cold days of the weekend I did something I’ve not done before.  I wrote here sometime ago quitting Comcast cable tv.  Too damn expensive and a time suck.  In it’s place we have dvds, netflix and hulu.  Hulu (and Netflix, too for that matter) has whole TV series from beginning to end.  For instance, it has the entire Battlestar Galactica Sci-Fi channel series.  And many others.


That means you can do what I did on Saturday and Sunday.  I found a new series, Grimm, that tells the story of a descendant of the fairy-tale compiler.  Turns out the Grimms can see and hunt all manner of thought-to-be imaginary creatures like the big bad wolf, pied piper and a whole menagerie of others.

So I watched 1-12 of an 18 episode run.  That’s the thing I haven’t done before.  You can watch TV serials as if they are, in a sense, a video novel with each episode as a chapter.  Now I wouldn’t defend this as a way to increase your brain power, might have killed a few gray cells, but it sure was fun.  Felt very decadent though.

Dogs and Granddaughters

Spring                                                         New Beltane Moon

Homes have needs.  This one needs Kate to feel full and she’s gone.  I’m lucky I have the dogs or I would feel lonely.

The dogs get up very early, thanks to Gertie, usually around 5:00-5:30 am.  Kate, with her residency experience of sudden waking, working and going back to sleep handles this if only because I sleep through it.  She gets up, feeds the dogs and comes back to sleep.  Most mornings all four dogs come inside after their meal and then wait quietly until we get up.

This morning Vega and Rigel, our two coon hound/Irish wolfhound dogs, decided, as they occasionally do, to stay outside.  Vega will bark, sometimes 30 minutes later, to come back inside and Kate will get up and let her in.  Well, I slept through it this morning, letting her back in.

When I finally got up, I let Vega and Rigel inside and Vega was so happy she came in, spun around, jumped up on the window seat (her place), back down and spun around again.

Talked to Kate last night and apparently Ruthie, 6 year old granddaughter, really liked her rhinestone studded belt I picked out for her at the Stock Show this January.  “Are those real diamonds?” she asked.  She has the hat, the vest and now needs only the boots to be a real Jewish cowgirl.


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.



June 2017
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